Charles Phoenix’s Slide of the Week: Hawaiian Punch, Fullerton, 1962

Hawaiian Punch, Fullerton, 1962

Six seniors have just returned home from a tour of the Hawaiian Punch factory. Each shows off a complimentary can of the fantasy fruit-flavored and colored virgin cocktail. One of them snagged two cans. He is the only one smiling. All but one wears the Hawaiian Punch factory souvenir hat in the normal position with the exception of Miss Floral Print, on the right, who sports her hat side saddle. Did one tourist call the others requesting that only blue, brown or white be worn for the exotic excursion? Color coordinating with friends for a day trip always makes the experience much better and far more memorable!

There is very little that is Hawaiian about Hawaiian Punch. The sweet taste treat sensation is yet one more wonderful creation the world has to thank Southern California for. It was first concocted and manufactured in the fine city of Fullerton in 1934. Originally it was sold as a thick syrup to pour over ice cream until shortly after a creative customer discovered it was even better mixed with water and served as a tutti-fruity something-to-drink on a warn summer day.

Punchy, the “Mr. Product” of Hawaiian Punch, was born in 1962, to star on TV commercials. He was violent and abusive. His long-time catch phrase was “Hey, how about a nice Hawaiian Punch?” which he would follow by attacking someone with his hard fist.

I LOVED Hawaiian Punch as a child and think about it often as an adult. I distinctly recall at about the age of ten discovering that it was even more delicious (and glamorous) when it sparkled after I blended it with 7up.

Several months ago I had the good fortune of being flown to New York first class. Half way through the flight, long after I’d downed nuts served warm, shoe leather salmon and a make-your-own-sundae desert, the ever hovering stewardess asked if I’d like anything else. I said “well what do you suggest?” She replied, I can make you some fruit punch!” Do I look like a person that likes fruit punch?

Here’s to Fullerton, Fruit Punch –Hawaiian or otherwise- and YOU!

Charles Phoenix

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