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Museum gotta see ‘um
July 11, 2014, 05:00 AM By Susan Cohn Daily Journal

REAL CHARACTERS VISIT SAN FRANCISCO AIRPORT MUSEUM. Brand ambassadors for products and places took on myriad forms as evidenced by these advertising icons from the Warren Dotz Collection. Seen, left to right, are Chicken Delight c.1960s, Chicken Delight restaurants; Burger Chef c.1977, Burger Chef restaurants; and Pioneer Pete c.1978, Pioneer Chicken restaurants. On display through Jan. 4, 2015, at the San Francisco International Airport’s International Terminal.

By Susan Cohn

Daily Journal Senior Correspondent

A WORLD OF CHARACTERS: ADVERTISING ICONS FROM THE WARREN DOTZ COLLECTION, AT THE SAN FRANCISCO AIRPORT MUSEUM. The use of advertising mascots is centuries old, with itinerant peddlers and established merchants decorating their carts or shops with colorful characters. The advent of mass production led to brand ambassadors in the early 20th century that still appear today, including Planters’ Mr. Peanut (1918), the Minnesota Valley Canning Company’s Jolly Green Giant (1928) and Borden’s Elsie the Cow (1936). During the television age, advertisers launched an unprecedented variety of mascots to distinguish their products and provide someone or something with which consumers could identify. A World of Characters: Advertising Icons from the Warren Dotz Collection brings together 300 colorful examples of this genre. Native New Yorker Dotz is a San Francisco-based author, consultant and historian of popular culture. As a youth, Dotz attended the 1964 New York World’s Fair, where his visits to the iconic and thoroughly modern corporate pavilions proved formative in his lifelong interest in popular art, brand spokes-characters and the graphic design of logos and packaging.

Some characters in the collection originated from Madison Avenue’s top agencies while others evolved from napkin sketches by company employees caricaturing a friend or colleague. The characters and their taglines became instantly recognizable: Tony the Tiger’s (1951) “They’re Grrrrrreat!” in reference to Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes; “Sorry, Charlie,” delivered to StarKist’s Charlie the Tuna (1961), who did not have “the taste” to make it into their cans; even the giggle elicited from Pillsbury’s Poppin’ Fresh Doughboy (1965) became part of the public’s consciousness. The most popular characters were produced as figurines and special-offer promotional items such as toys, telephones, coin banks and cameras. A World of Characters: Advertising Icons from the Warren Dotz Collection runs through Jan. 4, 2015, at the San Francisco Airport International Terminal, pre-security. The exhibit is free and no air ticket is needed for access.


ARTIST ALEXANDRA DOLMATZ HONORED. The Coastal Arts League has chosen Alexandra Dolmatz as July’s Artist of the Month. Alexandra (Letty) is featured in an ad in the current Half Moon Bay magazine. The CAL Artist of the Month title honors artistic achievement and dedicated store membership with the Coastal Arts League. Since 1979, The Coastal Arts League has supported the arts and artists of the San Mateo Coast.


THE PERFECT PAPER AIRPLANE DAY AT HILLER AVIATION MUSEUM. Everyone loves paper airplanes. We turn into test pilots just by folding sheets of paper. We make them to see how fast they will go or how far they will fly, we even try to do aerobatics with them. At 11 a.m. Saturday, July 12, Hiller Aviation Museum hosts John Collins, one of the top paper airplane makers in the country, who discusses and demonstrates this fun craft. Collins is the world distance paper airplane record holder and a master paper airplane builder, whose creative designs include a plane so light that simply holding it above your hand and walking makes it fly. His planes perform unique aerobatics and some even become two when thrown in the air. No reservations are required and the event is included with museum admission. The Hiller Aviation Museum is located at 601 Skyway Road, San Carlos. For information, telephone 654-0200 or visit


CURIODYSSEY HOSTS FREE COMMUNITY DAY JULY 23. CuriOdyssey, the San Mateo-based experiential science and wildlife center for children and families, invites you to explore science and meet native California animals on its free Community Day July 23. Come back on July 26 for Reptile Day and get up close to cold-blooded animals like turtles, snakes and lizards. Meet this special set of creatures and find out what makes reptiles so amazing. CuriOdyssey is located at 1651 Coyote Point Drive in San Mateo.


LOOKING FOR ARTISTS WITH A HEART. The San Francisco General Hospital Foundation is accepting submissions from Bay Area artists for the annual “Hearts in San Francisco” public art series. The selected heart artworks will be a part of the Heroes & Hearts Luncheon and Hearts After Dark evening event at AT&T Park on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015. The hearts are sold and auctioned at the luncheon, with proceeds benefiting the life-enhancing programs at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, the heart of the City. Design renderings may be submitted online at by the Friday, Aug. 1 deadline.

Susan Cohn can be reached at or



Tags: characters, paper, museum, francisco, their, collection,

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Museum gotta see ‘um

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