Town Spurns ‘Mr. Potato Head’ Gift
August 20, 2001 8:51 am EST
LONDON (Reuters) – A giant “Mr. Potato Head” statue given by a U.S. town to
its twin town in central England had to be removed because local people said
they didn’t like it.
Pawtucket in Rhode Island, where the “Mr. Potato Head” character featured in
the “Toy Story” movies was invented, sent the seven-foot-tall plastic effigy
to the town of Belper where it was put up outside the local McDonald’s.
But townsfolk launched a campaign demanding that tourism officer Reg
Whitworth get rid of it.
“We started getting letters saying ‘Why has this horrible thing appeared
stuck in the middle of town? We don’t want it here’,” Wayne Bontoft of local
newspaper the Belper News told Reuters on Monday.
The $8,700 statue, based on the simple toy which involves sticking plastic
arms, feet and facial parts into a potato, has now been banished to a
children’s playground and will later be put in a nearby “Wild West” theme
Bob Billington, head of tourism in Pawtucket, which twinned with Belper in
1993, said the reaction had upset people in the New England town.
“Potato Heads here in Rhode Island attract quite a lot of positive
attention. We thought it was a nice gesture,” he told Britain’s Sun