Musical Surprises

by Graziella Carbone

1987 – The Little Surprises with Little White Miller…in music
From its creation in 1975, Mulino Bianco had been characterized by a precise musical connotation: the jingle written by Franco Godi and in use from 1976 to 1987 in the advertising spots would soon land even into the classroom lessons on recorder flute, thanks to its notoriety. Seeing the enormous success…why not using the “musical theme” in Little Surprises as well?
So, a new paper packaging sachet was created, (yellow paper, of course), with the personalized image of the Little White Miller (PMB) in a “musical” version, showing his tiny figure wearing a gigantic pair of headphones and intent in listening to music.
I remember that the first time I saw this picture I burst into laughter (and I still do today when I see it). Perhaps this is because PMB is so funny, but you can tell he is quite happy, sporting his headphones. Who knows, perhaps he is listening to a nice recording of the voice of his Beautiful Clementine… or perhaps is learning a few new dance moves to invite her to a ball?
The series of musical instruments made of rubber found its way into the Little Surprise, both made of plastic material and as wax pastels. In parallel, the theme of music was introduced in board and challenge games as well. Erasers shaped as music record (with the hit songs recorded by PMB who appears on the cardboard covers), microphones, audio cassettes and tape players, who were all very popular among youths, were created. Booklets devoted to the various musical instruments were printed as well and Locati made erasers shaped like quavers, semiquavers, and G Clefs in numerous colour variations.
Many objects on the theme of music could be found also in the regular yellow plastic sachets and were later inserted into new PMB boxes.
The year 1987 also marked the beginning of a points collection that featured Mulino Bianco (the White Mill) as a protagonist. Thus, the Mill Radio, Mill Alarm Clock, The Mill of Secrets, The Mill of Wonders, The Artist’s Mill, and Archimede’s Mill were created.

1988 – Here come the Brasileros and the fishing boat of PMB!
In 1988, there were fewer varieties of boxes (only 23 subjects), with respect to the previous years, and to those that followed featuring hundreds of different subjects.
In springtime, the Friends of Nature made a comeback. These were shoe strings and through the years were produced in many colours and with different printed phrases. These ones are white with a red line and have a tip. The firm from Veneto that made them also made shoestrings for the most important European shoe companies. The most rare to find are those without the tip and even more rare, the ones made in a 350.000 pieces “only” edition for a special issue of the “Topolino” magazine, all completely red.
But the real exclusive of the year were the Brasileiros, on the wave of the fashion trend that imposed wearing a truly “special” bracelet to all children. This was produced in many colour variants, up to the “Italy ’90” world soccer championship Brasileiros version.
Although, in 1988, on the occasion of the summer campaign, the beautiful fishing boat of PMB was presented as well. It was a real 60×70 centimetres boat, complete with all of the equipment of a true fishing boat and instructions to mount it. It was tied to a prize contest for snacks and was made in 50.000 specimens only, which today are highly sought after by collectors. In parallel, small manuals dedicated to nautical knots, to the language of flags and to the map of the sky and of constellations.