The Truth About Cheetos' Original Mascot

Chester Cheetah is one cool cat, and he seems like the perfect spokescreature for the cheesiest of snack foods. Born in 1986, Chester is an older millennial who, while he may have missed out on hosting his own TV series (Lost Media Wiki reveals that plans for Yo! It's the Chester Cheetah Show got scrapped due to unhappy TV activists), did get to star in two '90s video games (via Moby Games) and after 35-plus, years is still very much the face of the product.

While Chester may be, as he reminded Doritos in this YouTube diss track, the "Flamin' Hot OG," he is actually not the first mascot for these neon-orange corn snacks. His predecessor, whom the Waffle Whiffer blog claims dates back to 1967, was a different sort of creature altogether from today's suave, super-fast kitty. In fact, the first face of the product then known as Chee-tos was actually a tiny little mouse.

The story of the Chee-tos Mouse

The Chee-tos Mouse, unlike Chester, never had a first name, at least not one that we ever learned. Advertising Week 360 relates that he was designed by Paul Coker, Jr., an illustrator who started off designing Hallmark cards, and later worked as a cartoonist for Playboy and Mad Magazine, as well as working as an animator for Rankin/Bass (via Lambiek Comiclopedia). This anony-mouse's tenure was not a long one, as he disappeared along with the decade as the '70s came to a close. His short time as pitchman for "the cheese that goes crunch" was nevertheless filled with action, adventure, and travel throughout time and space.

In one commercial, the mouse rode through ancient Rome in a chariot as "Julius Cheeser," and in another, he rivaled Snoopy as a WWI flying ace who "fly through the air with the greatest of cheese." He even landed on the moon and discovered it wasn't made of cheese, but he was cool with that since he'd packed his favorite cheesy snacks for the trip. He also got in touch with his bad biker self as "Cheesy Rider," hitting the road with Chee-tos both baked and fried (Flamin' Hot and other flavors were well before his time). It seems their cheesy goodness afforded the Chee-tos Mouse a much happier ending than that of the Easy Rider movie he was parodying. While he's long gone, he hasn't been entirely forgotten. His collectibles, at least, live on. selling for big(gish) bucks on eBay.