"We expect the Frugies to do with fresh fruit and vegetables what the California Raisins did for dried fruit."
That's Mort Drucker's fondest hope. The veteran artist of Mad magazine fame says that his latest invention, pronounced "froo-jees" -- a nickname based on the words fruits and veggies -- is something he has wanted to do for more than 10 years.
The brood, dreamed up by Mitchell Erick, a writer now with Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., includes Adam Apple, Auntie Broccoli and Tina Tomato, "whose only uncertainty in life is whether she's a fruit or a vegetable," according to advance notices.
Mr. Drucker's aim in creating 19 cartoonlike caricatures of vegetables and fruit was to help young people learn more about the healthfulness of produce.
"It's good for the growers, of course, but the young people and VTC their parents have so much to learn about health," he said.
Mr. Erick says three-dimensional or animated versions of the characters could arrive "further, much further down the road."
"For now," he adds, "we're awfully happy that United [the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association] has committed to bring the Frugies to print this summer."
Look for Frugies in June, when United launches them as part of a nationwide "Fresh Month" promotion for produce.