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December 31, 2015 - 7:36pm

Jell-O Museum's focus is history, not Cosby

posted by Raymond Coniglio in Le Roy, Jell-O Museum, tourism.

Bill Cosby was the public face of Jell-O for many years.

And while his ties to Le Roy’s Jell-O Museum were never strong, they're almost nonexistent now.

Cosby visited the museum for about an hour in 2004, to help open an exhibit commemorating his 30 years as Jell-O’s spokesman. To mark the occasion, a pair of commemorative bricks were added to the “Jell-O Brick Road” that leads pedestrians from Main Street to the museum.

Last year, when sexual-assault allegations against the comedian were brought to wide public attention, the bricks were discreetly removed and placed in storage.

“We just thought it was inappropriate (to keep them there),” said Lynne Belluscio, the museum director. “We also worried a little about vandalism.”

At the time, Belluscio also worried the museum would get some unwelcome media attention.

That never happened.

And it didn’t happen on Wednesday, when a felony charge was filed against Cosby in Pennsylvania.

“We kind of braced ourselves, and we got nothing,” Belluscio said Thursday. 

“I was expecting a lot more,” she added. “In fact, I came in this morning to see if there was anything in the e-mail — and we got nothing.”

A collection of Jell-O TV commercials featuring Cosby used to be part of the museum exhibit, but isn’t anymore. Cosby’s photograph is included with advertising displays — along with other famous Jell-O spokesmen, including Jack Benny.

So when Belluscio is asked about Cosby, she points out that he’s not the reason for the museum.

“Our kind of pat answer is, we don’t have an affiliation with the Jell-O company and that we really focus on the history of Jell-O in Le Roy,” Belluscio said. 

That history begins in 1897— when Pearle Wait invented the gelatin dessert  — and ends with General Foods’ 1964 decision to close its Le Roy factory and move Jell-O production to Delaware.

The Jell-O Museum draws more than 10,000 visitors a year. That number reflects the enduring popularity of the dessert — not Cosby.

Even in 2004, Belluscio said, his role as pitchman was already “old hat.”

“Which to me, is indicative that the brand has moved beyond him — and had, for a long time,” she said. “In today’s advertising market, that’s the way it is.”

George Richardson
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Joined: Jun 6 2012 - 9:18pm

If I were to live to the age of 78 and suddenly all of my prior life indiscretions surfaced I would simply say I don't know, I don't remember, I have no knowledge and even if the evidence says I am guilty, deep in my heart I don't believe I am guilty. It worked for Ronald Reagan.

Kyle Couchman
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But RR also had Altzheimers..... so he was telling the truth.

Ed Hartgrove
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Joined: Dec 20 2012 - 11:54am

I saw a stand-up comedian once. He was in his mid-70's when he first got into comedy.
A talk-show host asked him what it was like, starting out on a new career at such an age.
The guy said, "Oh, it isn't too bad. There's good and bad parts of most things you do. Take me, for instance. Nowadays, the kids comeover for holidays. Course, they ain't "kids" anymore. They're in their 40's & 50's, but, they're MY kids. Anyways, like for Christmas, they'll bring me some presents and stuff. And, I open each one and say, ""Oh, thank you. It's beautiful", and, "Thank you. This is just what I need." You know, stuff like that.""

"Then, after I open all my presents, the "kids" look around, and say, "So, where's our presents?""

"And I stare right into their eyes, and say, "Who are you?""

Now, THAT'S FUNNY!!

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