6 Obscure Facts About the Noid

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If you watched American TV in the late 1980s, you'll remember the Noid, the crazed anti-pizza terrorist who served as mascot for Domino's Pizza under the banner "Avoid the Noid." Although Domino's eventually dropped the Noid, I've collected six items of Noid Trivia for your nostalgic enjoyment.

(Note: this post was inspired by January's awesome 7 Advertisements Just Barely Disguised as Video Games post!)

1. How the Noid Led to a Hostage Situation

In 1989, Kenneth Lamar Noid interpreted the Domino's ads as a personal assault on his character. Believing he was engaged in an ongoing battle with Domino's head Tom Monaghan, Noid took matters into his own hands, holding up a Domino's outlet in Georgia. Details from Time Magazine:

Kenneth Noid, 22, walked into a Domino's Pizza shop in Chamblee, Ga., with a .357 Magnum revolver and took two employees hostage. When police arrived, he demanded $100,000 in cash, a getaway car and a copy of The Widow's Son, a 1985 novel about secret societies in an 18th century Parisian prison.

All Noid got was the pizza he ordered. After a five-hour siege, the two employees slipped away and Noid gave himself up.

According to Wikipedia, "Noid was charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, extortion and possession of a firearm during a crime. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity."

2. Affordable Fun: the Avoid the Noid Game

In 1989, BlueSky Software developed an Avoid the Noid video game for Commodore 64 and DOS PCs. Billed on the box as "Affordable Fun!" the game sounds...well...affordable at least:

Avoid the Noid GameIn the game, you must deliver a pizza to Doom Industries on the top floor of an apartment building while avoiding the Noid creatures and their traps as you go.

[The protagonist] is armed with a limited amount of Noid Avoiders, which when activated remove all Noids from the screen.

(...)

If not avoided by jumping or rolling, the protagonist is stunned and the Noid will then proceed to destroy the pizza. When all pizzas are gone the game ends.

Read more on Avoid the Noid at Wikipedia.

3. How Yo! Noid Brought Pizza-Smashing to Nintendo

Yo! NoidCapitalizing on The Noid's success, Capcom altered an existing Japanese game for the Nintendo Entertainment System called Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru. The 1991 remake, entitled Yo! Noid, was surprisingly detailed and difficult -- probably because it was originally intended to be an entirely different game and the pizza content was tacked on.

According to Wikipedia, the game featured the Noid "traipsing through fourteen different side-scrolling levels throughout various locations of New York City to battle his evil duplicate, Mr. Green, for the public good, and for the massive pizza reward."

Yo! Noid has a surprising fan following on the web. Check out, for example, the Yo Noid! Shrine and an online version of the game.

4. The Noid's Non-Advertising Appearances in TV & Film

Aside from his advertising gig, the Noid has appeared in episodes of The Simpsons and Family Guy. He's also briefly visible in Michael Jackson's Moonwalker. (Fortunately Jackson manages to Avoid him.)

5. The Noid & The California Raisins: Separated at Birth?

California Raisins GameThe Noid was brought to life with claymation, the creation of Will Vinton, the same man who brought us 80s icons like The California Raisins (official spokesraisins for the California Raisin Advisory Board) and The Adventures of Mark Twain.

These days Vinton is still producing commercials, including the computer-animated M&M character ads.

6. The Noid Used Voice Talent from Masters of the Universe

Pons MaarPons Maar lent his voice to the Noid, summoning bursts of crazed laughter and bubbly warbling which made the character genuinely weird. Aside from his Noid gig, Maar is perhaps best known as the lead Wheeler in the movie Return to Oz. He also voiced various (somewhat obscure) cartoon roles over the years -- the one I remember best is the hissing Saurod from Masters of the Universe. Maar also did puppet work on major productions like Team America: World Police, Monkeybone, and TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

A Sample Noid Commercial

Here's an example of the Noid in action:

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June 3, 2008 - 9:34am
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