He’s nut going anywhere

Published 11:28 pm Friday, April 1, 2011

Mr. Peanut is calling it quits.

After 95 years of being the spokesnut for Planters Peanuts, Mr. Peanut announced his retirement on his Facebook page Friday, just a few short months after getting a makeover, a voice and a butler named Benson.

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He also used the social media network to introduce the world to his replacement, Barth the Bar Nut, whom Mr. Peanut said “curses like a sailor.”

However, the famous legume’s Facebook fans quickly caught on to the significance of the announcement being made on April 1.

“Tell me this is an April Fools’ joke,” one person said.

As it turns out, according to Planters spokesman Basil Maglaris, Mr. Peanut was serious. But he had a change of heart.

“Thankfully, we have learned that Mr. Peanut has since changed his mind about retiring,” Maglaris said. “He shares his apologies to the family in Omaha who hired Benson as their nanny, as Benson will return to being Mr. Peanut’s full-time assistant, bodyguard, body double (from the head up) and overall confidante.”

Maglaris attributed Mr. Peanut’s sudden resignation to sultry conditions in Houston, Texas, where the beloved legume is visiting the NCAA Final Four tournament.

“We’re not sure if it was the heat and humidity down in Houston that caused this, or the lovely lady he evidently met while down there for the Final Four, but he’s back on board,” Maglaris said.

Planters’ globe-trotting legume originated in Suffolk in 1916, when a young Hall Place resident named Antonio Gentile sketched Mr. Peanut in response to a contest put forth by Amedeo Obici, founder of Planters.

Last year, Mr. Peanut got a makeover that included a voice, a dapper coat and tie and the sidekick. A commercial also showed him with a crack in his shell from a shame-faced Nutcracker.

Those fans who aren’t too angry with Mr. Peanut for his April Fools’ Day joke can keep up with him via his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mrpeanut.