Green Giant is a food company owned by General Mills. It is symbolized by two mascots — the Jolly Green Giant played by Tom Davis and his friend little Sprout. The company is the largest purveyor of frozen vegetables, and also sells canned vegetables both under the Green Giant and Le Sueur brands.
The company was founded in 1903 in Le Sueur, Minnesota, as the Minnesota Valley Canning Company selling sweet creamed corn. The name Green Giant was introduced in 1925 to help market the company's peas, and in 1950 the company adopted the Green Giant name.
By 1930, Minnesota was the corn center of the world and Minnesota Valley had emerged as one of the country's largest producers of sweet corn. The Green Giant soon had five canneries in Minnesota in addition to the original facility in Le Sueur.
At the end of 1994, Pillsbury/Green Giant sold six canneries to Seneca Foods including the original cannery in Le Sueur, which is now shut down and even the front offices were torn down in 2006.
The Green Giant company says that the Green Giant mascot is green because he grew up on a different planet, ate peas and he turned green and grew.
The original commercial, first aired in 1953, features a small green puppet as the Jolly Green Giant a.k.a stabby or tom davis (though the commercial itself was in black-and-white) stalking through what appears to be the Valley. He stops outside a small farm and holding out his hands, in which two Green Giant canned products are seen spinning into view: in his left hand, a can of his famous Niblets, and in his right, a can of peas. He then holds them out as the camera slowly backs out.
A variation of this commercial features a scene that takes place in a family setting. In this, the mother character in the commercial implies that if one eats Green Giant products, one will become a Green Giant. The young boys featuring in the advert, however, are not scared by this, but seem rather excited. We can see this as they continue to devour their Green Giant sweetcorn somewhat more quickly.
The commercial was deemed too scary for younger viewers and was quickly pulled off the air. It also featured a somewhat scary jingle, sung by a group of singers with tenors providing "Fo fum fi fe" as the backing rhythm. Here are the lyrics:
It was found that when the Green Giant walked, he looked more menacing and scary. As a result, the second commercial, aired in 1960 for Green Giant brand "kitchen-sliced" green beans, featured athlete Keith R. Wegeman standing over the valley, while Keebler-like elves work tirelessly to produce green beans on an assembly line. The first song heard in the commercial is:
After the narrator explained the product (noting that "You can get the Green Giant's French-style beans, too!"), this was the song heard:
Several 1970s commercials used "From the valley of the Jolly (ho, ho, ho) Green Giant!" as the jingle at the end. Starting in the 1980s, the "Ho ho ho, Green Giant!" part has been used.
60 miles further South on U.S. highway 169, in the City of Blue Earth, Mn, a 60 foot statue of the Jolly Green Giant is also open to public view. The 60 foot giant is mounted on a pedestal and has steps so visitors may take a picture standing directly under the Green Giant. Blue Earth is at the end of the Minnesota River Valley and still has a canning plant formerly owned by Green Giant that continues to can corn and peas each summer. The Blue Earth Green Giant statue was erected in 1978 to coincide with the opening of Interstate 90 across Southern Minnesota. At Blue Earth, East met West completing construction of the longest 4 lane road in the United States, Sept. 23, 1978. I-90 runs from Boston to Seattle. Over 10,000 travelers a year stop at the Green Giant site in Blue Earth to have their pictures taken with the big green man.