Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Seriously Ugly Coffee Mug from Dyersville, Iowa

I’m not sure what goes on in Dyersville, Iowa but I sure hope it’s not a factory that specializes in turning out coffee mugs as this is one of the most seriously ugly ones I’ve ever seen. And, trust me, as a purveyor of kitsch I’ve seen a lot of them. If this is truly “Where Dreams Come True”, I hope that at least one Dyersville citizen is dreaming about a new coffee mug design.

The trees are in relief so your fingers bump up and down as they rest on the cup. There’s a layer of nice green ones that are then mysteriously covered over by a layer of brown and dead looking ones. It actually looks like there was a more intricate design underneath but the bowel brown trees apparently appealed more to the artisan.

Okay, I just googled Dyersville and I think the mystery is solved! According to the Chamber of Commerce, Dyersville has a population of 4000 and is known as the Farm Toy Capital of the World.  I would suggest the next run of mugs should feature miniature tractors and the like but that will never happen because of this: “Dyersville is also the home of the Academy Award nominated film, Field of Dreams.” Which explains the over-forestation on the coffee mug. Though I believe that a field consists of a patch of cleared land. Next time I hope someone mows the mugs before they hit the shelves.


Categories: Advertising/ Promotion, Drink, Film, Furniture and Housewares, Kitchen, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Travel souvenir

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8 Comments

  • Sally says:

    Hi Allee! Dig the ugly mug…..! Yep, that one’s particularly grim.

    I think the ‘brown trees’ are actually corn stalks, hence, linking the Field of Dreams movie (about a cornfield, essentially…..) to Dyersville.

    Also, I think the ‘brown trees’/cornstalks DO something when the mug is filled with a hot liquid, like coffee, or hot water for tea. Like, maybe the brown stuff turns green, or maybe it disappears altogether……? I betcha this mug doesn’t go into the microwave very nicely either, so don’t try to heat the tea water that way.

    You can test the mug with just hot water from the tap. Give it a test by filling it with hot tap water and let us know what happens…….!

    Hope your knee is better today. I was glad to hear that you were/are kind of, sort of, up and around a little bit. Kudos to that extra-fine nursing staff that you’ve had buzzing about. Take care of yourself and your knee!

    .Sally

  • Allee says:

    I got so excited when I read your comment thinking that perhaps this ugly mess of a cup actually has some magic powers when hot water is deposited in it. I ran right to my kitchen cupboard to find it but it has disappeared. I’m going on an all out hunt for it and will report back in once I find it. I have some deadlines today so it may spill over into the next couple days but I’m going to see if those cornstalks – and upon closer inspection they are, indeed, cornstalks!- have some purpose other than being ugly. Thanks!

    • Allee says:

      Reporting back in as to whether the dead looking cornstalks on the front of the “Ugly Cup” indeed have any magical powers or not. I’m sad to report that the answer is a resounding NO. I tried hot water and boiling hot water and nothing in that field or forrest responded to any resuscitation efforts. My knees are in far better shape than that cup!

      • Sally says:

        Ahhhh…. bummer….. Someone before you probably DID put the mug in the microwave, and fried all the ‘potion’ in the cornstalks.

        I had a mug many years ago from my ex-husband’s family, who were firefighters. On the mug is a picture of a building in flames, and when the mug is filled with a hot liquid, the flames disappear. Then, as the liquid cools, or as you drink your beverage, the flames slowly return. I still have it around somewhere. I moved about a year and a half ago, and I ran across it then. I will try to locate my mug, and see if it still works, and send photos if it does. I got the mug at LEAST 25 years ago, so, we’re talking ‘old potions.’ Maybe the appear/disappear potion gets old and doesn’t work any more after a while. Maybe your mug DID get ‘nuked,’ (microwaved). Now I’m curious if mine will still work; will make an effort to locate it this weekend!!

        Hope you and your recovering knee are good today!

        .Sally

  • Hattie says:

    This would be perfect for the Tacky Souvenir Swap (http://theartofstayingupallnight.blogspot.com/2011/01/tacky-souvenir-swap.html).

    Items like that make me wish everything was required to have a date printed on there somewhere. I would love to know the context in which someone decided to make it. Was it right after the movie was made? Was it a recent effort to keep the memories?

    Allee – you’re a hero, by the way. I look forward to every one of your posts. Thanks for keeping the dream alive!

  • Rita Conway says:

    They are not “trees”, but corn stalks. When you pour hot water into the mug, the players emerge from the cornfield just like they did in the movie. I’m sure they must have mentioned that when you photographed the mug.

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