The Grocery Aisle of long forgotten breakfast cereals Pt I
My good friend Steve emailed me a few weeks ago and asked me to write an article on a subject he and his wife had recently been discussing. He wanted me to talk about breakfast cereal. More specifically, he wanted me to talk about some of his favorite breakfast cereals he remembers when he was a kid. Now, Steve and I have known each other since first grade, but I won’t know all of his favorite breakfast cereals. So, I thought I’d take the general topic of cereal, and look at it from the nostalgia perspective.
There is a surprising amount of cereal box enthusiasts out there. If you go to Flickr, there are two main groups dedicated to cereal from the ’50s up through the ’90s. There are more groups than these two, but the two I’m talking about contain the majority of the images. So, scanning these groups, I thought I’d discuss some forgotten and long discontinued cereals that we may all remember. So, let’s head on over to your local Western Supermarket or Safeway, and walk down the Nostalgia aisle (Aisle 7c) and see what we all used to eat when we were kids. FYI…There were so many awesome, awesome cereals that I found that I decided to split this article into two parts. Come back later this week to see Part II. For any of the pictures below, click them to go to a bigger version (most likely on Flickr).
All set, then let’s begin with the first batch…
No talk about breakfast cereals is complete without talking about Capt. Horatio Magellan Crunch (aka Cap’n Crunch for the noobs). And if we are talking about the Cap’n, I’m going to have to talk about the elephant in the room. It is a harsh truth that all cereal enthusiasts are aware of. Cap’n Crunch is an incurable media whore. Currently, there’s like five versions of Cap’n Crunch on the shelves. That alone is enough, but if you look into the past, and include special editions, we are looking at a number north of 17 versions of Cap’n Crunch. Seriously. He will pimp his image/cereal out to any idea that comes across the table. Here are 9 versions of Cap”n Crunch you may have never seen.
Deep Sea Crunch? Vanilly Crunch? Seriously? And that’s not all of the images. How about Treasure Hunt Crunch? Or maybe you would prefer Choco-Donuts Crunch? This never ending parade of Crunch madness has got to end. The Cap’n is sick, he needs help.
Speaking of being sick and needing help, here’s a tiny nugget of weirdness you may not have noticed on store shelves. Urkel-O’s: the cereal you never asked for. Released in the ’90s to capitalize on the baffling popularity of Steve Urkel from the show Family Matters. The insanity inducing commercial for this cereal can be seen here. Be careful, once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it. The only thing more evil than this, would be if Steve Urkel had made an appearance on Full House. Oh wait, he did. Armageddon is upon us, people. We are at DEFCON 1!!!!!!!
Not surprisingly, there have been several cereals based on cartoon shows. But, Transformers cereal? The whole gimmick of the Transformers can’t be passed onto cereal. I don’t remember boxes of Transformers cereal that could change into a giant robot or bad ass jet. That would have made it the greatest cereal ever created. Instead, they just transform into a soggy mess after 2 minutes in milk. The Ghost Busters cereal is actually based on the Real Ghost Busters cartoon show and not the movie. You can see two commercials for the Ghostbusters cereal here. You can see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hocking their cereal in this commercial. Obviously the Smurfs would get their own cereal and annoying commercial. There were actually two Smurf cereals, the other was called Smurf Berry Crunch, which was pretty much Cap’n Crunch Berries gayed up for 9 year old girls.
After TV shows, it’s not surprising that several video games were made into cereals. The first pic below is Pac-Man, the most obvious choice to get a cereal. I’ve already written an article detailing the copious amounts of swag you can buy with Pac’s face on it. Why not a cereal? When I first started watching this Pac-Man cereal commercial I thought it was horrible. But by the end, I was actually singing along to the theme, “Do the Pac-Man”. What is wrong with me? The Nintendo cereal has two cereals in one box, Super Mario and Zelda. And the commercial for it is HORRIBLE the entire way through. I remember Donkey Kong, and the commercial is fun with the Elvis-like song as the theme, but I’m surprised that Donkey Kong Jr got a cereal. I don’t believe the video game was that popular, but I love the graphics on the box, even if the commercial is LAME.
Now let’s look at some forgotten flavor extensions to already existing cereals. Anyone else remember Banana Frosted Flakes? I don’t. I love this box if only for Tony the Tiger dressed as a migrant worker picking bananas. WTF?! The commercial for this is rife with straw hats and reggae. I was waiting for one of the kids to turn to the camera and say, “Legalize it, mon!” I always loved Super Sugar Crisp but I do not remember this next Super Orange Crisp. Looks weird. I also loved Fruity Marshmallow Krispies, especially the commercial with the tribal chant; “FRUITY. MARSHAMALLOW. KRISP-IES!!” You know the basic Chocolate Chip Cookie Crisp, but do you remember Vanilla Wafer or Oatmeal Cookie Cookie Crisp (in the middle and on the left of the pic)?
Well, I think that’s good enough for this first batch. I’m working on compiling the second batch of cereals, so check back in a few days for the exciting conclusion to my look at long forgotten breakfast cereals.