Get Pumped for Hot Dog Season With This '60s Ad Starring a Mustard Clown

Caitlin Schneider /

It’s hard to say when public opinion regarding clowns shifted, but the past was undeniably friendlier to the white-faced bearers of merriment and mirth (and, for some, nightmares).

In this 1961 commercial from French’s, a jovial clown serves a little girl a mustard-topped hot dog at The French’s Circus (“The Liveliest Show On Earth”), and a little boy chows down on some freshly barbecued chicken smothered in French’s BBQ sauce. “It’s a spicy national habit,” the narrator tells us. “For paddling dogs or sparking the most tempting, tantalizing meal on a bun, from ham on rye to sky-high club.”

The commercial is a delightful bit of summertime nostalgia and a good source of visual pre-gaming ahead of the 4th of July weekend, when Americans consume about 150 million hot dogs each year.