Culture The Wolery

Mr. Know It Owl

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One in a series of posts dedicated to pop-culture depictions of owls — as stand-ins for educated, highbrow humans — from 1924–1983. The series derives its title from Owl’s home in A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories.

Mr. Know It Owl appeared in a long-running commercial that first aired in either 1969 or 1970.

“How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?” demands a child of several animals (a cow, a fox, a turtle) ventriloquized by well-known voiceover actors of the day. Instructed to direct his enquiry to “the wisest of us all,” the child finds his Tootsie Pop appropriated and eaten by Mr. Owl, whose glasses and mortarboard make him appear a harmless pedant… when in fact he is a trickster, a con artist.

“If there’s one thing I can’t stand,” the dejected child says at the end of this fractured fable, “it’s a smart aleck.”

PS: Directed by Jimmy T. Murakami, known for his far-out work on Breath (1967), Heavy Metal (1981) and When the Wind Blows (1986).

Tags: Owls