Orville Redenbacher (1907-1995) was born in Brazil and studied agronomy and genetics at Purdue University, where he conducted research on popcorn hybrids.
Redenbacher relay did spend forty years of his life creating 30,000 strains of popcorn, working alongside his friend, Bowman in the fields and labs of Valparaiso, Indiana.
Bowman and Redenbacher breakthrough came in 1965, with a new breed the partners called Red Bow 65 – ‘Red’ for Redenbacher, ‘Bow’ for Bowman and 65 for the year.
The popcorn processors wouldn’t buy it insisting consumers wouldn’t pay the higher price demanded by red Bow 65.
Bowman and Redenbacher consulted a Chicago public relations firm that convinced them to change the name form Red Bow to Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popping Corn.
Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popping Corn took off nationally in the early 1970s. Redenbacher put his smiling bumpkin face in a label and marketed his gourmet kernels from the back of a car, became such a phenomenon that customers never knew of the ‘Bow’ in Red Bow.
The men sold their business in 1976. It was sold to Hunt-Wesson which launched a massive advertising campaign, starring Redenbacher himself, for their newly acquired product. Later it was acquired by ConAgra Foods in 1990.
In 2005 Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popping Corn marked the 40th anniversary, still the no. 1 selling brand in the United States.
To celebrate the man behind the popping corn, ConAgra developed a special website that highlighted some of the classic Orville Redenbacher television commercials.
Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popping Corn