Skip Navigation

Which one? Oscar F. Mayer, Oscar G. Mayer, Oscar G. Mayer Jr., or Little Oscar? This last Oscar is the only alumnus, but he’s not a Mayer. He’s Meinhardt Raabe 1937, a longtime spokesman for Oscar Mayer and the Munchkin who declared the Wicked Witch dead in the Oscar-winning film, The Wizard of Oz. Oscar G. Mayer and Oscar G. Mayer Jr. did receive honorary degrees from the UW in 1951 and 1977, respectively. The company had a presence in Madison for nearly a century, beginning with the purchase of a processing plant in 1919. Headquartered in Madison between 1957 and 2016, Oscar Mayer relished its proximity to world-class meat science and engineering experts on campus. Long after Raabe’s Little Oscar had retired, UW engineering students created a completely unrelated — frankly, we couldn’t find a link — “Little Oscar” robot as part of the 1987 Engineering EXPO. This doll-faced wiener waiter cooks and serves hot dogs with a side of horror. Shout-out to Jim Thorstad ’87, one of Little Oscar’s creators, for directing us to this video of the Wienertron in action. There’s also a better-known Oscar Mayer machine that you might see speeding down the freeway. The company’s iconic fleet of Wienermobiles, still based in Madison, underwent a rebrand in May 2023. The vehicles are now called Frankmobiles, and their drivers, formerly known as Hotdoggers, are Frankfurters. Even though none of the Oscar Mayers officially attended the UW, there are many Badgers who have proudly borne the Frankfurter title. If you’re worried about what other changes Oscar Mayer might make, rest assured that the Wisconsin Historical Society safeguards a 1969 Wienermobile as well as the banjo-ukulele used to record the original Oscar Mayer wiener jingle. Such artifacts will never be allowed to meat their end.

More From Ask Flamingle HQ