Something a little special today for the blog. I've managed to bag an interview with one of America's big icons. A lot of negotiations took place with agents, company reps, etc. along with a binding contract that I not give the exact location where the interview took place. I'm more than happy to give this giant in the industry his privacy.
First a little background information. Jolly Green grew up in Minnesota, making his first appearance in 1928, the year before the Great Depression. He came from modest means, a happy family, but frankly, he wasn't real popular. He was sent to charm school in the 1930s and gradually over the years developed into the charming fellow we all love.
Click on either image to see it larger.
I CAN say that this interview took place while he was on vacation in California along the North Coast amongst the redwood groves.
Tattered and Lost: Mr. Green...
Jolly Green Giant: Call me JG.
T & L: Okay, JG. What brings you here to the forests of the North Coast?
JG: Well, as you can imagine it's hard for me to just get away, be myself. I don't tend to blend in and if I go to the beach that's pretty much it for anybody else who was planning to go for the day. By the time I've thrown down a beach towel and stretched out the tide usually goes out. I try to find places now where I can spend some quiet time. I can walk through this forest and actually feel small. I don't get that very often.
T & L: I understand completely. Well, actually I have no reference point for this, but I can imagine.
JG: I feel I have certain responsibilities to my fans, the "little people" and I don't want to disappoint any of them. My folks didn't name me Jolly for nothin'. (laughing)
T & L: I was going to ask you about that. Is it tough always having to be so upbeat?
JG: Oh no, not at all. (laughing) What have I got to worry about? I can see things coming from miles away so I'm always prepared. That's how I've tried to live my life. Look off into the distance and be ready for anything. Keep a positive attitude.
T & L: Can I ask you a little about work?
T & L: Well, you've done a lot of television spots over the years. Where were they filmed?
JG: Oh we film those in Minnesota, in the valley where I was born and raised. Beautiful place, simply beautiful. Have you been there?
T & L: No, I'm sorry to say I haven't.
JG: Oh you must. Do you like vegetables?
T & L: Of course.
JG: Then you'll like the valley. Hard working little people producing some great products.
T & L: Well, that brings up a subject that gets talked about a lot.
JG: Oh, I know where this is going.
T & L: You do?
JG: Sure. You want to know about my niblets. Right?
T & L: Actually yes, we're all sort of curious about them.
JG: I'm proud of my niblets. You won't find finer niblets on the shelf. Quite a package if I do say so myself.
T & L: Was there ever any concern about calling them niblets?
JG: No, not really. We thought of trying kernel but it had different meanings in different parts of the country depending on how people spelled it so we decided to stay with niblets. What can I say (laughing), people just LOVE my niblets.
T & L: I can imagine with your size there are some funny stories to tell about filming. Anything really wild ever happen?
JG: Oh, all sorts of wild stuff, but usually only if they bring in a crew from out of the area. The locals all know me and we all work together as a tight unit. Time is money, so we get into the valley and out, usually in two days. I like to be a one take guy if at all possible. Usually the hardest part is waiting for the lighting to be just right. You know, magic hour.
T & L: This might be a bit personal, but because of your size has anything unfortunate ever occurred?
JG: Really, only the one time and I'm not sure people are aware of this so I guess I'm giving you an exclusive.
T & L: Wow, let's here it.
JG: (laughing) Now this happened many years ago and since then we've implemented a variety of safety procedures to make sure it doesn't ever happen again. You know how sometimes when you sneeze you just sort of loose control? An arm or a leg might...well...sort of flail around?
T & L: Oh no.
JG: (nodding) Yup, I spun around trying to not sneeze on the crew in the valley, started to loose my footing and BAM! my left foot came down on the train station. Completely flattened it. Fortunately nobody was in it at the time. The problem came the next day when the director realized we needed to do some re-shoots at the station. I mean, my crew is good, but they can't reconstruct the station overnight. So a friend of a friend called Lionel Trains and they brought in a modular station the next day. Had it up in place within no time. It just snapped together. If you look real close in the commercial you can see it's different, but the people in the valley used that station for a good six months while the insurance people did their thing. Eventually a check was cut and the station was replaced and looks just like the original.
T & L: Well, I'm thrilled for the exclusive and equally thrilled to hear it had a happy ending.
JG: Me too. Me too. Size can be a burden.
T & L: Speaking of endings, I guess I better wind this up.
JG: Oh, is it over already? I was just getting into the groove of this.
T & L: This has been really, and I can't say it enough, a big thrill to meet you.
JG: I hope I didn't let you down.
T & L: Oh, no, not in the least. But speaking of which...
JG: (laughing) I guess you want out of the tree, don't you?
T & L: Uhhh, yes please.
JG: How was it up there?
T & L: Great actually. I'm glad you thought of it. It was much easier doing this interview being able to look you in the eye instead of standing down at your big toe yelling up.
JG: Like I said, I'm always trying to be prepared, think ahead. It's all in how you look at things.