Welcome to Mugspotters. This is an intimate webspace dedicated to & celebrating the much-maligned world of Trade Mugs which are often given-away, discarded, ill-treated and lucky if they reach the giddy status of 'Emergency Mug' in the domestic arena. We aim to share our love of such artefacts via the world-wide web and carefully selected social media outlets. If you too share our love, we'd appreciate your thoughts and kind comments.
115. Tetra: Bringing People & Fish Together For 50 Years
First things first.
Just who in the world of promotional earthenware thought it was a good idea to print Gold on Dark Blue?
We’re well over 100 mugspots now and I can no longer hide my feelings on this subject. I have to say this is the worst print combo ever! You all know now how much I live for salvaging mugs from rescue centres & charity shops and swear as I picked this specimen up out of a heap of discarded dreck, my first thoughts were not “Yes! That’s another one in the bag for Mugspotters” but rather it was ” Oh no! Gold on Dark Blue! How am I ever gonna get a decent photo of this?”
And so I had mixed emotions over this low-key Sparta. It’s a good thing the subject matter is so rich & ripe for analysis & reaction. I love the way Tetra are coming on like they’re some sort of Gilla Black (Blind Date anyone?..) or an aquatic/human niche variant of Match.com. Bringing People and fish together for 50 years.
In what way exactly?
I can just see the ad now….
Man seeks fish. Has own plaice. Well eeled with grey mullet. Hard of herring but still has an ear for a good tuna. Loves to dance, especially ‘The Conger’. No time wasters. Won’t take carp (sic) from anyone. Seeks similar, but with gills. (Ed – That’s enough!)
This kind of man/fish perversion is nothing new.
Back in the 70’s Stan Lee did it in comic form with “Sub-Mariner” and in the same decade Patrick (webbed-hands) Duffy, hot on the heels of his Dallas heart-throb stint, crawled ashore as the ‘Man From Atlantis’.
And just to address the gender quota, you know mermaids are real anyway. They date back to 1984 when Daryl Hannah was washed up in ‘Splash’. Actually she wasn’t totally washed up until 2008 when she stooped to star in ‘Shark Swarm‘.
But sea-riously, Tetra are still THE name in fish food & accessories for all your Pond, Terraristic & Aquatic needs.
Pity about the mug though.
When spotting this Lincoln in a Blackpool Thrift Shop my mind was catapulted back to the TV ads for this feline feast and recall the said moggie scraping into the can (pretty much the same as us here, gouging the bottom of the proverbial barrel looking for mugs) and eating the food off its paw.
Awww. How cute. However when dredging the web looking for further titbits about this long-forgotten brand, what I found was horrifying to say the least. A number of forums and sites posted that (allegedly) prior to filming the TV ad the production company may or may not have forcibly removed the cats teeth, so it would use it’s paw to extract the tasty morsels of food. However there are other sites with entries referencing Arthur himself which seem oblivious to the Molar Conspiracy Theory and instead suggest he was just talon-ted (ahem) with his paws. Here is a brief biography, courtesy of http://www.pawsonline.info/tv_cat.htm
Between 1966 and 1975 in the UK a cat named Arthur was hired by the pet-food company, Spillers. Arthur’s particular skill was that he could scoop food out of a tin with his paw, leading to his appearance in 309 TV commercials. His career blossomed, with his picture appearing on T-shirts, towels (Trade Mugs Anyone?) and in various other advertising campaigns. Sadly, Arthur died in February 1976, just before his 17th birthday. In January 1987 at the Savoy Hotel in London, Spillers launched Arthur II who was discovered at an animal shelter. Like his predecessor, he too could scoop food from a tin with his paw. He could also place his paw on anything near him upon the command ‘paw’. Arthur retired after nine years to make way for a younger cat, who by coincidence also came from the same animal shelter.
Will we ever know the truth?
The mug itself seems almost second-fiddle when placed against the backdrop of such intrigue. It is however a rather tasty hybrid-Lincoln with a tri-colour illustration of Arthur himself cleaning his infamous paw. Whilst I’m here I may as well start another conspiracy theory: As Arthur was posing for the drawing on the mug, the artist force fed him KFC, citing it was only the Colonels secret blend of 11 herbs and spices which would make him groom himself in such a cute manner. (Allegedly)