There are a handful of automobiles that can be recognized immediately and are beloved by pop-culture fans everywhere. There's the
Batmobile, of course; the Duke boys' General Lee; Supercar; and then there's the one shaped like a hot dog.
The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was first built in 1936 by Carl Mayer (Oscar's nephew, dontcha know). Its purpose was to visit stores and
promote the company's products, of course, but as time passed it also became more of a general public-relations item, showing up in parades
and visiting schools, charities, and children's hospitals. The Wienermobile was traditionally driven by Little Oscar, the company's
mascot; these days there are two drivers ('hotdoggers') for each vehicle - the company has six, all of which are on the road every year
logging thousands of miles. Modern-day hotdoggers are recent college graduates and are picked from an application pool of more than
a thousand starry-eyed hopefuls. (I have no info on what their salaries might be, nor whether they get all the free hotdogs they want.)
- The current model is over 27 feet long, weighs 7 tons, and sports a GPS navigation system.
- The hotdoggers traditionally give out whistles shaped like the Wienermobile; the first was distributed in 1951.
- An early-50's version of the Wienermobile sits in the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan.
- The hotdoggers receive job training at 'Hot Dog High' in Madison, Wisconsin.