By: Joshua Glenn
April 10, 2022

This post is a spinoff from an installment (on the subject of 20th-century pop-culture frogs) that I contributed to the BESTIARY series, here at HILOBROW, earlier this year. That post featured some epic footnotes, which I suspect no one read; below, please find one of them.


The frog’s bulging hemispheric eyes, not to mention its association with ancient Egypt — and with the occult in general (e.g., “eye of newt and toe of frog”) — seem to suggest a hypnotic power, an ability to bend the human will to its own purposes.

Green Frog Cigars ad c. 1907

The original Hypno Toad?

1908 postcard

Not totally sure what’s going on here, but this frog seems hypnotic. It’s certainly issuing a command.

1939 poster

Undated midcentury comic book panel that I recently came across.

Rainforest Cafe Tree Frog Mug Collectors Coffee Cup c. 1994

Surely Cha! Cha!, the red-eyed tree frog is commanding us to obey.

1999 Game Boy ad

Game Boy makes this stuff very explicit.


The villainous Hypnotoad first appeared in “The Day the Earth Stood Stupid,” a 2001 episode of Futurama.

Hypnotoad has since become a meme, leading to this sort of thing: