Culture Pop Bestiary

Eager Beaver

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One in a series of posts dedicated to pop-culture depictions of beavers — as symbolic representations of Americans — from 1904–2003. The series derives its title from Thomas Carlyle’s warning about merely instinctive labor.

From 1934–1963 we see a shift in how the beaver shows up in American pop culture. Although the beaver’s busyness is still depicted as an admirable trait, during this period it’s the beaver’s supposedly eager attitude that we hear most about. It’s not enough merely to beaver away at our given tasks, anymore; we’re now encouraged to have an enthusiastic, cam-do attitude.

In 1959, Cities Service Oil Co. (later: Citgo) began distributing promotional comics and activity books about Eager Beaver and his road-tripping family.

These publications appeared from 1959 through c. 1964. The Beaver who stars in them was the Cities Service mascot:

tikiranch: Eager Beaver Friday

Fun fact: Here’s the Cities Service sign in Boston, near Fenway Park, a location these days famous for its iconic Citgo sign.

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