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Kool-Aid Man -  Mascot for the Kool-Aid® drink mix seen over the years in both animated and live-action commercials. The Kool-Aid Man was a life-sized glass pitcher filled with refreshing Kool-Aid.

Scene from 'Mad World' Kool-Aid Commerical

The smiling facial features on the Kool-Aid Man were made from the condensation that formed on the outside of the ice-cube filled container.

In most of the commercials, the Kool-Aid Man crashes through some kind of obstacle like a kitchen wall when summoned by thirsty admirers ("Hey, Kool-Aid!"). His smashing entrance heralds, the delicious excitement of Kool-Aid drink mix. The Kool-Aid Man's catchphrase is "Oh, Yeaahh!" The Kool-Aid Man debuted in 1975 under the name of 'Pitcher Man'.

Kool-Aid ManThe concept for a pitcher with a smiling face image was introduced in 1953 along a heart and a 5-cent symbol, but by 1954, the smiling face became the permanent mascot for Kool-Aid, a non-carbonated powdered soft drink that mixes with water and sugar. Pre-sweetened Kool-Aid® was developed in 1964.

In recent years, Kool-Aid has also made its mark on the popular culture but with a very negative connotation. Here are some examples:

  • In 1978 members of the Peoples Temple cult committed suicide by drinking cyanide-laced grape drink (alleged to be Kool-Aid) in what came to called the "Jonestown Massacre." According to other sources, the cult members actually drank Flav-R-Aid, a less expensive imitator but popular urban myth continues to attach the incident with the Kool-Aid product.
  • In 1982 author Tom Wolfe published his book" The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" that chronicled a psychedelic bus trip with hippies Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters. (The title refers to LSD)
  • In July 12, 1987 the Washington Post story "Being Stood Up by Mayor Leaves" reported the radio call-in show utterance of Cathy Hughes who proclaimed "You don't follow anyone blindly, my brothers and sisters ... We love Marion Barry. He is the mayor...But if Marion Barry disrespects us, we will cry out...We will not blindly drink the Kool-Aid any longer..."
  • In the April 2002 issue of Vanity Fair magazine article "The Enron Wars" by Marie Brenner reported William Lerach who recalled a top Enron executive named McMahon, the treasurer as saying "Well, we've all got to go drink the Kool-Aid."

Package of Grape Kool-Aid Atari 2600 Kool-Aid Man Video Game  Kool-Aid Man Marvel Comic Book cover

Kool-Aid Man

TRIVIA NOTE: On an episode of FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR, Phillip Banks, a hefty-sized black man, enters his kitchen wearing a very loud red shirt. Unable to resist poking fun at his Uncle Phil's colorful outfit, Philip's nephew Will Smith shouts out "Kool-AID!"

Originally called "Kool-Ade," Kool-Aid was invented in Hastings, Nebraska by Edwin Perkins in 1927 when he distilled a flavored sugar syrup called Fruit Smacks by removing its water content and then re-packaging the concentrated powder into envelopes. The seven original Kool-Aid flavors were: Cherry, Lemon-Lime, Grape, Orange, Root Beer, Strawberry, and Raspberry.

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