Can of Worms
A metaphor for something you should never start: a can of worms. In this case, however, “Worms” was “a cherry blended soda.”
LADCo (the Larry and Duane Company) launched this product in 1974.
Who exactly were Larry and Duane? I’ve spent way too much time recently, trying to answer that question.
Through a forum discussion of the product on inthe70s.com, I learned that they both worked for Pepsi-Cola in Wisconsin.
“Duane” was Duane G. Paulson who worked at Pepsi in New Richmond, WI. Larry worked at Pepsi in the town of Frederic, but Larry’s last name eludes us.
Worms soda was the brainchild of my uncle, Duane then working as a Pepsi distributor in New Richmond WI. He hatched the idea for the name while seeing a young boy fishing while driving his routes. Worms became a regional hit in Northern WI and MN and represented a manifestation of Duane’s unorthodox ways and thinking, always ready to mix things up a bit.
Jon – March 23, 2008
My father, Duane Paulsen, and my mother Verna Paulsen created “Can full of worms” soda in the seventies when I was a small boy.
J Paulsen, May 27, 2012
The franchise was created in 1974 by LADCo (the Larry and Duane Company). Jon’s Uncle Duane and my dad Larry were both working at Pepsi then — Duane in New Richmond and Larry in Frederic. The marketing designs for the cans, the t-shirts, etc was completed at my dad’s kitchen table. The franchise was sold to a group in Oregon in the early ’80’s.
Craig – June 21, 2008
Naming and Design
Craig’s description above suggests that Larry might have designed or supervised the design of the packaging. But who created the illustration of the goofy kid’s face with the red wooden sign? Someone sitting at that kitchen table?
On one side of the can they wrote “I like WORMS” and on the other side they wrote “Best WORMS You Ever Tasted.”
Because of these dual messages on the red signs, there’s some confusion about the brand name.