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SpaghettiOs Inventor Dies at 83: Round Is Funny

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Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Donald Goerke, 83, the man responsible for Campbell's SpaghettiOs, died last Sunday. His NYT obituary lists the cause of death as heart failure. If you've ever pondered a can of SpaghettiOs and wondered just how exactly that came to be on your kid's list of favorite things to eat, it turns out that Goerke, who was the marketing research director for the Franco-American division of Campbell in the 1960s, came up with the idea of o's when trying to figure out what shape would appeal to kids. And to their parents, who not only liked the idea of spaghetti from a can but spaghetti that didn't come in those other, messier shapes like, well, actual spaghetti. He apparently considered baseballs, cowboys, spacemen and stars before settling on circles. Cue gas station scene from Raising Arizona: "These [balloons] blow up into funny shapes?" "Well no. Unless round is funny."

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