Such grave matters!
This week, we celebrate the anniversary of the death of Duncan Hines (1880-1959).
Final resting place: Fairview Cemetery in Bowling Green, Kentucky
Duncan Hines had the recipe for success.
The Bowling Green, Kentucky native was born in 1880, and made his living as a traveling salesman for a Chicago printer. In 1935, he had logged in many miles and had eaten lots of bad meals.
And that’s when the light bulb went on.
Knowing that, like himself, trabeling salesman want a good meal while away from home, Hines and his wife Florence complied a list of 167 good places and sleep, in 30 states and Washington, D.C., and sent the list with his Christmas cards. Hines added this Yuletide message: “I am passing this information on to you, hoping that it may yield enjoyment and delectation, should you find yourself in the vicinity of one of these ‘harbors of refreshment’ as you travel hither and yon.”
His family friends ate up the list—remember his standard‘s were high during this time of non-existant sanity and health codes—so Hines self-published his picks (and then some) in the best-selling paperback, Adventures in Good Eating. (Five other books and a nationally syndicated newspaper column would follow; think of them as desserts.)
But the real financial feast came in the form of the Duncan Hines brand of food.
In 1948, Hines and fellow businessman Roy Park formed Hines-Park Foods and began producing more than 250 canned, bottled and boxed products to the Great American Lazy Housewife.
Several years later, Hines-Park Foods merged with Procter & Gamble; within a few months the first Duncan Hines cake mixes hit store shelves.
And the rest, as they say, is culinary history.
The Duncan Hines brand was sold, in 1957, to Procter & Gamble. So famous was Hines was this point that that year he appeared as th mystery guest on To Tell The Truth.
Duncan Hines died of lung cancer on March 15, 1959. It was a mere 11 days before hids borthday, and we assume his family was going to make a few batches of Dunan Hines cakes.
Hines hungry? Feast on the Duncan Hines Festival held in Bowling Green every August since 1996; simply follow the signs along the 82-mile portion of U.S. Route 31W that has been officially renamed the Duncan Hines Highway.
More about dead celebs! My book, MORBID CURIOSITY: The Disturbing Demises of the Famous and Infamous, has gotten rave reviews. from celebs not dead . . . yet.
“Alan has written a very funny, very clever book—it’s shocking and sinful, and I couldn’t put it down. He leaves no gravestone unturned, nothing buried. Morbid Curiosity is part Six Feet Under, part Mad magazine. It’ll make a killing!” — Joan Rivers
“Even celebrities die, and they do so in far more grand-scale ways than mere mortals. Now that they’ve met their maker, they’ve also found their chronicler, Alan W. Petrucelli. He unearths the demises of the rich and infamous—from Valentino to Heath Ledger and beyond—with detailed research, dishy wit and insight. This book is to die for!” — Michael Musto
“Morbid Curiosity is a cornucopia of Hollywood gossip and tidbits, much more humorous than macabre, delivered from a different point of view than any book I’ve read about celebs. It’s breezy, pithy, informative, odd and, despite its subject matter, certain to amuse.”— Robert Osborne, host of Turner Classic Movies