Just Call Me Orville: The Story of Orville Redenbacher

Just Call Me Orville: The Story of Orville Redenbacher (Paperback)

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 Just Call Me Orville: The Story of Orville Redenbacher
Purdue University Press
5.50" x 8.50"

Book Description

Based on extensive interviews and archival research, this book traces the career of Orville Redenbacher, the “popcorn king,” from his agricultural studies at Purdue University to his emergence as an American advertising icon. Born in Brazil, Indiana, in 1907, Orville began his lifelong obsession with the development of new strains of seed at Purdue where he earned a degree in agronomy while also playing in the All-American Marching Band. After experimenting with thousands of varieties, Orville and his business partner Charlie Bowman launched Orville Redenbacher’s gourmet popping corn in 1970. Through a combination of shrewd marketing and a notably superior product, the partners controlled a third of the market for popping corn by 1976, when their “Chester Hybrids” business was sold to Hunt Wesson Foods. Orville Redenbacher continued to prosper as a larger-than-life brand spokesperson and a symbol of wholesomeness and fun until his death in 1995. Based on interviews conducted in the last few years of Orville’s life, this book paints a fascinating picture of a deeply serious agricultural pioneer and marketing genius, whose image can still be found in almost every North American home.

Hear more about this book in an interview broadcast on WBAA, Indiana's oldest radio station, on July 14, 2011.

Book Reviews

The author has written a Hoosier kind of get-to-know him book with personal accounts and family histories. If you knew Redenbacher and the Smith family in Gibson County, you will find this an interesting read.

Gary Blackburn
Princeton Daily Clarion

About the Author(s):

Robert W. Topping was a West Lafayette native born to a Purdue professor. He graduated from Purdue in 1950 and joined the staff in 1962. He held many positions including serving as the director of Purdue University News Service and assistant to the vice president for development, and as an editor of Perspective, a university bimonthly tabloid. He is author of A Century and Beyond: The History of Purdue University and Just Call Me Orville: The Story of Orville Redenbacher.