Last week I was photographing an old Oscar Mayer Wiener Whistle (or weenie whistle) in the collection when a flood of memories washed over me. The whistle was an '80s version of the toy in the shape of the Wienermobile, and it occurred to me that I had photos of a modern Wienermobile I saw way back in 2008 that never got posted on the blog. Then I happened to think of the few times back in my youth when I saw the '50s era version of the iconic advertising vehicle driving around the streets of Milwaukee. I never did get a close up look at it BUT I did get to see Little Oscar at a Cub Scout function in either the late '50s or early '60s - don't exactly remember now. Little Oscar of course was the advertising gimmick employed by Oscar Mayer by which adult little people (whom we used to call midgets back in the day) where hired to play the character of 'Little Oscar' the chef-garbed spokesman for Oscar Mayer Wieners. He would often times be driven around in the Wienermobile to events extolling the goodness of Oscar Mayer wieners. Unfortunately he didn't show up in the Weenie car at our Scout function - darn! We Scouts did however get souvenir Oscar Mayer Wiener Whistles, the early versions which were shaped like a bent hot dog. Of course the whistles were a clever reminder to kids (and by extension, their moms) to buy Oscar Mayer. Later versions of the whistle, including the one I photographed recently, were in the shape of the Wienermobile.
This iconic piece of American advertising started way back in 1936 by Oscar Mayer's nephew, Carl G. Mayer. Variants of the original Wienermobile have been on the road nearly continuously since (except for during WWII as a result of gas rationing). Drivers are called Hotdoggers and often times hand out whistles. Today let's take a look at a modern Wienermobile. These photos were taken at a local store in 2008 and I have to tell ya, it was a real treat for me to be able to see one of these up close and personal. Hope you - Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina