Mr. Cow, Mr. Fox, & Mr. Turtle

The animals the kid asked before Mr. Owl.

To answer your question, yes that is the same kid who’s curious about how many licks it takes to get to the center of the Tootsie pop. As for this week I like to discuss the original version of the first “How Many Licks to the center of the Tootsie Pop” commercial with the characters you might not know about. Originally this was a 60 second commercial when it first aired in 1970. And to this day it was one of the fewest commercials to air on TV for the longest period of time. Not to mention Mr. Owl became the mascot for Tootsie Roll Industries right after this commercial was shown to the public. Since he’s really popular, I won’t be doing an article on him since he’s far from being forgotten. Instead I like to discuss the first three animals of the commercial, cause I feel someone should shed some light on them and that someone is me.

The original "Yes" man.

The 80's Dr. Doom.

Joddie Foster's brother.

Anyways let me write-up the summary of the complete version of this commercial. The commercial starts with the kid who is voiced by Buddy Foster who is known to be Jodie Foster’s Middle Brother, but unlike his sister, Buddy hasn’t done any acting since 1980. Anyways the kid asks Mr. Cow(who is voiced by Frank Nelson regular guest star on I Love Lucy) how many licks it takes to get to the center. Mr. Cow then replies “I don’t know, I always end up biting. Ask Mr. Fox, for he’s much cleverer than I.” The Kid goes to see Mr. Fox who is sitting on a boulder. The kid asks Mr. Fox the same question, but the fox replies with the voice of Paul Frees(Boris himself), “Why don’t you ask Mr. Turtle, for he’s been around a lot longer than I! Me, heheh, I bite!” So the kids goes to Mr. Turtle and once again asks him the same question, and to end up hearing the turtle voiced by Ralph James(80s Dr. Doom), “I’ve never even made it without biting. Ask Mr. Owl, for he is the wisest of us all.” So here we are in the famous location with the famous question that is about to be said by the kid, “Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop!?” The owl voiced by Paul Winchell(Dick Dastardly himself) replies “A good question. Let’s find out.(he grabs the lollipop and starts to count after each lick) A One… A two-HOO… A tha-three..” but instead of actually getting to the center by licking the owl eats the candy along with the Tootsie roll center. He hands the stick that used to have the candy on the top back to the kid and tells him that the answer to his question is “A Three!” The kid feeling disappointed that he went through all the trouble of asking various animals only to end up having his Tootsie Pop eaten without know how many licks it would take to get to the center. He leaves and says to himself “If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s a smart owl.” The commercial concludes with a shot of several different flavors of Tootsie Pops dissolve until the Tootsie Roll centers are the only thing left. As we watch this scene we hear Herschel Bernardi as the Narrator “How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?”. Then the commercial ends with a close up of a wrapped Tootsie Roll with the Narrator saying “The world may never know” for an answer.

The other Man of a Thousand voices.

Over the decades this commercial along with remakes and spin-offs dedicated towards it have change the way we see Tootsie Pops for a life time. There were tons of spoofs and parodies on this commercial, the one that always sticks out in my head would be the one short skit on Johnny Bravo that’s titled “Ask Mr. Bravo”. The original commercial has in the past either been altered or shorten during its airings on TV. There’s a total of three versions that differ from the original. The first one is similar to the 60 second one except the ending had Mr. Owl returning the spent candy stick, and the boy’s final line is replaced with a reaction shot and a beat of silence. The second version was shortened to 30 seconds long which starts with the kid asking Mr. Turtle with the absence of Mr. Cow & Mr. Fox. This version is the commercial I always remembered seeing a kid, as it did air on TV numerous times during the 90s. The final version was 15 seconds long and only shows the scene with Mr. Owl and no Mr. Turtle in sight. The only thing that was altered in this version was that Herschel Bernardi’s voice as the Narrator was replaced with Frank Leslie instead.

Despite the commercial implies that the world may never know the answer to the number of licks to the center of the Tootsie Pop, various university and college students have taken the challenge to finally know the actual number it takes to get to the center. However the results from each organization vary in different conclusions. The number went from 144-3,481 licks to get to the center of the Tootsie Pop. Why were all of the results different when it was tested on the same candy product? I’m guessing it involved different licking techniques that lead to various totals. So it’s up to you what the official number is for getting to the center of the Tootsie Pop. In conclusion, I present to you the original commercial itself. For next week I decided to do another video game commercial, one which I haven’t seen in 17 years.

Here he is in color.

The scene you're all familiar with.

He did the voice of a giant and a tuna fish.


Posted on February 15, 2012, in Advertise of the Week and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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