By JOSEPH PISANI

  • Toy line introduced in 1952 will no longer be called ‘Mister’
  • Companies have sought ways to appeal to changing attitudes
Mr. Potato Head Photographer: Mario Ruiz/ The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Hasbro Inc., the company that makes the potato-shaped plastic toy, is dropping “mister” from the Mr. Potato Head brand to make the popular toy line gender neutral and appeal to a broader base of consumers: Potato Head. The change will appear on boxes this year.

Toy makers have been updating their classic brands to appeal to kids today. Barbie has shed its blonde image and now comes in multiple skin tones and body shapes. Thomas the Tank Engine added more girl characters. And American Girl is now selling a boy doll.

The series, featuring a plastic potato with removable parts like eyeglasses, a mustache, nose and mouth, will also be more sustainably made, the company said Thursday in a presentation to investors. Last year, Hasbro said the products would be made from “plant-based plastic” and have less plastic packaging.

Mr. Potato Head dolls were first sold in 1952, and have long been a top seller for the Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based toy giant. The line has been altered to keep up with the times before — a pipe was dropped in 1987 over tobacco concerns.

In 1992, the Potato Head backstory was rewritten to embrace a more active lifestyle and lose references to “couch potatoes,” according to Hasbro.

Hasbro said Mr. Potato Head, which has been around for about 70 years, needed a modern makeover.

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