Since the days when the first troglodyte clubbed an unsuspecting woman and dragged her back to his cave by the hair, we have wondered why the world is such a violent place to live in. Why is it man always seems to decide that the best way to deal with a problem is to beat the everloving hell out of it? While we have replaced the clubs and axes of yesteryear with guns, thermonuclear warheads and ceramic squirrels… there is no denying we are still a people who seem to be fascinated by violence. Although at least in these recent times that would even make Chuck Norris cry into one of his posters (without getting it wet, of course), we’ve come to realize that violence isn’t really one of our most admirable traits.
There was a time in some of our lifetimes when random acts of violence were not only still glorified, but we even laughed at them as we snorted tropical punch out of our noses. If you thought the batshit craziness of the knockout game was some recent social media invention, you must not have been a tourist in Hawaii during the 1960’s and 70’s….
Meet Punchy, the overly smug midget mascot who was created to help sell Hawaiian Punch in 1961.
While his contemporary Kool Aid Man was out and about spreading the word for his liquid refreshment by leaving a lot of collateral damage in his wake, Punchy figured the best way to get people to want to drink Hawaiian Punch was to sock the living shit out of them when they wanted some of it. This is the kind of brutish gag that was sure to draw a lot of laughs when everyone watching was stoned enough to not realize what the fuck was going on…
So Punchy skips along the mean streets of Honolulu, merrily drinking his fruit juice that has obviously been heavily spiked with firewater, until he comes across some random retiree tourist who is just waiting to get taken advantage of.
During the lifespan of this ad campaign which ran into the late 70’s, Punchy continued to pick on the same flower shirted dipshit the entire time. Punchy’s favorite victim also appears to be about two Tiki torches short of a luau. Punchy might think he’s a badass because he can get away without wearing any pants like the rest of the natives, but even the live octopus on his head can’t cover up the fact that he’s one of television’s biggest cowards for picking on the dopiest of all dopes to ever wander onto a cartoon. Punchy is one of the best examples ever of a bully who could have been stopped dead in his tracks had the old man just once ignored the false bravado and just smacked that shit eating grin right off his face.
And if you don’t think our Gilligan’s Island reject tourist is a complete maroon, check out this commercial from 1978:
After a decade and a half of getting his clock cleaned by little runts wearing calamari hats, you’d think he’d begin to recognize his tormentor by now even if he was wearing an incredibly fake beard that made him look more like a Major League closer. But no, he’s so stupid he goes ahead and asks for another Hawaiian Punch anyway… even taking a moment to chuckle before saying the magic words that would send him halfway across the island. Who knows, maybe he’s a masochist who enjoys getting punched in the face by people so small they have to jump up to reach them.
In fact, that’s the only thing that can explain why he goes back AGAIN, this time wearing his own fake beard, just to get another taste of Punchy’s fist. I’m not sure whether we should not bother feeling sorry for this old dunderhead, or try to get him some professional help for his self destructive behavior. Cutting yourself might seem to be the epitome of emo, but constantly seeking out someone to give you a hard right hook seems to be an even more alarming form of self harm.
And who are we to judge if these two are merely willing participants who have completed the strangest ever match of compatible afflictions. Better they keep the one-sided fighting to themselves rather than subject the public to their craving for violence. But by acting out their own therapy on commercial TV for two decades, they’ve already done just that, and helped send the unintentional message that violence is awesome… especially if it involves random strangers. How could we possibly listen to the anti-violence pleas of all of those former gang members on PSA’s when we had these two assclowns on the ad before that displaying the joy of spontaneous fisticuffs?
The ad campaign ran its course and died out before Punchy and Jim Backus’ dumber brother could be a bad influence on us 80’s kids…. or did it? For whatever reason, in an era when the internet wasn’t around to allow us to see how our parents lived, the legend of Punchy and his antics somehow managed to live on. Studies showed that teens in the late 90’s, who weren’t even alive when Punchy threw his last haymaker, were well aware of who the miniature pugilist was. Hawaiian Punch had just landed in the hands of the Dr. Pepper Company in 1999, and they realized the mascot they acquired was still culturally relevant if no longer morally compliant. So the goofy character still remains on bottle of Hawaiian Punch, but unlike professional boxers, Punchy’s fists were forced to remain in permanent retirement.
Sex may sell a lot of beer, Axe shower gel, and
Carl’s Jr. Hardees hamburgers, but when it comes to fruit punch, it is quite obvious that violence is the answer. So for subjecting us to hundreds of uncalled for knuckle sandwiches all in the name of liquid refreshment, we at The Nest would like to salute the makers of Hawaiian Punch. You showed us that little guys can be tough too if they find the lamest person in the world to pick on, and that it never hurts sales to get across the message that asking for your product might cause us physical harm. And we have to give you extra credit for finding a way to work your medieval gag into fun for the whole family, as can be painfully seen by this little gem I found while I was searching for images for this post….
Mean streets of Honolulu…haven’t you seen “Dog: The Bounty Hunter”? He’s getting ahead of the game with his “punch”.
Maybe that’s why Punchy disappeared… the Dog hauled him in by the octopus hat…
Mom said she would have voluntarily put herself in jail behind closed doors if she had to hear Beth’s voice on television ever again – snorts. XOXO – Bacon
Once my poor momma was knocked out after a tiki-party… now I know why…. it was the genie of the bottle aka Mr. Punchy
This is why it isn’t safe to drink the punch. Better to stick to the booze…
Oh no child could forget good ol’ Punchy. That Hawaiian violence spread to all of us as we asked each other if we wanted a nice Hawaiian punch (POW). My brother especially liked to imitate this commercial. sigh
Oh, well that’s different. That’s what brothers are for! 😉
Shit eating grins are my speciality…
This was a great post, ES…and after watching the commercials, I actually do recall them from my youth…now I understand why stabbed my brother with my hair pick.
How about a nice Hawaiian hair pick?
Ha, nice try!! I’ll just have an unsweetened glass of Kool-Aid…
LOL, I found this while looking up these old Hawaiian Punch ads. This is classic!
Oh dear piggy heavens… daddy says he remembers these commercials. I knew it! He came over with Noah two by two on the boat – snorts. XOXO – Bacon
LOL! I do hope Mommy was his companion!
Snorts – sshhh- I think you may be right. Her birthday is next week. She told daddy no candles on the cake because it might blow up! XOXO – Bacon
There’s nothing that sucks more about getting old than when your birthday parties turn into fire hazards…
This one is hilarious, ES!
I’d offer you a nice Hawaiian Punch, but not while you have that helmet on…
Part of the reason I wear it.
“… but when it comes to fruit punch, it is quite obvious that violence is the answer.”
No truer words, my friend. A fact that is no longer shared with the younger folks, but is still no less relevant than it was all those years ago. Wonderful wisdom in this post.
I am all about finding wisdom and insight buried in our commercials of yesteryear!
As a longtime news guy, Garry’s favorite was always “senseless violence.” Every time someone said it, he’d look at me and say “As opposed to sensible violence?” Maybe it was the cliche that got him, but it got him ever time.
I’d have sworn that phrase was in every newsman’s vocabulary. Good to see its redundancy didn’t escape Garry…
I wondered why Punchy had it in for Thurston Howell III of Gilligan’s Island every time the damn commercial came on, ESN.
The quickest way to a man’s wallet is through his jaw….
I’d forgotten all about that little twit. Like the irritating Scrappy to Scooby Doo (both of which I also hate). BAM! Do you get it? I PUNCHED you. We never do see what happens after he punches that guy. Maybe he pulls out a gun.
That would be too awesome. Now it hits me… I wonder where McGarrett and Danno were while this punchy crime spree was taking place in Paradise…?
Uncovering victims from under the debris from Kool-Aid man’s rampages.
Fruit punch is my least favorite of all the punches. I prefer mine spiked and not an unnatural shade of whatever the hell that is.
I don’t like fruit punch at all… and Mecca was stupid enough to convert all of its sno cone syrups over to Hawaiian Punch flavors, so now I have to order my cherry syrup online….
apparently the game is still available! Loved imitation Kool Aid Man’s awkward moments but hope
real Kool Aid Man has been released from the basement!
I wouldn’t want Kool Aid Man running amok out there leaving flying brick shrapnel all over the place! Better he stay in the basement where crashing through the wall will do him no good! 🙂
Haha! This brings back memories. In elementary school, some little shithead dressed like Punchy for Halloween. He hauled off and punched a couple classmates because he was “in character”. One of them kicked his ass in return.
Awkward Kool-Aid man was hilarious!
See! That’s just what the old man should have done to Punchy. I think he could have taken the little runt…