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He can bake his own birthday cake: Pillsbury Doughboy turning 50

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With five decades under his chef's hat, the Pillsbury Doughboy has had quite a shelf life – and he's still not stale.

The mascot for the the dough, bread and cake mix brand – owned by Twin Cities-based General Mills – is celebrating its 50th birthday this weekend, according to the company's blog.

The beloved doughboy came into existence on Nov. 7, 1965, though it was the head of a Chicago ad man – not an airtight canister – that he popped out of.

However, the "popping" out of a refrigerated Pillsbury can was pretty much what Rudy Perz, who died at the age of 89 earlier this year, imagined when he first came up with the little potbellied giggler.

Inspiration struck while he was working as a copywriter for renowned ad agency Leo Burnet, which handled advertising for the Minneapolis-based Pillsbury at the time before General Mills bought the flour company.

Perz was credited with raising the company's profile dramatically with the invention of his character – in fact, Pillsbury’s brand recognition soared to 87 percent just a few years after the Doughboy’s first ad hit the airwaves in 1965.

And when he died in April, Pillsbury President Liz Nordie praised him for creating “one of America’s most loved and adored characters.”

But let's not butter the little guy up too much; he can speak for himself. Have a look at one of the first "Doughboy" commercials from 1965:

He doesn't look much different, but the trademark "giggle" would come along later.

In honor of the anniversary, Taste of General Mills has devoted their podcast to Perz and the process that brought the Pillsbury Doughboy into the world.

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