By FRANK PHILLIPS
Orville Redenbacher's family is sharing a rare collection with the Popcorn Festival of Clay Clay County.
Redenbacher's daughter, Gail Redenbacher Tuminello, of Valparaiso, Ind., has all the original popcorn commercials starring her father on tape. It may be the only complete collection in the world.
"We just empty tubs full of tapes," she said Friday morning. "There are probably dozens and dozens of commercials."
The only problem is the commercials are on an all-but-extinct format: Sony Betamax tape.
Tuminello agreed to share the commercials with the Popcorn Festival, if the festival would have the tapes copied to DVD, which festival President Evelyn Brown and husband, Glen, were willing to do.
Not even ConAgra Foods Inc., the company that owns the Redenbacher popcorn rights, has a complete set, Evelyn said at Thursday's festival board meeting in Brazil City Hall, even though ConAgra has recently aired some of the old commercials shot before Orville died in 1995.
Following his death, Time magazine called him the Luther Burbank of popcorn.
This year's popcorn festival dates are Sept. 29-Oct. 1. The Browns plan to run the commercials on a TV screen continuously during the festival.
ConAgra may also introduce buttons that are replicas of souvenirs Orville gave away after he became famous.
"When he met someone, he would give them a sticker that said, 'I met Orville,'" Glen said after the meeting.
During the meeting, Evelyn announced ConAgra has indicated an interest in becoming even more involved in the Clay County festival than in the past. The company has granted $10,000 each of the past four years to support the local festival and company representatives plan to attend all three days of the event.
It was announced earlier this month that a producer and camera crew will tape a Food Channel segment in Clay County about Orville, who grew up south of Brazil.
The show is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. June 23.