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10 Interesting Stories Behind Mascots

Mascots

We recognize brands from their mascots. A mascot is the face of a brand. They are a way to entice the audience and attract them to the products. Some mascots like the Michelin Man have been around for more than a century. Some are beloved like Ronald McDonald of McDonald’s. But each of these mascots has a story behind them. We bring to you 10 such interesting stories behind famous mascots that will simply blow your mind.

1. Snoopy is NASA’s safety mascot. Since 1968, every astronaut wears a silver Snoopy pin when they go into space. Upon their return, the pins are given as a special token of recognition to the people who work to keep astronauts safe.

Silver Snoopy, Silver Snoopy Pin, Astronaut pats the nose of a stuffed Snoopy
Image credits: RadioFan at English Wikipedia/Wikimedia, Nitrorat/Wikimedia, NASA

After NASA’s devastating Apollo 1 mission, NASA accepted a great responsibility to rebuild its image. They decided to create a program that would work towards safety in space missions. They went to Charles Schulz, the creator of the comic strip Peanuts, and requested to use Snoopy as their safety mascot.

It was a tough call for Schulz because if any of the new Apollo missions failed, the reputation of his beloved character would be at risk too. But according to his son, Craig Schulz, Charles Schulz believed that if astronauts could risk their lives, then he could risk his characters.

After Snoopy became the mascot, there were many comic strips that featured him on space adventures. One of the initial sketches of Snoopy exploring space with his fishbowl helmet was turned into a silver metal pin. This pin has been worn by astronauts since 1968 while going on missions.

Once they return, they present the pin as a token of appreciation to the people on the ground who contributed to the safety and success of these missions. Very few people in the NASA workforce have received the honor of making the pin one of the most honorable and prestigious awards in the space industry.

The Apollo 10 mission took up Snoopy as their official mascot. They used to pet his nose before launching as a sign of good luck. The flight modules were also given names of the Peanuts characters – the Commander Service Module was named Charlie Brown while the Lunar Module was named Snoopy. (source)

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2. The mascot for the Colorado Rockies is a triceratops because, during the excavation for the construction of the stadium, a dinosaur rib bone was found.

Colorado Rockies mascot Dinger
Image credits: Onetwo1 at the English language Wikipedia/Wikimedia, David Zalubowski, Special to The Denver Post via denverpost.com

The Colorado Rockies have a purple triceratops, known as Dinger, as their team mascot. There is a reason for using this cuddly dinosaur as their mascot. When Coors Field, the official home field of the Colorado Rockies, was being constructed, workers discovered a number of dinosaur fossils while digging up the ground.

The most notable discovery was a 7-foot-long (2.1 m) 1,000-pound (450 kg) rib of a triceratops. This made the authorities consider “Jurassic Park” as a name for the field.

Later, the baseball team adopted a purple triceratops as their mascot in honor of the discovery made. (source)

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3. Domino’s stopped using “The Noid” as their mascot after Kenneth Lamar Noid, a mentally ill man, held two Domino’s employees as hostage thinking that the character was based on him. He later killed himself.

The Noid, Detroit Free Press Newspaper Cutting - Kenneth Lamar Noid
Image source: villains.wikia.com, Detroit Free Press Wed, Feb 1, 1989 via the13thfloor.tv

Many of us have heard about the “The Noid.” It was a character used by Domino’s as their mascot and was one of the most popular mascots in corporate history. But there was a real-life crime inspired by the mascot which led to the elimination of the mascot by Domino’s.

In the ad by Domino’s, “The Noid” was portrayed as a character whose main objective was to delay pizza deliveries. But Domino’s was Noid-proof which meant that you would always get your pizza in 30 minutes or less. The Noid became so popular that he was featured in video games and a line of merchandise. What ended the career of “The Noid” is a tragic story.

On January 30, 1989, Kenneth Lamar Noid walked into a Domino’s store in Georgia and held two employees hostage at gunpoint. Even though the employees managed to escape, they were held hostage for about five hours.

Later it was found out that Kenneth was mentally unstable and believed that the “Avoid the Noid” campaign by Domino’s was directed at persecuting him. He served a few months at a mental institution but was unable to shake off his belief. He finally committed suicide in 1995.

Even though the damage to “The Noid” was already done when Kenneth stepped into the Domino’s store with a gun, the character made a small appearance in a Facebook game in 2011 that marked his 25th birthday. He has never been seen since then. (source)

4. In the 1920s, the mascot for the Georgetown Hoyas was Sergeant Stubby who was the most decorated war dog in WWI. He was the only dog to be nominated for rank in the army and promoted to the position of sergeant through combat.

Sergeant Stubby as mascot for the Georgetown Hoyas, Sergeant Stubby
Image credit: National Photo Company/Wikimedia, Image source: Wikimedia

In July 1917, Stubby was roaming around in the grounds of the Yale University where the 102nd Infantry of the US Army was training. The dog roamed the grounds as the men trained, and one of the soldiers became fond of him.

Corporal Robert Conroy hid Stubby and took him with him when he was shipped out. When they reached France, Conroy hid Stubby under his overcoat. But he was eventually discovered by the commanding officer. Upon his discovery, Stubby saluted the officer who allowed him to stay.

Stubby served in the infantry for 18 months and was part of 17 battles. He has been known to show courage and saved his regiment from numerous, surprise gas attacks. Stubby used to find and comfort the wounded. He even caught a German soldier once by the bottom of his pants and held him there until the American soldiers discovered them.

Stubby is the only dog in history who held a rank in a regiment. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant, and that was through combat. He is also the most decorated war dog in the world.

An animated film is scheduled to be released in April 2018 based on the life of Stubby. (source)

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5. One of the mascots for MGM, Jackie the lion, has been known to survive two train wrecks, one earthquake, a boat-sinking incident, an explosion at the MGM studio, and a plane crash in which he was left stranded alone in the wilderness for a couple of days.

Jackie the lion, MGM Logo
Image credits: P & A-Pacific and Atlantic Photos/Wikimedia, © Fair Use {{Non-free logo|10 Interesting Stories Behind Famous Mascots}}/Wikipedia

It’s still hard for people to believe that the lion that roars at the start of movies by the MGM studio is actually a real lion. And it’s not the same lion! There have been seven lions who had offered their service to MGM. Leo, the seventh and the current lion, is by far the longest-used lion by MGM. He has been appearing in MGM films since 1957.

But the most interesting lion is the second lion, Jackie. Jackie served between 1928 and 1956. He was also the first to roar, with his roar being recorded by a gramophone. Apart from being the face of the MGM logo, Jackie has also appeared in more than 100 films, one of them being the original Tarzan.

But that is not what makes the lion intriguing. Jackie is a survivor. He has survived five severe catastrophes. Two of these were train wrecks, one was an earthquake, and one an explosion in the studio itself.

In the fifth and most popular case, Jackie was on a plane when the pilot crashed in the wilderness of Arizona. Jackie was left stranded in the forest with only some water and a few sandwiches for about four days. This earned him the nickname “Leo the Lucky.”(source)

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