Mom didn’t buy us Kool Aid. She figured there was no reason to spend an extra five cents a pack when Pillsbury Funny Face drink mix only cost a dime and needed no sugar. That was fine with my brother and me. We didn’t know the difference and really appreciated the Funny Face brand for its marketing appeal.
Injun Orange was, of course, my favorite flavor but I recall my little brother really enjoyed Chinese Cherry. Mom loved Funny Face drinks because you didn’t have to add sugar. No muss no fuss. Goofy Grape, Loud Mouth Lime and the rest were sweetened with delicious sodium cyclamate. We drank the stuff by the gallon. Like the kid says, “Mom lets us drink as much as we want!”
Of course the mean old FDA eventually banned sale the sale of sodium cyclamate in the United States when it was determined that large quantities of cyclamates could cause liver damage, bladder cancer, birth mutations and defects, reduce testosterone or shrivel the testes.
Who knew? In any case, I want to go on the record as stating that I refuse to believe that Injun Orange had any effect on my testes whatsoever. I did great in school and usually scored over 90% on my testes.
Alas, everything changed after the FDA got involved. Pillsbury dropped the cyclamates, changed the names of Chinese Cherry and Injun Orange, cut the price in half and started calling for two heaping scoops of sugar. That’s when mom started rationing the stuff.
Chinese Cherry, for example, became Choo Choo Cherry. It was clear to everyone Choo Choo Cherry was a nod to the fact that Chinese laborers built so much of America’s railroads and, therefore, Choo Choo Cherry was a a symbol of the respect for Chinese Americans. Still, the marketing appeal was gone.
For a long time I couldn’t understand what happened at Pillsbury that would cause them to give up on the sweet, sweet cyclamate selling ethnic fruit faces of my youth. What would make them go all politically correct? Then, sometime in the early 70s, the scales fell from my eyes and the truth was revealed. As is the case always and everywhere good things are suppressed, a leftist conspiracy was to blame.
Strangely, Lefty Lemon didn’t call for sugar either. It was sweetened with communist saccharin and tasted like RoundUp.
It was about 1978 when mom finally banned Funny Face around our house and switched us over to good old, all American Kool Aid.