The Advent of the Pillsbury Doughboy

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The Pillsbury Doughboy, one of the baking industry's most recognizable figures, was originally the figment of one man's imagination.

The little giggling baker's helper first appeared in 1965, thanks to the brilliance of Rudy Perez, a copywriter for the Leo Burnett advertising agency. Perez, looking at a can of Crescent Rolls, imagined that the dough had come to life, then gave it a hat, a scarf, and two big blue eyes.

The Pillsbury Doughboy was almost an overnight sensation, achieving huge popularity within a few months of the first television appearance, in 1965. Print ad appearances followed, by the thousands, as did more imaginative TV ads. The Doughboy, originally advertised as a baker's helper, came to signify hard-working bakers as well.

The original Doughboy was a doll of clay, built for $16, that was filmed using stop-motion techniques. An actor named Paul Frees was the first voice of the Doughboy, which came to be called Poppin' Fresh. Frees was the voice in hundreds of commercials for more than 20 years. The current voice is from actor JoBe Cerny.

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