Now that Betty Crocker has been inducted into the Golden Valley Hall of Fame, look for other beloved characters to follow suit, according to an industry insider.
“Betty is just the tip of the iceberg, the sharp end of the sword.” said Sheldon Yutz, president of the National Association of Halls of Fame. “I predict that the lion’s share of inductees in the next 18 months will be fictitious characters.”
It’s long been known that inducting living persons is fraught with danger. “More than a few Halls have had to un-induct people after personal missteps or embarrassing incidents,” said Yutz. “Fictitious characters have the advantage of no surprises.” Yutz pointed out that there has never been an instance of a fictitious character getting a DWI, having a messy affair or running a Ponzi scheme.
The push for recognizing fictitious characters is also the focus of a new breed of agents. Edward “Fast Eddie” Brolowski has a stable that includes such notables as Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben and the Maytag Repairman.
“My clients are all top drawer characters, beloved by millions and richly deserve being in a Hall of Fame.” Brolowski is currently negotiating with several unnamed communities for the inclusion of what he calls “the safer choice.” As he puts it, “Why would you take a chance with the Kardashians when you can have the Keebler Elves? You induct Charlie Sheen, it’s a crap shoot. You induct Smokey the Bear and it’s clear sailing.”
Another agent is Suzanne St. Vitalis, whose client list includes the Frito Bandito, Speedy Alka Seltzer and The Pillsbury Doughboy. “No disrespect for Betty, but c’mon,” says St. Vitalis. “She’s just a smiling face on a box. My guys are animated!”
But others say this campaign will be an uphill climb. Vic Chessman represents fictional animals, including Charlie the Tuna, the Trix Rabbit and Elsie the Cow. “It’s a tough sell when it comes to animals. There just aren’t that many Halls that are broad-minded enough to consider fictitious characters at all, never mind critters.” Chessman has yet to place any of his clients into a Hall of Fame. “I got close with The Energizer Bunny, but in the end, the Electrical Storage Hall of Fame went with Alessandro Volta.”
Despite these challenges, Yutz predicts that more of his members will be considering and selecting fictitious characters in the coming years. “There’s just no downside to honoring a Count Chocula or the Columbia Torch Lady.”
For 10 years, the mayor of Sunol, California was a dog named Bosco.