Dog Days: A Year in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

Dave Ihlenfeld. Sterling/Union Square, $14.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-4027-7610-6
In this entertaining memoir, comedy writer Ihlenfeld (Family Guy) tells of the year he spent after college traveling the U.S. and Europe in the iconic Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, the hot dog–shaped bus that still hawks hot dogs and hands out thousands of Weiner Whistles to kids. Ihlenfeld was one of the first group of young "Hotdoggers" hired in the late 1990s to help revive interest in the Wienermobile after it had been dropped as an advertising gimmick in 1977, and the many incidents in his amusing memoir combine elements from Gen-X romances and road movies ("the vehicle is so unbelievably uncomfortable that even sitting shotgun is a chore"). But the best parts of this book are the chapters that offer a fascinating look at the Oscar Mayer company and its innovative marketing techniques, beginning with its sponsorship of polka bands at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. In fact, an entire book could be devoted to the lives of the first two little people to play "Little Oscar," the world's smallest chef featured on the earliest Wienermobile: Meinhardt Rabbe, who later played the Munchkin City coroner in The Wizard of Oz, and George Molchan, whose 2005 funeral procession featured the Wienermobile followed by mourners singing "I Wish I Were an Oscar Mayer Weiner." (July)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 232 pages - 978-1-4027-9803-0
Ebook - 217 pages - 978-1-4027-8966-3
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