Saturday, September 9, 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.


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