Hubert the Goober

In the early 1950s, McColl's Fine Foods adopted 'Hubert the Goober' as the mascot for its peanut butter. But by the late 1950s, it had dropped him.

Thanks to Hubert, I just learned that a 'goober' originally meant a peanut before it came to mean a foolish person. Apparently it's a Southern term. Maybe that's the reason Hubert didn't last long as a corporate mascot. McColl's was a Canadian company, and how many people in Canada would have known that a goober was a peanut?

More info: A Legume With Many Names: The Story Of 'Goober'; Historical Information Service

Vancouver Sun - Apr 21, 1951

image source: eBay Canada

     Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 01, 2024
     Category: Corporate Mascots, Icons and Spokesbeings | 1950s

As a kid in the 50´s I knew that a goober was a peanut (but not a foolish person) but then again I was from the South (Southern California)
Posted by F.U.D. in Stockholm on 02/01/24 at 09:20 AM
On the “Andy Griffith Show,” Gomer’s cousin was named Goober.
Posted by Judy on 02/01/24 at 11:16 AM
As a kid in the 1950s, I knew a goober was a peanut. Sort of from the south -- South Dakota.

Google "define: goober" and the first definition is peanut. I don't think I've ever heard it used to mean a fool.

And now I must resist the temptation to find the origin and exact definition of "peanut gallery." I want to know, but there are subliminal "this leads to a rabbit hole" vibes.

Posted by Phideaux on 02/01/24 at 12:20 PM
I'm another Northerner who knew from childhood that a goober is a peanut.
Posted by ges on 02/01/24 at 05:00 PM
President Jimmy Carter was a "goober" farmer. As others have attested, I too knew what a goober was as a child - a peanut.

I wonder if the idea that goober also refers to a dufus had any connection to Goober Pyle...?
Posted by Teri on 02/01/24 at 11:41 PM
McColl's Fine Foods seems to be a Western Canadian company, since it advertised in the Vancouver Sun. Maybe "goober" as a synonym for peanut is not a Southern thing, but a Western thing? Does ges comes from the Western part of the United States?
Posted by Yudith on 02/02/24 at 06:21 AM
Ha! I come from farther south than anyone, then -- that being Miami. Maybe the farthest east person, as well? Anyway, we South Florida folk all know what a goober is and that Jimmy Carter grew 'em.
Posted by Virtual on 02/02/24 at 11:29 AM
To answer Yudith's question, I've lived in the northeast all my life. Random House Unabridged Dictionary says it's from South Midland and Southern U.S. They have maps of the areas they're referring to. They stretch from Maryland and Delaware, through West Virginia, southern Ohio, Indians, Illinois, and Missouri, southeastern Kansas, and the eastern parts of Oklahoma and Texas.
Posted by ges on 02/02/24 at 12:43 PM
Yet another data point: I'm not even from the USA, and I always thought that goober was general USA slang for a peanut, and believed that the meaning of a foolish person was, instead, specifically southern.
Posted by Richard Bos on 02/03/24 at 03:00 PM

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