If you've lived in the Orlando area even a little while, you have surely heard Doc's name; it's on everything from a high school to the CineDome at the Orlando Science Center.
But you may not have known that in the years before World War II, it was Doc Phillips who made Florida synonymous with orange juice, the "liquid sunshine" most Americans take for granted as a boost to good health.
Philip Phillips was Orlando's own citrus baron. At one time, his enterprises grew and sold a hundred million oranges a year, more than any other citrus business in the world.
And in the days before refrigeration was common, he made great strides toward solving an image problem that had bedeviled the citrus industry. Orange juice may have been good for you, but it didn't taste very good in a can.
"Always a careful planner and an excellent judge of men," according to Orlando agricultural historian Henry Swanson, Phillips put together a team about 1929 to build a market for canned juice.
Phillips bought a large building at Princeton Street, beside the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad tracks, and converted it into a processing plant.
Between 1929 and 1931, his team members ran countless experiments, often setting out batches of fruit and juice on the roof to see how they responded to outdoor exposure.
Eventually Phillips' team came up with a "flash" pasteurization process that greatly improved the taste and appeal of single-strength orange juice, and Phillips followed up with a five-state marketing blitz.
The frozen-concentrate orange juice revolution was still years away, but Dr. Phillips' processing breakthroughs in the early '30s "helped establish the confidence in citrus juice products that later paved the way" toward public acceptance of such products as concentrate and packaged, chilled juice, Swanson writes.
As good an innovator as he was, Dr. Phillips might have been an even better salesman.
Marketing, in fact, was one of his specialties. In oral-history interviews, Phillips' son Howard remembered that during the mid-1920s -- a tough period for marketing Florida citrus -- his father sent him to Ohio, Indiana and Illinois with trainloads of fruit in tow.
The idea was to open up new markets in areas dominated by California interests. Howard put aside his literature degree from Harvard and donned his salesman's cloak.
"There were many farmers who had never seen a Florida grapefruit, and I would cut it open and let them try it. . . . I sold literally hundreds of cars of fruit right at the railroad siding," he remembered.
And it's good for you, too
Philip Phillips' marketing savvy led to labels on his juice cans that read: "Drink Dr. Phillips' orange juice because the Doc says it's good for you."
Phillips was not very open about the source of his medical title, though. According to one story, the French government gave him an honorary degree for letting the Red Cross use a chateau he owned as a field hospital during World War I.
Research by Dr. Phillips Inc. officials suggests that he went to medical school in New York and briefly practiced in Tennessee. Apparently, he never practiced medicine in Florida.
But everyone called him "Doc," and research by Massachusetts State College at Amherst on vitamin C potency of canned citrus products led the American Medical Association's Council on Foods in the early '30s to issue its seal of acceptance on all of Dr. Phillips' canned products.
After that, all of Dr. Phillips' canned product labels bore the seal "Accepted American Medical Ass'n Committee on Foods."
The imprimatur helped seal in the public mind the association of processed citrus products with good health.
For all his successes, Phillips was a man of varied interests and surprises. He apparently loved to gamble at horse tracks, invented a juice drink called Thirs-Tamer, and even tried growing grapes, in hopes of making them an important cash crop in Central Florida.
He struggled mightily to play "Turkey in the Straw" on his small collection of priceless violins and, with his wife, Della, entertained guests for concerts at their grand home on Lake Lucerne.
Now, arts-center planners hope, generations of music lovers will benefit from his genius at innovation, his business savvy and his love of music.
Let's raise our morning glass of orange juice to the good Doc P.
Colony in the spotlight: On Wednesday at 2:30 p.m., Rollins professors Julian Chambliss and Denise Cummings will talk about their Winter Park Historical Museum exhibit on the Colony, the city's lost movie palace. It's at the Woman's Club of Winter Park, 419 S. Interlachen Ave.
Focus on black history: Ben Brotemarkle, author of Crossing Division Street: An Oral History of the African American Community in Orlando, will speak Thursday at 7 p.m. at Florida Institute of Technology's Denius Student Center, and Saturday at the Orlando Public Library at 10 a.m.
Illustration:PHOTO: SEAL OF APPROVAL-In the 1930s, the American Medical Association's Council on Foods issued its seal of acceptance on all of Dr. Phillips' canned products.The imprimatur enhanced the American public's association of processed citrus products with good health.PHOTO: Built in 1893, the grand Victorian house on Lake Lucerne became the home of the Dr. P. Phillips family in 1911. It's now part of the Courtyard at Lake Lucerne inn.JOE BURBANK/ORLANDO SENTINEL FILEPHOTO: Howard Phillips (center) carried on the work and philanthropies begun by his father, Philip Phillips (seated), in 1956. The man at left is not identified.FLORIDA PHOTOGRAPHIC COLLECTIONPHOTO: A postcard view of a packinghouse and grove at Sand Lake shows part of the Phillips empire. The post office address was 'Doctor Phillips, Fla.'ORLANDO SENTINEL FILE.BOX:PHILLIPS AND FAMILYBorn in 1874 in Tennessee to French immigrants, Philip Phillips comes to Florida to make his fortune in 1894 but leaves after the 1894-95 freeze.
Phillips returns and settles in Orlando in 1905, with his wife, Della Wolf Phillips, a product of the best New Orleans finishing schools, and their two young sons, Howard and Walter. By 1910, the family prospers and moves to their grand home on Lake Lucerne.
According to a history of Orlando's Jewish community, "Doc" Phillips is Jewish but remains guarded about his heritage. The source of his title is mysterious, too.
In 1929, Phillips aims to eliminate the cooked, metallic taste in canned orange juice; by 1931, the Phillips cannery is able to produce 24,000 cans of juice every day.
By the 1930s, Phillips creates an empire of 5,000 acres of groves across 9 counties and becomes the largest citrus grower in the world.
In 1939, during a severe drought, Phillips brings Mississippi rainmaker Lillie Stoate to his Sand Lake property. "Rainmaker's Charms Work in Orlando," a headline proclaims.
In the late 1940s, Walter Phillips becomes estranged from his family and becomes a successful citrus consultant.
In 1954, in a deal heralded as the largest single grove transaction in Florida's history, Dr. Phillips Inc. sells the bulk of its citrus holdings, estimated at more than $50 million, to the parent company of Minute Maid Inc. Howard Phillips takes the reins of the family's business interests and philanthropy.
Dr. Phillips dies in 1959 in Hot Springs, Ark. Della Phillips dies in 1968.
In 1979, Howard Phillips is killed in San Francisco by a drifter who is later sentenced to life in prison. Howard Phillips' home on Lake Formosa now houses the Mennello Museum of American Art.
In 1991, Walter Phillips, the last of the Phillips family, dies at age 86.