expo 67 lounge

Mid-century fashion, vintage pop culture and retro cool... from Expo 67 and beyond.

10 September 2006

The Frito Bandito

The Frito Bandito appeared in 1967 as a commercial mascot for Fritos Corn Chips. Cartoon legend Tex Avery (the man behind Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck) created the Frito Bandito while voice actor Mel Blanc (also of Bugs/Daffy fame) developped his voice.

The Frito Bandito was a Mexican bandit, complete with mustache and sombraro, brandishing pistols and singing "Ay-aiy-aiy-aiy-aiy! Oh, I am the Frito Bandito" to the tune of the traditional Mexican favorite Cielito Lindo. The Bandito would steal Fritos Corn Chips (often at gunpoint), to which the commercial voice-over would suggest buying an extra bag of Fritos and hiding it from family members because "there may be a Frito Bandito in your house..."

Pressure from advocacy groups such as the National Mexican-American Anti-Defamation Committee forced Frito Lay to retire the Bandito in 1971. All traces of this character have been erased from Frito Lay company records.

Racial stereotypes aside, I must admit I find the Frito Bandito kinda cute in a Speedy Gonzales sort of way... Others must share my opinion because Frito Bandito T-shirts and paraphernalia can be purchased here.

images: toonopedia.com

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!! That sure would not fly these days. It was quite offensive. I also remember ads with him singing a little jingle, equally as offensive.


7:49 am  
Blogger Jason Stockl said...

Like the South of the Border amusement park?

9:47 am  
Blogger mod*mom said...

that's a good one. i remember singing iam the frito bandito when i was a kid. there must be another commerical.

6:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am looking for one with him singing the jingle. I sure remember it fondly from when I was a kid. Of course, no one thought about political correctness then.

11:16 am  

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