Thursday, October 22, 2015

Suggestion Unboxed -- All Cereal, All the Time!

Martinex1: I know we have talked food, but has favorite cereal, favorite cereal related memory (toy inside; mail in prize; commercial) been covered?

Doug (now): I don't know if we've specifically covered cereal, but I'll add the following question -- was "kid cereal" a sort of forbidden fruit to you when you were a kid, or were you fully indulged?



Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, the only other cereal post I recall is this 'Who's the Best' one about the monster cereals.

Anyway, like - I assume - many here, I recall watching Saturday morning cartoons while shoveling in the hyper-sweet kids' cereals. And as to Doug's question, I recall we were pretty well-indulged with these, which is a bit surprising now that I think about it, because my parents could often be pretty strict and unaccommodating in other aspects back then.
My favorites changed over time. Initially I liked Lucky Charms and Froot Loops the best, while a little later I liked Frankenberry (and Booberry), and Cap'n Crunch (with crunch berries) was a perennial favorite. I also liked Apple Jacks and Rice Crispies (although I'd dump a ton of sugar on those).
I always liked it when there were toys or prizes in the boxes, but I don't have any specific memories of a favorite from cereal. I have clearer memories of some cool prizes from boxes of Cracker Jacks, and also that cool moon-buggy toy that came with jars of Tang for a while in the early '70s.

Commercials... so many to choose from. I think my favorites were for Super Sugar Crisp, just because the Sugar Bear was so cool.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Redartz said...

"Where to start?" he thinks as he sits typing, while finishing his Pumpkin Spice Mini-Wheats this morning.

Early on, Lucky Charms was my cereal of choice. But once Quaker Oats came out with Quisp and Quake ( an unfortunately short-lived cereal of the 60's), they became my favorites. Possibly due in part to the great commercials: Quisp and Quake were always bickering about whose cereal was better, and the ads were produced by Jay Ward Studios (responsible for Rocky, Bullwinkle and George of the Jungle). Those commercials, and the Ward-produced ads for Cap'n Crunch, remain tops on my list...

Later, like Edo, I went for the monster cereals, and for Crunchberries. My parents were quite accommodating; they usually let us kids pick a cereal during the grocery shopping. The tough part was the 'discussion' between my brother, sister and I about which cereal would go home with us that week.

As for cereal promos and giveaways- one I remember fondly is a cut-out recording of "Jingle Jangle" by the Archies. It came off the back of a box of Honeycombs, if memory serves me. My youthful record collection included several of these cardboard discs, which you had to place a penny on so it had sufficient weight to spin on the turntable. Not high-fidelity I suppose, but it sounded fine on the small portable record player we had in the bedroom!

david_b said...

Lots to add here, but due to my busy schedule today, I liked seeing the 'Kaboom' cereal listed.

Whaaat a name for a breakfast cereal, 'Kaboom'.

It reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes where Calvin's breakfast of choice was always 'Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs'. Cracks me up just typing it.

Redartz, yep my childhood had lots of cereal box-cut records like the Archies, Bobby Sherman and the Monkees. Finally my parents went out and bought me my first Monkees Greatest Hits LP, THAT was a thrill.

RobAnderson said...

I was such a fan of Quisp that when I realized you could get it again on Amazon a number of years back, I ordered several boxes. They didn't last long.

Loved Lucky Charms. I also loved all the monster cereals, though in the end, Count Chocula was my favorite.

Sugared cereal, pop-tarts, and hi-c drinks, with cartoons, were my Saturday morning ritual.

And, on prizes, like Redartz, the one I remember best was the Honeycomb Archie records, which did actually play! (On my Mickey Mouse "in a sorta' briefcase" record player). I clearly remember my grandfather buying me a box of Honeycomb in a store for the "record."

On that same theme, I remember my mom being angry at my grandfather when she discovered something like ten boxes of sugared cereal squirreled away in his cabinet, because he kept buying them for me for whatever prize was inside. I learned from my grandfather how to empty an entire box into a big bowl, snag the prize, and then pour it all back into the box. ;)

Anonymous said...

Where to start indeed.

Redartz, I remember those Quisp v. Quake ads. As I recall, Quisp was more popular and there was a campaign to "Save Quake". There was some sort of way to vote on that but I don't remember what it was.

Edo, good call on Rice Crispies WITH sugar. I'm sure that was good for us.

As for being allowed to indulge, my mom loved TV and I think she thought that anything advertised on TV must be OK. I mean, they wouldn't allow any sort of ads that would be harmful to kids would they? Of course, they still had cigarette ads in those days...


J.A. Morris said...

When I was a kid, the "kid" cereals were a "sometimes" food. Every few months, I'd ask for Frankenberry or Lucky Charms. The rest of the time it was Post raisin bran, corn flakes or oatmeal.

I see Fruit Brute pictured up top, that was a cereal I heard about (saw ads for it on the back of Frankenberry) as a kid but never saw in stores. I guess it was a regional cereal. But it sounded good, I looked for it all the time, a futile quest for Fruit Brute.

Humanbelly said...

Where to start, cubed?


In answer to Doug's question, EVERY SINGLE ONE of my personal circle of pals was of the fully-indulged stripe. Our house? STRICT adherence to only providing the family with those stalwart, healthy, nourishing icons of breakfast flake-hood: Wheaties and Total. Because all of those other cereals had too much sugar and were bad for you and made you fat (which, well yes, is perfectly accurate). But the solution for choking down those awful flakes, year after long year? "Just put some sugar on it." So almost every morning, a bowl of cereal with two or three heaping TABLESPOONS of sugar blanketing the top. And we'd scrape the dregs of the sugar out of the bottom of the bowl and eat that. Again-- for years.

Until. . . KING VITAMIN hit it big in the late 60's/early 70's. And it targeted two of my Mom's most egregious vulnerabilities. 1) Her marketing gullibility ("It has Vitamin in the name, and they couldn't use that if it wasn't good for you"-- I am not kidding you), and 2) Her inability to separate "cheap" from "good" while shopping (it was PERPETUALLY on a huge sale in our region). So we could often end up with a dozen or more boxes of it stashed away in the larder. K.V. (for those not familiar with it) was probably most similar to Captain Crunch, but with- uhm- a heck of a lot more sugar (which is really hard to imagine, right?). We'd eat a big bowl for breakfast, feel vaguely queasy a little while later, and then by 10:30 at school were RAVENOUSLY hungry for lunch because, of course, we'd had nothing but temporary empty calories for breakfast. Sometimes on a Saturday morning I'd have two bowls, and if I stood up too quickly I'd get dizzy and have a mild case of the shakes (again, not hyperbole-- I promise you.). Not surprisingly, after a couple of years of daily intake, we grew impossibly sick of King Vitamin-- ultimately raiding the overstock to have King Vitamin "fights", where we'd run around the house throwing the sticky little nuggets at each other.

Our dog at the time was pretty sure he'd taken the early bus to heaven. . .


Doug said...

OK, I really, really owe Martinex an apology. Sheesh -- like he didn't say "commercial" himself, and then I go add it in my comment. You'd think the guy who sets up the post might actually read it? Truth be told, I did. Yet somehow my skim/scan technique failed me. I simply did not see that he'd already said it.

I am just now guilty of perpetrating something that is a pet peeve of mine. I'm "that guy" who just asked a question about what the speaker had been going on about for the past 10 minutes.

I need a vacation. At least the Cubs' debacle is over.


Doug said...

And I just amended the post, so those coming on after this will be like, "wait, what?"


Humanbelly said...

(Ooh-- sorry about the Cubbies, there, Doug.)


William said...

I was fully indulged in the cereal culture when I was a kid.

My Saturday mornings were spent chowing down on either Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, Captain Crunch (with Crunch Berries), Honey Comb, Boo Berry, and etc. while watching cartoons, like Super Friends, Scooby Doo, Hong Kong Phooey, and Dyno-Mutt, and shows like SHAZAM!, and Land Of The Lost.

Ahhh, those were the days. I don't know what the heck kids do on Saturday morning now.

Doug said...

Thanks, HB. I've back to the Cubs after 12 years of being mad. That 2003 ending was a definite groin-kick and I truly haven't been able to root for them until this year. However, throughout this season they were the most inconsistent 97-game winning team of all time! And I think that caught up with them against a hot Mets team (Osvaldo will be along later to sing their praises, I'm sure). But the future is finally bright -- I gotta wear shades!


Doug said...

Should say "I'm back".

As I said, I need a vacation.


Martinex1 said...

No need to apologize Doug. It seems half my life I am repeating what people have already said, even after reading it twice.

Growing up my family was a cereal loving family. We had seven kids, so we were frugal about most things including using powdered milk and buying generic everything (back in the day where you can get a can of green beans etc with just a white label that said “GREEN BEANS” in black type). But cereal was a treat. My younger brother and I would go grocery shopping with my mom, and the cereal aisle had the same allure of a comic rack for me. All of those colorful boxes, prizes, with seemingly new offerings every week. Vanilla Cap’n Crunch, Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch, Freakies, Apple Jacks, Cocoa Pebbles, Grins Smiles Giggles & Laughs (Yeesh!), Yummy Mummy (The last of the monster cereals), Alphabits. We would pick and choose, looking for the best combo of taste and toy.

When we would get home, we’d all sit around the table immediately and indulge. Our arms would be up to our elbows stretching the box looking for the prize. My mom would be beside herself getting grossed out, “Wash your hands! Wash your hands!” The worst product for prize searching was Super Sugar Crisp; it was so sticky it had to have a special foil liner and the little nuggets would stick to your skin.

Favorite prizes were the Honeycomb license plates. I always wanted Hawaii but no luck. And I always wished I had a Honeycomb hideout. I also remember getting a magic trick, a disappearing ball in a vase trick, from Frosted Flakes.

My uncle actually worked for a cereal making company, and once brought us a whole case of the new Pink Panther cereal. It was bright pink as you might imagine; and that summer with the stomach flu brought on a whole new and colorful experience for my family.

My dad, who was more of a traditional cereal guy (Wheaties, Cheerios, Chex), had this habit of combining cereals when the multiple boxes got low. There was nothing worse than pouring my Lucky Charms and finding some Life fragments, Corn Flake crumbs, and crushed Mini Wheats along with a few lucky marshmallows.

And, yes, King Vitamin was a staple in our house as well. Does anybody remember Quake’s Orange Quangaroos? Quake’s kangaroo themed follow up cereal?

Anonymous said...

A random memory that just came to me was sending away for prizes after collecting "box tops" - like with 50 cents and 4 box tops you could get a set of plastic Kool-Aid mugs. I can't really remember any other specific things I sent away for off the top of my head but I remember it being fun to get prizes in the mail.


Doug said...

Good one, Tom. Not cereal, and not as a child, but when the DC Animated Universe was beginning to expand I sent away some box tops from Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and got three "balancers" - statuettes of Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. Still have them!


dbutler16 said...

I had no cereal limitation, though Pop Tarts was my sugary breakfast food of choice. As far as cereals, Kix, Cheerios, Count Chocula, and Cookie Crisp were in my regular rotation.

Humanbelly said...

How in the world the marketing guys make the leap from space-themed Quisp & Quake to. . . kangaroos? It HAD to have been something as inane as simple random wordplay w/ sounds, and "Quangaroo" tickled a funnybone. . . sheesh. . .

Capt Crunch Christmas Crunch was a big holiday exception for us for the sweet cereals. However, it almost never made it to the breakfast table. We'd pretty much snack it out of the box the moment it got home.

As a younger child, I know we took a few trips on the highway (I-94?) that took you right past the Kellogg's plant in Battle Creek, MI. And. . . the town smelled like cereal-- it really did! (We thought that was great--!)

Mind you, despite our household prohibition on "good" cereals, I was able to partake of a great bounty and variety of them at friends' houses and even my Grandma's sometimes. So many of you folks list Lucky Charms as a favorite, but-- gosh-- you take away the marshmallow surprises, and that remaining kibble was pretty much dry cat food (to my cultured, sensitive palate, at least. . . ), don'tcha think?

Doug, your images kind of capture the transition point where the word "sugar" was being phased out of all of the cereal names. Although I'm only a couple of years older than maybe the median, here, it's enough for me to remember cereals that were officially called
SUGAR Frosted Flakes; SUGAR Pops (later Sugar Corn Pops, then Corn Pops); SUGAR Smacks; SUGAR Crisp (pictured, later to become HONEY Crisp)-- and probably a couple of others that are escaping me. Man, I can't even imagine a cereal emphasizing the word "sugar" as a draw-element anymore! Might as well call 'em Nicotine Flakes. . .

HB @ Random

Edo Bosnar said...

So HB, you actually passed by the mythical (to my child's mind) Battle Creek, MI, hmm? That and Tom's mention of the box tops reminded me of the "proof of purchase" seal that had to be sent in to Battle Creek together with a few extra bucks to get some kind of toy or gadget. I only did that once, to get a little metal chessboard with magnetic pieces (so you could play in a car, I guess). Didn't really use it very much...

Also HB, I think the cereal companies started dropping "sugar" from the names sometime in the '80s, as I recall the word appearing on quite a few cereals all through my elementary school years ('70s and early '80s) and even into my high school years.

Humanbelly said...

Y'know, I think you may be right, edo. And I feel like Super Sugar Crisp held out the longest, 'cause it was suddenly jarring to hear it referred to as "Honey Crisp". Although "Honey Bear" seemed like a better natural mascot name than "Sugar Bear".

Heh-- does anyone remember that Honey Bear's voice & persona were loosely modeled after Bing Crosby?

Or that Toucan Sam was sort of Rex Harrison w/ a touch of Ronald Colman?

Frankenberry was Karloff; Chocula was (vaguely) Lugosi; and BooBerry was Peter Lorre?

Hmm-- wonder if any more will come to mind. . .


Redartz said...

J.A. mentioned Post raisin bran. That reminded me: there was actually a Saturday morning cartoon based on all the Post cereal characters- "Linus the Lionhearted". It had Lovable Truly (postman from Alpha Bits), So-Hi (what a name, the kid from Rice Krinkles), and others. Actually a pretty clever show; bet that wouldn't make it on the air now...

david_b said...

Actually, one 'cereal prize' story comes to mind...

For my first deployment overseas, we had this super-nice Lt Colonel as our logistics officer and he worked at General Foods. One day he mentioned getting his daughter these cheap SpongeBob watches you could send away for.

Well, **someone** talked him into having his buddies from the plant send him a couple dozen cheap plastic SpongeBob watches.., so the next thing you know, all us 'senior field grade officers' ended up wearing them for the next few weeks while deployed in Kuwait, to important meetings, briefings, on convoys, you name it.

Ahhh, the power of SpongeBob.

david_b said...

Ahhh, sorry, meant to type 'General Mills' Foods.

pfgavigan said...


Cereal wasn't a big factor in our house as a breakfast element. But my mom would indulge me if there was some give away 'prize' in the box. Sometimes the prize was on the box as, if I remember this correctly, the printers had affixed a thin plastic record on the side. Thus, "Sugar, Sugar," the one hit wonder of the Archies entered our home.

The last cereal I can remember eating as a child was Pink Panther Sugar Frosted Corn Flakes that were guaranteed to turn the milk pink. I may have only been a child but even to me this seemed like a sign of man tampering with things he should leave alone.



jeirich said...

I remember that there was actually a vote for whom to save, Quisp or Quake. Apart from the shape, they were exactly the same cereal. IIRC, Quisp won handily.

The Freakies backstory fascinated me, although the cereal was quite pedestrian.

In fact, our cupboard was full of uneaten cereal. My brother and I were in it for the prizes.

The Prowler said...

Alpha Bits!!! Readers are leaders, dontcha know.....

The cereal times that I recall was when Mom would get the little boxes. You could have your choice until all the good ones were eaten and you were left with Special K and Mueslix. Turns out you can put sugar on anything.

One of the other breakfast things I would eat is Malt O Meal. Lots of butter, lots of sugar, eat half the bowl and put it in the fridge for after school.....Mmmmm, that's good eating!!!!

(Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
Don't cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?
Don't cha?
Don't cha?
Don't cha wish your girlfriend was raw like me?
Don't cha wish your girlfriend was fun like me?
Don't cha?
Don't cha?).

Anonymous said...

Hmm cereal was definitely a staple in my household, usually the sweeter the better! It's only when one grows up that one realizes that something supposedly good for you is actually bad for you! Yeah, I'm reminded of Calvin & Hobbes's 'frosted sugar bombs', thanks David_b! I saw a documentary some years ago which revealed that some favourite cereals of children were actually high in sugar, and low in nutrients. Yikes!

For some reason I've preferred the flaky cereals like corn flakes of any type rather than the round type (well, except Apple Jacks, those were delicious!), like Honey Bunches of Oats, Raisin Bran and Special K.

- Mike 'oboy can't wait until we discuss yogurt!' from Trinidad & Tobago.

pfgavigan said...


Just got back from a big screen re-release of Alfred Hitchcocks 1960 masterpiece that was the grandfather of the splatter film!

So if there had been a cereal tie in to this movie like there are nowadays, would General Mills have renamed Cheerios to Psychoios?



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