Thursday, January 28, 2010

Secrets Behind the Beanworld!

Once upon a time, long long ago, in the Land Of Television Commercials, there was a lovely old lady named Mrs. Olsen. She inexplicably seemed to come from Scandinavia.

She wandered from street to street and house to house and seemed to know every newlywed couple in The Town. Particularly beautiful young wives who were thoroughly inept at brewing a decent cup of coffee.

(Establishments like Starbucks, Peet's and Seattle's Best selling the culinary delights of a perfectly perked cup of java were many, many years off in the far flung future. In this land Land Of Television Commercials, it seemed that a new wife's coffee-making deficiency was a serious hindrance to marital bliss.)

In commercial after commercial, we met perky young women who immediately became deflated by a husband's uncaring and insensitive remark about his wife's terrible coffee to their host (or guest) Mrs. Olsen.

This criticism would being the poor lady to the edge of tears.
Mrs. Olsen, like a clucking mother hen, would whoosh the wife off into the female sanctity of the kitchen.

Look for yourself here!
And here!
And here!

See what I mean?

Mrs. Olsen always shared the esoteric alchemical secret of making good coffee.
It was simple.

"Folgers is the best coffee because it is mountain grown!"

"Mountain grown?"

"That's the richest kind!"

And just like that (finger snap!)problems over!

We can rest assured that the couple will live happily ever after (if they can avoid the public humiliation of ring-around-the-collar or ground-in-dirt.)

When it came time to write Too Much Chow! in the panel shown above with Der Kveen (on page 55 of Wahoolazuma! ) the bit wrote itself and I could anticipate that everyone reading it would understand the in-joke.

In 1986, only a year after TOTB #2 was published, Folgers Coffee discontinued the Mrs. Olsen campaign. It clearly had outlived its pre-feminist absurd sensibilities. It was replaced with the "Best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup." They continued to promote the idea of the superiority of mountain grown coffee. They still do even to this day, although with far more subtlety.

So, if you are too young to remember Mrs. Olsen, now you know another secret behind the Beanworld.


Geo said...

The scene with the bugs was one of my all time favorite parts of the series. Very cool to learn a part of the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

this one's also a bit hard to believe today:

bluemoonpaul said...

I'm old enough to remember Mrs. Olsen, and smiled the first time I read that sequence, now 25 years ago. I still smile and laugh, especially when I've read it aloud to my daughter.

I love how all the disparate cultural elements Larry Marder has observed filter through that crazy-smart-silly brain and work and settle themselves into Beanworld.