Peanut-man says, ‘Nuts to you!’

Published 10:12 pm Monday, April 4, 2011

For some folks, there was a moment of panic, followed by the sinking feeling of having lost a friend. Many were in shock when they read the announcement.

It just seemed so unbelievable that Mr. Peanut could move on after 95 years as the face of Planters peanuts. But it was there in black and white on the elegant legume’s Facebook page.

“After 95 years of being the spokesperson for Planters, I’m calling it quits,” he announced on Friday. “Here’s a rough sketch the guys at Planters put together of my replacement, Barth the Bar Nut. Sure he’s surly and curses like a sailor, but I’m sure he’ll do just fine.” The statement was accompanied by a sketch that looked as if it could have been produced by a 5-year-old police sketch artist and that showed a “bar nut” with an eye patch and an attitude.

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Mr. Peanut’s Facebook fans were quick to reply.

“Cashew find somebody better?” Brenda Highton asked.

“He’s a step down in image if you ask me!” Craig Vosburgh opined. “You’re putting yourselves in the class with Beernuts. Don’t do it!”

Some seemed almost desperate in their denial. “THIS. CAN’T. BE.” wrote Shane Van Allan.

As it turned out, it wasn’t true. At first, Planters officials said they weren’t sure what was up with their company spokesnut, who was born in the consciousness of a boy from Suffolk as a response to a contest started by Planters founder and future Suffolk philanthropist Amedeo Obici.

Maybe the heat surrounding Houston’s NCAA tournament had temporarily addled his goober-pea-brain, they suggested. Or perhaps he’d been a victim of love. Whatever the case, they assured us, Mr. Peanut had had a change of heart about his change of heart. He’d maintain his role as the natty nut at the heart of Planters’ advertising campaigns.

Later that evening, Mr. Peanut himself revealed what he’d been up to — just a bit of April Fool’s nuttiness. He never intended to leave his job at all.

There were surely more important stories reported around the world and even in Suffolk on Friday night. But the news that Mr. Peanut would not be shipping out for good likely drew some of the biggest smiles in the area. Here’s hoping for another 95 years before we have to think about losing this Suffolk icon.