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The Faces of Dr Pepper – David Naughton

October 6, 2014

David NaughtonThe last group to share about their spokesperson from The Faces of Dr Pepper exhibit are Jennifer and Stephanie. They developed their portion of the exhibit on David Naughton, the Pied Pepper. Here is what they have to share.

If you’ve had a chance to visit our newest exhibit, The Faces of Dr Pepper, you know all about David Naughton’s role as spokesperson for the famous “Be a Pepper” campaign. But what do you know about Naughton’s career after Dr Pepper? For example, did you know that Naughton’s last appearance as a Dr Pepper spokesperson was not in 1981, when his contract expired? Let’s take a closer look at David Naughton’s post-Pepper life, including his last Dr Pepper dance number.

Even before David Naughton’s contract with Dr Pepper expired, he had begun exploring other avenues of fame. In 1979, Naughton was cast as the main character of the sitcom Makin’ It, which aired on ABC. Unfortunately, this role did not last long; the show was canceled after just nine episodes. Naughton soon bounced back however, when he transitioned from the small screen to the big screen by landing a role in the 1980 film, Midnight Madness.

Because of the visibility he achieved through the “Be a Pepper” commercials, David Naughton became America’s heartthrob. Peppers everywhere were eager to see more of him and their wish was granted when the horror film An American Werewolf in London was released in August of 1981. This role showcased Naughton’s range as an actor and put him in a light that sharply contrasted the peppiness he had radiated as a Dr Pepper spokesperson.

David NaughtonIn the years after the success of An American Werewolf in London, David Naughton returned to the small screen as a member of another sitcom, My Sister Sam. This show had more success than his initial venture in television. My Sister Sam aired for two seasons from 1986 to 1988, and had a total of 44 episodes. 1988 also marked David Naughton’s first return to his role as a Pepper spokesperson in the Diet Dr Pepper commercials that began airing during that year. In the past 28 years, Naughton has also had guest roles on other popular TV shows like Psych, The Mentalist, and Grey’s Anatomy.

And now we come to the question we asked at the beginning of this post – do you know when David Naughton’s last and most recent appearance as the “Be a Pepper” spokesperson was? If you guessed in January of 2010 at the New York Stock Exchange, you are correct! To kick off Dr Pepper’s year-long celebration of the drink’s 125th anniversary, David Naughton agreed to reprise his role as the singing and dancing Pied Pepper. He and a handful of backup dancers stormed the floor of the NYSE in the form of a surprise flash mob. At the end of the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gone up 23 points, the same number of flavors in Dr Pepper!

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The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15.  For more information, visit us on the web at drpeppermuseum.com. To purchase your own Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

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