Funny Face

Funny Face

Nothing says summer like a cold pitcher of powdered drink mix, ready to stave off dehydration and quench the thirst after a day of playing in the hot sun. At mere pennies a serving, these fruity concoctions have been a favorite of parents and kids alike for decades. We all know who the leader of the pack is, with its familiar mascot ready to burst through a wall at the first mention of his name. But the Kool-Aid Man had a worthy competitor in the 60s and 70s, a beloved drink mix called Funny Face.

Introduced by Pillsbury in 1964, Funny Face came out of the gate strong, offering an assortment of seven flavors, each with their own character on the package. In order to win the approval of parents, the product didn’t contain sugar. Good strategies, both of them, but the product mascots and the choice of sugar substitutes would eventually lead to a fair share of controversy.

Five of the original flavors were innocuous enough – Lefty Lemon, Goofy Grape, Loud-mouth Lime, Freckle Face Strawberry and Rootin’ Tootin’ Raspberry. The other two, Chinese Cherry and Injun Orange, didn’t exactly thrill members of the Asian and Native-American communities. They responded with protests and Pillsbury wisely changed the offending flavors to Choo Choo Cherry and Jolly Olly Orange.

Furthermore, the choice of artificial sweeteners was problematic. The company originally chose a substance called cyclamate, but within a few years, it was deemed dangerous by the FDA and Funny Face was pulled from store shelves. After a bit of reformulation, the product returned with good ol’ saccharin in its place, and also offered an unsweetened version so consumers could add their sweetener of choice. Eventually, larger packages of Funny Face were made available that contained sugar.

For a decade or so, Funny Face rivaled Kool-Aid in popularity, with many a kid preferring the welcoming cartoon faces on each package. In 1972, Pillsbury even added vitamin C to give the drink a little more nutritional value than the competition.

Still, there could only be one winner in the powdered beverage wars and, by the end of the 70s, Funny Face was all but defeated. They attempted a comeback in the early 80s, with a flavor called Moo Joice, which was actually a chocolate flavor that you added to milk. It didn’t catch on and that was pretty much the end of the Funny Face brand on store shelves.

Not in the hearts of millions of former kids, however, who still have plenty of fond memories of an ice-cold pitcher of Funny Face on a hot summer day. If you are one of those, we’d love to hear your thoughts in our comments section, as we pay tribute to an extinct drink mix that may be gone, but is certainly not forgotten.

33 Responses to “Funny Face”

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  1. Scott Roberts says:

    I remember Moo Juice appearing in the 60’s. just a little after Funny Face. True, it didn’t stay around long, but it certainly wasn’t as late as the 80’s, unless it too staged a comeback that I missed. Lefty Lemon was not one of the original Funny Face flavors- that one came along a little later.

    • My name is Hal Silverman and I’m the guy who created the brand, and all the characters for Pillsbury. I actually created them for my daughter, Jill, who was about four years old at the time. My nickname for her was Freckle Face—and from that beginning, all the characters just fell into place. Needless to say, my daughter—and all her frieinds— had a wonderful time playing with the names, and pretending to be the characters. I also created Moo Juice.

      Thanks for remembering.


  2. CAROL says:

    ANY possibility of bringing this product back? With thought given to it, I believe it could/would make a big comeback. My kids loved it. I loved it. And any company could certainly be successful in marketing a whole line of Funny Face products. Those kids who originally drank Funny Face now have kids of their own. And then there are us grandparents….A new generation, a “new world,” both ready for more Funny Face!

  3. mehrvash says:

    I love it so much and have many memories on this product. but I didn’t know to mix with water!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • RS says:

      It was great and I can not believe that I am the only nut who still cares…Hey how about a capaign to get Pillsbury to release the drink as a retro limited time only Funny Face???

  4. bridget says:

    Hallo! Does someone of you remember a soft drink mixed called Quench? i remember a purple one, but there were others. my mother worked for the US Army in Germany (early 1970s) and brought it often from work. to us german kids it was very exotical with its purple color; i still rember the taste of it and i try to find information on this Quench stuff, but so far nothing…

  5. Rick Lincroft says:

    After Cyclamate was found to cause cancer in lab rats, the FDA ordered all products containing it to be removed from store shelves.
    Many parents were understandably outraged that companies had been selling poisons to kids, and Funny Face drink mix, along with Fresca soda, (Which were both great!) were singled out in the public’s mind as some of the worst offenders. (Even though Kool-Aid also used it, as did most other “pre-sweetened” drink mixes, and most diet sodas.)
    Of course, the reformulated saccharine sweetened products tasted like chemical crap, (Remember TAB Cola?) and it wasn’t long before they, and even the odd term “pre-sweetened”, soon faded from the marketplace.
    Fortunately, the advent of Aspartame has solved the problem of horrible tasting sugar substitutes, though a residual fear of chemical additives (Remember Red Dye No.2?) seems to have prevented the return of artificially sweetened children’s products. (Probably not a bad thing.)
    An interesting side note; improved testing procedures in the early 1990s determined that Cyclamate wasn’t anywhere near as carcinogenic as had been previously believed.
    This should come as a great relief to an entire generation of kids who grew up loving Funny Face drinks.

  6. Michelle DuPuis says:

    Oh my gosh! We had the plastic mugs that represented each flavor! What fun to see those images again!

  7. Doug says:

    I fondly remember Funny Face and drank it quite often in the late 60s and early 70s. As a kid, I was never infatuated with Kool-Aid and recall never having it in our house. Instead, I remember holding the different flavor packets to my nose and inhaling their scent. Brings back fond memories of the glory days of being a child!

  8. I thought it might be time for me to get the credit for creating the Funny Face brand, as well as all the original characters. I was a Creative Director at Campbell Mithun Advertising when the assignment came from Pillsbury to create a brand for its new drink mix that could compete with Kool Aid. At the time, I was naive enough not to realize that the names Chinese Cherry and Injun Orange could be hurtful to Chinese and Native Americans. My sincere appoogies, at this late date, to anyone I offended.

  9. Anthony Alfidi says:

    I remember Goofy Grape. That stuff was good.

  10. cris dangelo says:

    bring back funny face—with stevia!!!

  11. Karen says:

    My Mom had a recipe that used grape Funny Face, pineapple juice, and 7-up. I think it also used orange juice. It was delicious but looked like witches brew. Does anyone still have that recipe- I would love it. Thanks!

  12. Karen P says:

    Does anyone have a punch recipe from the 70’s made with Funny Face, pineapple, oj and 7-up?

  13. Brenda Hentges says:

    Just found 2 packages one Goofy Grape and Jolly Olly Orange in my mom’s receipe box from my chidhood.

  14. Karl Wilderson says:

    I remember funny face like nothing, and preferred it much more than Kool Aid. I was just wondering what happened to it, and because of Google Inc. I found out the sad truth.

  15. fishman55 says:

    Always liked better than Kool Ade.
    I remember saving packs of funny face to get a drink stand, was actually made real well.
    they were huge on promotion I remember going to the gas station and getting a free packif my mom wood filler VW up.also got a Hot Wheels car and couple of plastic mugs On mail ins.

  16. Chris Wolter says:

    I loved the idea of getting a Funny Face drink stand, but could never afford one. Finally nailed some fruit crates together and made my own, on which I drew all the characters with crayons. When the drink was pulled from the market in 1969 due to cyclamates, my best friend and I saved our private stash hidden in his basement. His younger siblings found it there and began selling it on the street. We actually missed it so much we began a newspaper called the Funny Face Times which, like the drink, sold for 5¢ an issue. It had stories, jokes, a cooking corner, foreign-language and music lessons, and also documented the exciting return of the drink in 1970, as well as the introduction of new flavors. I even sent a few issues to the Pillsbury Company. The mugs and pillows were a lot more affordable than the drink stand.
    Goofy Grape had a taste I don’t think Kool-Aid was ever able to match. I liked them all, but I think the one that was really good was Chilly Cherry Cola. Pillsbury also marketed three flavors to adults (the ‘Thirst-Fighters’ Baron von Lemon, Sir Reginald Lime-Lime and Crash Orange) that were excellent.

  17. Susan says:

    My Mom just passes away this week. When my siblings asked if I wanted anything in her house I immediately said the only thing I would like is the funny face mugs we used as kids. I now have the set of six on my kitchen counter. Just looking at them brings back so many happy childhood memories.

  18. Clyde Rainwater, MCPO, USN-Ret says:

    I’m sure Kool-Aid was also available but the only powdered drink mix that my unit ever received in Vietnam was “Funny Face”. You can’t imagine how bad the water purification tablets made our canteen water taste – Funny Face to the rescue. We all carried packages of it out on patrol to improve the taste of the water and rations. It wasn’t only the Americans that relied on it, I recall that most our Vietnamese counterparts included “Nuoc Funny Face” in their English vocabulary. (Nuoc is a modifier that simply means liquid)
    A generation of military men and women in the 60’s and 70’s owe Hal and Pillsbury a vote of thanks for providing a small taste of home to those of us who were in a often terrible place. I always traded for Goofy Grape if possible.

  19. missing fun says:

    Bring the fun back

  20. I remember as a kid growing up in the 70’s my mom always had the Funny Face drink mix. I remember her getting us The pitcher of Goofy Grape and the cups were the other flavors. She still has the pitcher and one of the cups.

  21. Jim says:

    My siblings and I had several each of the cups that you could send away for with something from the empty packets I think. They’re probably miles deep in a landfill by now. I was wondering if Funny Face still existed, so did a Google and landed here. I don’t recall if the flavor was better than Koolaid, but the characters were fun and the free (I think they were free) cups with each of the characters made it our favorite. And if I’m not mistaken, I think Funny Face may have cost less than Koolaid too. I think the previous suggestion of bringing it back with stevia might be a neat idea. A lot of us will still remember the brand if it were to re-appear on store shelves.

  22. Karen A. says:

    Mr. Silverman, Funny Face brings back my childhood. I have been searching for original newspaper and magazine ads for the original Ingine Orange and Chinese Cherry…Any ideas where I can get one?

    Thanks for making a fond memory…


    Karen A.

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