Let me begin by saying that I am not the first person to address the concept of these two famous food mascots battling it out. Back in September of 2003, unbeknownst to me, it was briefly entertained at the Wonderful World Of Longmire. You can find those comments here:
I am also not the ONLY person to wonder about who would be victorious in “hand to hand” combat. I submit to you another example below:
I would like to note proudly that while this second discussion was taking place in 2006, I was already working hard to take this competition from the theoretical world to reality. I began my efforts in January of 2005, by writing to one of my favorite restaurants, Arby’s – Home of Oven Mitt.
I worked hard to show my appreciation for their food, and their current advertising schemes.
Then, to be fair to both sides, I contacted the wonderful folks at Betty Crocker, home of Hamburger Helper and the adorable Helping Hand. (It has been remarked that his propensity to pop of in the back seat of a car unexpectedly is less than adorable to the frightened out of their wits passengers.)
Okay, I have to confess to being a little coy, here. I wasn’t exactly forthcoming, and tell Betty exactly why I was contacting her about Helping Hand. But really, I didn’t to be banned from consuming delicious cakes and frosting, etc. At any rate, it was Arby’s who was first to respond… kind of…
Well, okay. I got a tracking number. I was confident that all my questions were being routed to the correct personnel to answer them completely. I patiently waited. And waited. Years went by. Eons. Well, years. So, I though, hey, let’s stir the pot a little more. What would happen if I asked Betty Crocker again, only this time, be less subtle about my intentions? Maybe the Answer Person is different now, who can know? So I wrote to Betty once again. After all, it takes two to rumble!
This time, word came back quickly!
It didn’t look very promising, I have to admit. There wasn’t a feedback number. And what about that ominous warning: DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MAILBOX. They even repeated it later on! What danger was I in? I didn’t dare reply, that’s for sure. I even avoided the Betty Crocker aisle at the grocery store, just to be safe. But then, my fears were put to rest. I got a reply, or rather, a corporate response:
Hmm, I’m learning a lot about the Helping Hand, and quite a bit about Hamburger Helper and great tasting meals. However, they haven’t answer me about the red nose, his height, his age, exercise regimen, or interest in a bout with Oven Mitt. But wait, there is a second page…
Ok, no offense, but while this information was very enlightening, even educational, and in fact induced me to go out and buy several boxes of Beef Noodle, Chicken Helper, and Hamburger Helper, I didn’t feel like I was any closer to making the Helping Hand VS. Oven Mitt bout a reality. I was also a little disappointed that I didn’t get an autographed poster of Oven Mitt, or of Betty Crocker. Not even any 8×10 glossies. At this point, all I could think of was to try Arby’s again. Maybe once I got them interested, we could have some trash talk going and get the other side motivated.
You might notice that I implied that Helping Hand was already on board with the idea. That could have been the fatal flaw. The two could be good friends; perhaps they contacted each other to expose my deception. I felt, however, that I was quite complimentary, understanding of the situation, and confident that the event would in time be embraced and lead to even greater things.
I hate to disappoint, but it was simply NOT TO BE.
Again, no response. No autographed picture. No Jamocha shake. In fairness, they may have tried to mail me the shake. I can see where it might have melted a hole into the soggy box and left a sticky mess in a postal depot somewhere. Just what we want is more stress on those workers.
At this point, I leave it up to my readers. Who WOULD win the battle? Helping Hand would seem to have an advantage, as he can most likely make a fist and hand out some knuckle sandwiches. On the other hand (pun intended), I am sure that Oven Mitt has experience handing out some sandwiches of his own, and a slap in that red nose of Helping Hand could in all probability do some damage, or at least make his eyes water.
Perhaps the lesson is this: Mascots shouldn’t fight. Let the competing corporations mock each others products, but leave the mascots out of it. At the end of the day, they should all remain friends. Or, maybe Oven Mitt is retired. Wonder where mascots go when they retire? Me too. I just don’t have the answers this time.
NEXT TIME: Gary Applegary researches whatever became of Gary Gnu, the beloved newscaster of yesteryear featured on The Great Space Coaster.
So long for now.
P.S. In January 2011, I received more information about Oven Mitt, as seen below:
Thank you again for your recent email regarding Oven Mitt.
Oven Mitt, a once big-time commercial star for a span of Arby’s commercials was brought into concept in March, 2003. He starred in many commercials, and was even lucky enough to be voiced by the famous Tom Arnold. Sadly, Oven Mitt retired in March 2005, when a new campaign titled “I’m Thinking Arby’s” began running to promote the Arby’s Brand.
During the height of his stardom, many Oven Mitt related items were produced by a promotional events company based in Minnesota; however, there is no longer any Oven Mitt paraphernalia in circulation. To our knowledge, there was no friendship ever developed between Oven Mitt and the Hamburger Helper Helping Hand.
We appreciate your fond memories and enthusiasm for the Oven Mitt character and the commercials in which he starred. Thank you again for being such zealous Arby’s fan!
J.M. Coordinator, Customer Relations
Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc.
1155 Perimeter Center West
Atlanta, GA 30338
Author’s Note: I shall next try to determine where Oven Mitt has retired to and see if visiting him in person is an option…