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.
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."