Monday, June 14, 2010

Cola Trivia

  • The Coca-Cola Company never officially used the word Coke until March 17, 1944. It never appeared on Coke packaging until 1955. That was the year the Coke can first appeared. So there have always been Coke cans, since the day they were first made.
The word Coke was used promotionally. Morton Downey (1901-85), a popular Irish tenor had a radio program called the Coke Club which aired from 1930 until 1950, with Downey as host. It continued a few more years with Eddie Fisher (1929- ) hosting. And, in case you were wondering, Morton Downey was the father of the late talk show host (and singer, too) Morton Downey Jr. (1932-2001).

"Coke" only appears on cans sold in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. It's not seen on the Coke sold here in the Philippines.

In countries whose native languages do not end words with a
k sound, Coke is called Coca. This includes Vietnam, Spanish speaking countries, Indonesia, and German speaking countries. So now you know.

  • The bottoms of Coke bottles had the names of the cities of the bottling plants where the bottles were made. It was quite interesting to be living in San Diego, California and have a bottle from Jamestown, New York!
The bottle at the right is from Savannah, Georgia.

  • Disneyland served both Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola from 1955 to 1982. Coke was almost everywhere but Pepsi was served at the Golden Horseshoe Revue in Frontierland.
The Anaheim, California, theme park is now exclusively Coca-Cola Territory.

  • Pepsi and Coke employees must swear an oath that they will never imbibe a competitor's product. It's such a solemn promise that even after some workers have been off the job for 60-70 years, they are still loyal to their former employer.

  • Like was the sugar free version of Seven Up ("the only soft drink made just for girls.") Comedian Louie Nye (1913-2005) starred in some hilarious commercials in which he played a woman, even though acted and looked like the manly man he was. Eventually, Like's name was changed to Diet Seven Up.
A couple of decades later, Like resurfaced as a caffein free cola. There were regular and sugar free versions. The regular version had red packaging. The sugar free version was blue.

  • Shasta used to make cola in the following flavors: Cherry; Lemon; Chocolate; Vanilla; Pineapple. I loved them all. I think the pineapple cola bit the dust way ahead of the others. And then they just went away. The company that made Shasta pop made some interesting flavors, including draft root beer and draft orange soda (so that kids would have a head on their fizzy drinks, just like Daddy's beer!)
Years later, I wrote to Shasta to ask about them making the flavored colas again. But you know those young kids who run the companies like that.. They didn't acknowledge that these flavors were a part of history. No, they said these originated in Mexico (?????) and the cans were captioned in both English and Spanish. No mention about the past.


By the way, this advertisement must be from the early 1960s, at the latest!

  • Outside the United States, Pepsi Cola is market with Seven Up. The packaging of the two drinks is virtually identical.

  • Cadbury-Schweppe's bought Royal Crown Cola in the 1990s. The company had earlier bought Seven Up. (They also own Dr Pepper.)
Americans living in the Southeastern part of the country enjoy RC Cola and Moon Pie as a snack.

  • In the Philippines, Coca-Cola puts out its own generic version of its flagship drink, called Pop Cola. It generally sells for 20-25% less than Coke. There are also generic versions of the company's other drinks: Royal Tru-Orange (the Filipino version of Fanta) has a low priced version called Cheers and Sprite has a discount version called Sparkle. Taste-wise, the less expensive drinks are identical. But there is some stigma attached with drinking these all the time. Coke gets a lot of money, anyway.

  • Outside the United States, Royal Crown Cola is owned by the Cott Company of Canada. In certain parts of Vietnam, it may seem odd, but RC is easier to find than Coke!

  • The name of the little boy with the Coke bottle cap hat, premature gray hair and glowing smile is Sprite. He was also called the Sprite Boy. The drink called Sprite did not come out until 1960. Many Coca-Cola bottlers put out Bubble Up. The San Diego Coca-Cola Bottling Company (as well as those in the Los Angeles area) continued to sell Bubble Up into the late 1960s. I remember I could never buy Sprite at a store until about 1969. Sometimes, though my memory isn't as good as I wish it was. I wish I could remember EVERYTHING....
Well, except the bad stuff!

  • Double Cola was the discount cola when I was growing up. Like RC it came in 16 ounce bottles. It had a very rough taste (to me, but I liked it). Somehow, it disappeared from Southern California sometime in the early 1970s. I went to college briefly in Tennessee and was delighted to see Double Cola at the Mouse Trap Mini Market in Cookeville. (They also had Bubble Up and Kickapoo Joy Juice, but that's another story. Many years after I left that store became infamous for being the top merchant in Tennessee to sell cigarettes to minors...) Double Cola is sold in the Southeastern United States, Southern Asia, the Middle East, and South America. But not Los Angeles. Alas...

  • The very first national commercial jingle (song used for advertising) was for Pepsi Cola in 1940:
Pepsi Cola hits the spot;
Twelve full ounces that's a lot.
Twice as much for a nickel, too;
Pepsi Cola is the drink for you!
Nickel, nickel, nickel, nickel, nickel, nickel, nickel... (etc.)
So the toothpaste jingle in the musical play/movie, Annie, "You Aren't Dressed Without Your Smile," could have never happened because the story took place in the early 1930s (people tell me that the LoyalTubist is not much fun to watch movies with... I notice too much!)

To explain the jingle, Coca-Cola was sold in tiny six ounce bottles for five cents. Pepsi came out with bottles that were twice as big for the same price. Coke would later outdo Pepsi in 1988 by creating a 16 ounce "tall boy" aluminum can. But that was only an experiment, much to the chagrin of a real Coke lover like me.

  • Artist Haddon Sundblom (1899-1976) is, by urban culture, and legend, credited with creating the modern idea of who Santa Claus is from the paintings he made of Kris Kringle in magazines of the 1920s and 1930s for Coca-Cola. Older pictures of Santa show him in colors other than red and white, Coke's official colors.

  • For a couple of years, the Ripley's Believe It Or Not radio show radio show was sponsored by Royal Crown Cola. Robert L. Ripley, announcer Ford Bond, singer "Lovely" Linda Lee, and bandleader B.A. Rolfe did the show in New York City in the 1930s and 1940s. At the closest place where one in New York could buy a bottle of RC Cola was Maryland.

  • The strongest flavoring agent in Coca-Cola is lemon. In Pepsi Cola, it's cinnamon. And, even though it's not a cola project, in Dr Pepper, it's cherry. Popular 1950s folklore told us it was prune juice, but that isn't true; if you drink too much Dr Pepper and get the runs, it's the carbonation doing what carbonation does best. Incidentally, according to the people who make Dr Pepper, there is no period after the Dr. Actually, I've seen one logo used during the World War II period that had a period after the Dr. Maybe they mean after 1946!