Mike Burns, Co-Founder of CanMuseum.com, returns with another look at Halloween-themed beverage cans
It is Halloween in America at the start of the millennium and Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc. decides to put out a set of cans featuring characters from The Munsters television show. The Munsters aired in glorious black-and-white on CBS for two seasons from September 24, 1964 to May 12, 1966. The story focused on the typical American middle class family-unit of the 1960s, with a gothic twist.
This family lived in an old creepy Victorian home covered with dust and cobwebs; similar to any haunted house you would see on Scooby-Doo. Inside the home, lived Herman Munster (Fred Gwynne – The Father), Lily Munster (Yvonne De Carlo – The Mother), Eddie Munster (Butch Patrick – The School-age Son), Grandpa Munster (Al Lewis, who lived in the dungeon), and Marilyn Munster (Beverly Owen / Pat Priest – The Cousin/Lily’s Niece).
A&W Root Beer – Herman Munster
The first can in the set shows the very tall Herman Munster. The Herman Munster character was based on Frankenstein’s Monster. The shades of brown in Herman’s clothes match the A&W Root Beer branding. Also the show’s logo is in orange, again matching the A&W branding. To add to the Halloween theme of the can a few brown bats are scattered throughout the design.
A&W Diet Root Beer – Lily Munster
The second can is the A&W Diet Root Beer can showing Lily Munster. Lily Munster is strikingly similar to The Bride of Frankenstein (with her hair down). It is typical for a female character to be put on a diet soda can. This diet soda color scheme of a white can and the association with females has become psychologically implanted in our brains over the years so much that soda manufacturers have discovered that men typically won’t buy diet soda.
The result is diet soda marketed to regain the male market in black cans like Coca-Cola Zero (which originally was white) and Pepsi Max, or recently released silver can of Dr Pepper Ten, specifically marketed “It’s Not For Women”. But I digress. This nice female can has Lily’s dress matching the color of the A&W Root Beer mug. Her nails and lipstick and The Munsters logo use the A&W orange, while her hair, necklace, and smaller parts of her dress match the A&W brown. Again, we see the theme of some brown bats positioned eerily similar to those of the Herman Munster can.
Sunkist Orange – Grandpa Munster
The third can in the set is the Grandpa Munster Sunkist Orange soda can. Grandpa’s character is a reference to the infamous Dracula. Grandpa’s clothes predominately use the blue of the Sunkist letters and his cape is white as in the border around the Sunkist letters. Grandpa’s bowtie and cummerbund compliment the Sunkist orange. Rounding out the can design are the signature bats; this time in blue like the Sunkist letters. Even the Sunkist green leaf was not forgotten as The Munsters logo uses its color.
The Munsters Halloween can set is one of my favorites as I was a big fan of the television show growing up. I would have liked to have seen Eddie and Marilyn cans and perhaps they did exist but I haven’t found any information about them. The color scheme is consistent with each character’s colors matching the brand. Also, the entire set is very appropriate for the Halloween theme. What TV show would be better to place on cans than The Munsters? Perhaps The Addams Family or Buffy The Vampire Slayer?
History Lesson: In 2000, Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc. was five years away from falling into a great amount of debt allowing it to be acquired by Cadbury Schweppes plc and The Carlyle Group. Three years later it was ultimately spun off into the independent company, the Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG).