A Tribute to Discontinued Cereals
Breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Or so you’ve been told. I grew up in what I christen the golden age of breakfast cereal, with a large variety of sugar laced options to choose from. And choose I did. I was a fan of many cereals, and I guess I should be thankful for parents who didn’t limit my options. Any mixture of sugar, grain, and corn was fair game and the more marshmallows the better! Just as long as it tasted good (or sometimes even if it didn’t).
But as the lesson goes, all good things must come to an end. As time passed, products fell by the wayside to make room for the latest products and their sugar-blasted flavors and snazzy box art. Maybe some cereals got lost in the shuffle as their assembly lines drawn to close. But that doesn’t mean those cereals are forgotten. Our memories are still fond, at least as fond as they can be while on a sugar high and waxing nostalgic.
We pay tribute to these sweet breakfast addictions and their psychedelic ad campaigns. In my research I did find some good news, however. Fans of Kaboom!, King Vitaman, and Quisp will be happy to know these favorites still survive, and can easily be purchased online. Even a relatively new favorite like Rice Krispie Treats cereal is still around. But for every success, many failed to receive their stay of execution. And it’s for those we can only hope one day they are resurrected. Until then we only can hope, remember, and curse the cereal killers.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, there are simply too many cereals out there. We even had to break this post into multiple pages. But these are some of the biggest highlights. Let us know which ones you individually miss. And remember, an estimated 58 percent of “children’s” cereals are consumed by the over-18 crowd.
Fruit Brute (1975-1983) and Yummy Mummy (1987-1993)
Once upon a time, General Mills created a product line of five monster-themed breakfast cereals. Everyone knows Count Chocula, and Franken Berry and Boo Berry are still somewhat available, particularly around Halloween. But few remember Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy (which General Mills technically doesn’t count as part of its Monster brand). Fruit Brute had a fruit-flavored cereal with lime flavored marshmallows while Yummy Mummy had fruit-flavored cereal with vanilla-flavored marshmallows. Neither succeeded, but at least Yummy Mummy makes your tummy feel yummy! Heh, heh, heh! Fruit Brute was shot by a silver bullet after an eight-year run, but Quentin Tarantino has brought a modicum of coolness to the cereal by having it appear in Mr. Orange’s apartment in Reservoir Dogs and having Lance eat it in Pulp Fiction. Maybe it was just ahead of its time. Everything seems to be infused with lime these days, from beer to soda. So why not have it in a cereal?
Banana Frosted Flakes (1981-1984)
Proving that even the strongest brand names will dabble in flavor variants, Kellogg’s added real banana bits to their standard Frosted Flakes line. Tony the Tiger even got into the act, donning a straw hat and picking the bananas himself. The idea had merit, as some people put actual banana slices in their cereal. Too bad this product apparently had little appeal. Still, if you really want flavored Frosted Flakes, you might be able to snag Cocoa Frosted Flakes in Mexico (or Zucaritas as they’re known locally). Here’s a TV commercial to further attest the banana variants actually existed:
Ice Cream Cones (1987)
Ice Cream Jones pedaled these sugary treats, both literally and figuratively. He rode an old-fashioned pedal bike and promised to deliver “the great taste of ice creams cones!” Let’s not dwell on the fact he would track down unsupervised kids in the middle of the woods in order to bring them breakfast. No need to call Chris Hansen just yet, the man has scrumptious ice cream cereal! It consisted of puffs sweetened with chocolate or vanilla, as well as sugar cone-shaped pieces. The product run lasted less than one year, but was briefly brought back in 2003 in a chocolate chip variant to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ice cream cone. Ice Cream Jones, however, remains MIA. Maybe Chris Hansen did get to him after all.
Oreo O’s (1988-2007)
The delicious taste of Oreo in a fun-to-crunch cereal! Made by Post, the cereal consisted of little chocolate flavored hoops with white sprinkles, or basically Oreos in cereal form. Additionally, there was a variation called Extreme Creme Taste Oreo O’s containing Oreo frosting flavored marshmallows. That cereal harnessed the “Extreme Creme Taste” experience that kids love! Although criticized for having a very high amount of sugar per serving, the cereal was very delicious. Maybe not quite the same as a freshly-dunked Oreoes, but not a bad morning substitute.
Cinnamon Mini-Buns (1991-1993)
If Oreos in cereal form doesn’t float your boat, you can always try cinnamon buns in cereal form. And cinnamon buns are actually breakfast food, so maybe you don’t feel so guilty afterwards. Kellogg’s packed the “big taste of cinnamon buns in the fun size of cereal”, complete with a cinnamon tornado that will sprinkle cinnamon on every bun. Although discontinued in 1993, Kellogg’s Mini Swirlz is a reasonable substitute.
Or one can bypass the pretense of food and just go with pure sugar candy in cereal form. Nerds cereal was just like a blown up box of the candy, divided into two flavors. Which side will you eat first? You could even get a divided bowl and eat both at the same time! The cereal didn’t last long, and sadly the candy has seen better days as well. Once available in a plethora of flavors, it seems you can only buy them in a select few varieties today. Where are the Cherry Cola Nerds from the commercial?:
Speaking of cereals boxes cleverly divided into two, I present Dunkin’ Donuts cereal, the crunchy little donuts with a great big taste. This was pretty much more sugary oats, and the box came with two long skinny bags of “donuts” flavored in chocolate and glazed (which was more like vanilla). You even got the traditional “Time to make the donuts!” spokesman, Fred the Baker, on the box. I wonder what happens to people that complain kid’s cereal have more sugar than a donut when they see a cereal of donuts?
Grins & Smiles & Giggles & Laughs
Well, I guess they couldn’t call it “Shits and Giggles”, now could they? I think people laughed at the name more the the cereal, but it did have a Cap’n Crunch like taste made up of large happy face pieces that “smile back at you.” This 1970s cereal didn’t last all that long, and I’ll admit its inclusion on this tribute is more about the name, which could pass for a 1970s sitcom, than the cereal. I’m also a little creeped out by the advertisement, which required one to make a robot laugh in order to vomit up boxes of cereal:
Puffa Puffa Rice (1967 – 1975)
The Hawaiian cereal that originated in Battle Creek, Michigan. It was puffed rice with a light honey coating and advertised with a Hawaiian theme. In the commercial below you can see Hawaiians dumping bushels of rice and brown sugar cane into an active volcano, which erupts sending the Puffa Puffa fallout into your bowl. At least the Chief seems to like it. Digga digga bowlful! Given the nature of the ad, apparently Hawaiians were acceptable ethnic targets in the 1960s. At least the Puffa Puffa people aren’t violent like Punchy of Hawaiian Punch fame.
Pink Panther Flakes (1972-1974)
For those craving a pink cereal, literally. The near neon pink frosted corn flakes turned your milk pink. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. These flakes were pretty similar to Fruity Pebbles, but endorsed by the famous fuchsia cat of movie and cartoon fame. For a while there it looked like Tony the Tiger might have some competition. And no offense to Tony, but the Pink Panther has better theme music. Although the cereal was inspired more by the cartoon than the movies, the recent release of a new Pink Panther film nevertheless provides the perfect time to bring this bad boy back. And the Pink Panther could use the work, he’s been slumming it peddling Owens Corning insulation.
Smurf Magic Berries and Smurf-Berry Crunch (1983-?)
For those people that won’t eat any cereal that doesn’t turn the milk blue. Or if the pink milk of Pink Panther Flakes isn’t you, try these very smurfy breakfast treats. The perfect cereal to eat while you sit back and watch Saturday morning cartoons. At least when Saturday morning cartoons existed. Introduced by Post, breakfast was never been the same after The Smurfs had their very own cereal. Because Post already had success with turning the Flintstones into a cereal, the Smurfs was the next logical step. Smurf-Berry Crunch was released in 1983 and was later reformated and renamed Smurf Magic Berries around 1988 (allegedly Smurf-Berry Crunch turned poop weird colors and parents got freaked out). The former was red and blue colored corn puffs, while the latter had yellow cornpuffs and added marshmallow stars instead of “smurfberries.” Just look how much Papa Smurf enjoys eating a big bowl of Smurf-Berry Crunch cereal. Maybe Gargamel should have tried this stuff instead of attempting (and failing) to eat the Smurfs all the time.
The Freakies were made up of seven creatures named Hamhose, Gargle, Cowmumble, Grumble, Goody-Goody, Snorkeldorf, and the leader BossMoss. In the mythology of the Freakies, the seven went in search of the legendary Freakies Tree which grew the Freakies cereal. They found the Tree and promptly took up residence. The pieces of cereal were shaped liked cheerios and each box housed a free Freakie inside. Later on, fruity and cocoa flavored variants emerged. Interesting tidbit, research indicated that kids related to Freakies so well because there were seven different characters, allowing something for all kids to relate to. Because we know kids love to relate to freaks. We are the freakies, we are the freakies and this is the freakies tree…we never miss a meal, ’cause we love our cereal!
Dino Pebbles (late 1980s-early 1990s)
Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles are the core of the Pebbles brand, but there have been slight variations over the years such as Cinna-Crunch Pebbles or Fiesta Fruity Pebbles. Dino Pebbles wasn’t just a slight variation, but a new cereal featuring vanilla-flavored flakes and Dino-shaped marshmallows. And to get the great taste, you don’t have to steal it from Fred like Barney does. The greatest attribute of this cereal was that it possessed the most marshmallows per box of any cereal. Sugary deliciousness! The same basic cereal was resurrected many years later under the name Marshmallow Mania Pebbles, which alas was also was discontinued. Post later released Dino Smores Pebbles, but it’s entirely different.
Buc Wheats (1970s-early 1980s)
Too bad whenever I think of Buckwheat, I don’t think of the Little Rascal Billie “Buckwheat” Thomas, but the Eddie Murphy Saturday Night Live impersonation. Here’s a sample:
Out around the same time as early Saturday Night Live, Buc Wheats cereal consisted of toasted flakes of wheat (originally with buckwheat), kind of like dark colored Frosted Flakes, with a sweet maple-flavored glaze baked onto them. In short they tasted “O-Tay”! This cereal long since ceased production, but reports place Frosted Flakes Gold or Kellogg’s Smart Start Healthy Heart Maple and Brown Sugar as reasonable substitutes.
If Eddie Murphy as Buckwheat doesn’t do it for you, how about another 1980s icon? Mr. T has been an Internet sensation since the days he was eating your balls, so it’s only natural he once had a cereal. He’s Mr. T damn it! I wouldn’t expect anything less. You might even remember the cereal appearing in the film Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. But it wasn’t just a Hollywood creation, you could buy it too. His cereal was basically a rebranded Cap’n Crunch, except the crispy corn and oats bits were T-shaped. The biggest disappointments were that the cereal had nothing to do with the A-Team or his massive amounts of gold chains. Instead it was based off his cartoon and his gang of go-goody kids. I want my cereal ads to feature kids taunting poor rabbits, causing birds to go cuckoo, or plain theft like the Cookie Crook. This just doesn’t sit right. Hell the commercial doesn’t even feature his “I pity the fool” line…
Pretty much the exact opposite of Mr. T, a cereal based on Steve Urkel from Family Matters. Of course the cereal seemingly has nothing to do with Urkel, it’s just strawberry and banana flavored rings. At least it didn’t taste like cheeeeeeeeeeese. Maybe if you ate them, it made you do the Urkel dance? I think the lesson here is that sitcoms shouldn’t have their own breakfast food. We’re opening the door to all sorts of bad ideas. Like Small Wonder Flakes with Vicki the Robot marshmallows.
Of course if Steve Urkel can land a cereal, it’s only natural that a gay Star Wars robot could do the same. Showing that George Lucas would leave no promotional scheme unturned, a cereal was introduced in 1984 inspired by the multi-lingual droid from Star Wars (Why him? I have no idea). It dubbed itself “a new (crunchy) force at breakfast” and was composed of “twin rings phased together for two crunches in every double-O”, or basically an eight. Or maybe they’re just deformed Cheerios pawned off on kids. Not sure what that has to do with C3P0, but at least you could cut out a Star Wars mask from the back an pretend to be Boba Fett or some other character while you ate it. Unfortunately it tasted like Lucky Charms without the marshmallows, so it wasn’t a big hit. But it had the Star Wars brand name, so it had to be cool, right? At least you can enjoy this retro commercial:
Cap’n Crunch’s Oops! Choco Donuts (2003-2004)
Really now, why mess around with O-shaped cereal, when you can just do it right with little chocolate donuts. Saturday Night Live already established that the secret to all successful athletes are little chocolate donuts. They’re the donuts of champions:
Cap’n Horatio Crunch took notice an unveiled this daring foray into donut replication. And not just cereal O’s, it came complete with sprinkles for a more chocolatey taste. The box even claimed it got its taste from sailing up chocolate rapids and through sprinkle falls. I think the box was a damn liar, however, because it that were true this cereal would still be around.
Cap’n Crunch’s Choco Crunch (1982)
Of course Choco Donuts wasn’t the Captain’s first stab at a chocolate variety of his cereal. Choco Crunch was a more traditional mix of yellow corn squares and chocolate puffs. Much like Crunch Berries, but brown and chocolate flavored. It has its own mascot, Chockle the Blob. ChocoCrunch failed, but was brought back under the same name with a slight variation, chocolate flavored corn squares with no yellow corn pieces. Here’s the original in action:
If chocolate wasn’t your flavor, the Cap’n had you covered as well. In the 1970s he unveiled a series of flavor variants to meet anyone’s needs. First up is VanillyCrunch, a cereal of vanilla balls straight from Wilma the Winsome White Whale’s mouth (and her bright red “do me” lipstick):
Punch Crunch was the fruit-flavored cereal, shaped in “little pink rings with big pink flavor” much like Fruit Loops. Instead of a whale, its mascot was a sailor-clad hippopotamus with teased eye lashes named Harry S. Hippo. Harry is a bit fruity, in more ways than one I believe. The eye contact being made between the Captain and Harry raises more questions than it answers. I could see the Village People getting inspiration for their song “In the Navy” from him:
And finally there’s Cinnamon Crunch. In the days before the Soggies there was Jean Lafoote the Barefoot Pirate, who was notorious for his attempts to steal the Captain’s cargo of cereal. Somehow he got his own cereal, as you’ll notice on the box the absence of the name Cap’n Crunch. Even the Cap’n laments the goodness of Jean’s cereal in the ad:
Oops, All Berries!
Yeah, I’m going to throw in one more Cap’n Crunch variant at you. There are plenty more I haven’t mentioned like Volcano Crunch (with pop rocks) and Deep Sea Crunch, but this one is a personal favorite, Oops, All Berries! Even the Onion got in on this cereal. Now before you make the joke, did you know that the Cap’n was once promoted to Admiral? And that promotion led to this cereal? After a tremendous outpouring from his fans, Quaker Oats decided to promote the Cap’n. But Admiral Crunch quickly became bored with his desk job at Crunch Headquarters, and his replacement Cap’ns (Cap’n Scrinch and Cap’n Munch) screwed up the Crunch Berrie and Crunch Biscuit mixing machines, resulting in this cereal. Hence the “Oops!” in the title. The Admiral decided that he was truly the best one suited for the role as the Cap’n and soon regained his old position. And I gained a delicious cereal.
Sir Grapefellow (1972)
Moving on from Cap’n Crunch and the Navy, we turn to two fighter pilots worthy of the Air Force. Who remembers Sir Grapefellow cereal? The first of two World War I pilot breakfast treats, Grapefellow was a debonair British pilot fond of giving us the “okay” sign. He touted a strong smelling grape-flavored (yes, grape) breakfast treat with similarly-tasting marshmallows. Of course it turned the milk a luscious lilac color too. And nothing says cool better than a scarf and aviator goggles! Where have you gone, Sir Grapefellow? Tally-ho!
Baron Von Redberry (1972)
Achtung, baby! No, not U2, but Baron Von Redberry who was Sir Grapefellow’s enemy and countered with his own vaguely fruit-punch-flavored confection loaded with enough sugar to fuel a Panzer corps. Because if there’s one thing that children love, it’s fruit-flavored World War I air aces. You need at least two of them. Besides, the Baron “iz der berry goodest”. People have theorized that World War I theme is influenced by the Peanuts comic strip, which during the 1960s often featured Snoopy in scarf and goggles perched on top of his doghouse in a perpetual battle with the Red Baron. Whether true or not, hapless American children were asked to choose between the two charismatic fellows, but democracy and Sir Grapefellow usually won out.
Crazy Cow (1972-late 1970s)
Because people love the delicious taste of Mad Cow to start their day off. It came in two flavors, chocolate and strawberry, and was a bit of a novelty due to the fact its cereal pellets were coated with an excipient of a drink mix. When milk was added, it would dissolve the powdered coating, and the resultant mixture would resemble in sight, smell, and taste a flavored milk. Not that the concept is all that rare with today’s cereals. Here’s a commercial:
Cocoa Hoots (1972-1975)
This short-lived 1970s sweetened chocolate flavored cereal came complete with safety stickers from Newton the Owl, which you can check out over here. Although the funniest part of the box is the unfortunate location of the Os on the owl’s anatomy. With a name oh so close to Hooters, maybe the design could be a little better. Here’s a sample ad:
Crunchy Loggs (1978-1979)
No, this cereal was not made out of wood. Bixby Beaver pawned off this strawberry flavored “ready-sweetened corn and oat cereal” on kids. One slight problem. The box is a dirty joke waiting to happen. Pink. Beavers. Crunchy Loggs. And one has to ask, what’s more appetizing than chowing down on some Crunchy Loggs? It probably tastes like what you’d get if a cartoon beaver took a dump in your bowl. Cause tht’s what it looks like. So much went wrong on this one.
Mr. Wonderfull’s Suprize (1970s)
Someone must be wearing the Bad Idea Jeans, because here’s another one. Good idea, selling crunchy puffed cereal in vanilla and chocolate flavors. Bad idea, putting frosting in the middle, calling it Mr. Wonderfull’s Suprize, and having kids want to eat some white cream that came out of a creepy man’s balls. At least the chocolate flavored version had brown cream inside, making it slightly less disturbing. Although it just gives you visions of Chef saying, “Suck on my chocolate salty balls.” I’d probably be better off not knowing what Mr. Wonderfull’s Suprize is, but apparently it’s a thin coating of pudding. At least that’s what they tell me it is.
In our Tribute to Fallen Soda, we mentioned OK Soda. So it only seems appropriate that there once was an OK cereal. This one goes way back, and Kellogg’s tried a few methods to sell it. In true paper towel form, above is the “Br-r-awny” look aimed at kids that want to grow up big and strong. Of course, OK can also make you long for the days when cartoon characters acted as pitchmen. Here’s a video with Yogi Bear in place of the buff Scotsman selling OKs:
I mentioned at the top that Quisp is still produced, but its original partner in crime, Quake, fell by the way-side. The two were advertised together until 1970 when a no holds barred winner take all contest was held to see which cereal was more popular. Quisp won, and Quake with its no-frills stodgy miner (who later morphed into a cowboy) retreated underground. Dubbed as providing “earthquake power!” to those who ate it, Quake was made at the earth’s core. Here’s what the ad looked like:
Kaboom may live on, but its distant cousin Circus Fun does not. And its not all that well remembered either. The Circus Fun Clown encouraged the circus theme shaped marshmallows of horses, hoops, balls, bears, elephants, and lions to jump into his “crispy sweetened fruit flavored cereal” (orange tigers were added later). They all combined to form a great center ring adventure, in your mouth. The cereal was like crack rocks for kids, but surprisingly wasn’t too popular. At least the ad was memorable:
Homer’s Cinnamon Donut Cereal and Bart’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch (2001-2002)
They’ve hawked Butterfingers. so surely there would be a Simpsons cereal. Of course, there was. Maybe these aren’t the fabled Krusty Os. Heck, they’re not even Burns Os. And there’s a disturbing lack of jagged metal Krusty-Os, flesh eating virus, or razor blades packaged inside. However, the two TV-inspired breakfast treats were a perfectly cromulent way to start your morning. People also believe that Homer’s cereal may have inspired the previously mentioned Cap’n Crunch’s Choco Donuts.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cereal
There’s a whole subset of cereal based on slapping something popular on a box and selling it on name alone, taste be damned! This is one such example. The Ninja Turtles cereal contained crunchy, sweetened ‘Ninja Nets’ (or Rice Chex) with ‘Ninja Turtle’ marshmallows. And it left your milk a nice green color. You could eat it out of a Raphael or Leonardo bowl if you so chose. But the real allure was simply to buy something with the TMNT brand on it. Here’s a commercial to bring you back:
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal
And another of those let’s just pump out a cereal based on some fad in an attempt to make a quick buck. This one is based off the Bill & Ted movies and cartoon. Yes, there was a short lived animated version between the two movies. The cereal was toasted oat squares mixed with music note-shaped marshmallows. It’s most excellent, if by excellent I mean total crap. It even looked like dog food. But it did come with Hysterical Postcards, which were mini-postcards involving Bill & Ted and their trips through time. The commercial was the best part of the whole product:
Fianlly, here’s an example of how to do a tie-in correctly, rounded out with a glow in the dark box in case your power goes out. The cereal itself was simple oat bits of the Ghostbusters logo, fortified with ghost marshmallows. Although Ralston-Purina missed a prime marketing opportunity by not including something like “Made With Real Stay-Puft Marshmallows!” on the packaging. Still, the cereal was good and missed only one thing, Slimer. Enter the later added Slimer marshmallows, and his appearance in the ads. Although why Slimer is helping kids with unlicensed nuclear reactors zap fellow ghosts remains to be answered.
Maybe they could bring this one back in anticipation of Ghosterbusters 3?
G.I. Joe Action Stars (1985-?)
Yes! A Real American Cereal! This debuted the same year as the cartoon series “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero”, both of which were based on the popular line of military-themed action figures. Each box had a character from G.I. Joe, either Duke, Gung-Ho, or the curiously dressed Shipwreck. The cereal itself was a collection of oat and grain pieces shaped like hollowed-out stars. No marshmallows to be found here, no fruity flavors, just a pure sweet crunch of oats and grain. Think Lucky Charms without the charms. Seems like a lazy tie-in with no bits shaped like soldiers or guns or anything besides stars, but you did get comics packaged with each box. And true G.I. Joe aficionados will remember the cereal ad was the lone appearance of the animated Starduster character:
Spiderman Cereal (1995)
One bite and you’ll get caught in all the action of Spider-Man cereal. Kellogg’s andGeneral Mills both released Spiderman cereals during the recent Sam Raimi movies, but it was this Ralston version that started it all off. By now you might have noticed Ralston is the king of the cereal tie-in, and this one capitalized on the animated TV series airing on the Fox Kids Network. It also served as a replacement for the fallen TMNT cereal. The “Ninja Net” chexbecame “Spider-Webs” and the marshmallows were meant to look like spider symbols, the evil Kingpin, Hobgoblin’s pumpkin bomb, or Peter Parker’s camera.
Monopoly Cereal (2003)
Now you can play Monopoly at your breakfast table. This cereal was basically Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but with the addition of marshmallows based on the pieces in the Monopoly game. So you end up combining the best parts of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Lucky Charms. Still, it’s hard to get beyond the fact one is eating Monopoly pieces. And that reminds me of Eddie Murphy’s bit in Raw where his dad ate the entire Monopoly game:
Buzz Blasts (2002-2003)
To infinity and beyond! Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear blasts off into space with his “naturally sweetened multi-grain cereal” described as having “multi-colored flying saucer cereal shapes that orbit around Buzz, the aliens, and rocket-ship graham pieces.” It emerged in supermarkets at the same time as two other Kellogg’s cereals, Mickey’s Magix and Hunny B’s. The trio of cereals resulted from a multi-year alliance between Kellogg’s and Walt Disney. The cereal lasted about a year and was replaced by Mud & Bugs. At least if you didn’t like the cereal, you could continue your Buzz adventure on the back of the cereal box.
Mud & Bugs (2003-?)
Speaking of Mud and Bugs, what better way to start your day than with the nutrients and goodness of bugs, grubs, and beetles? I think it beats eating fried worms. The very chocolatey-marshmallow confection was like combining Cocoa Puffs and the marshmallows from Lucky Charms (but in bug form). It’s the best of both worlds! Timon and Pumbaa of The Lion King fame grace the cover chocolate puff cereal, but it was not enough to prevent it’s cancellation.
This funky fruit-flavored cereal with day-glo colored puffs was the “delicious space-shaped cereal that’s out of this world.” The cereal was marketed as being mined from the lunar surface by a regiment of magical beings called Moonbeams, led by your hero Majormoon (who majored in cerealogy at Moon University). But the moon, like every story, has two sides to it. The Moonbeams lived on the light side, represented good, and protected the secret formula behind Moonbeam cereal. On the dark side of the moon lived the Moonbums, such as Bigbum and Crumbum. Despite being “the laziest bunch of bums to ever roam the face of the moon,” the had a specific intent on stealing the secret formula in order to have Moonstones all to themselves. As with most cereal stories, the antagonists never seemed to succeed.
Bigg Mixx (1990-1992)
What is that thing on the front of the box? No, it’s not Manbearpig. It’s a combination of chicken, wolf, moose, and pig. Also called Bigg Mixx like the cereal, the ravenously hungry pitchman was part of the The Legend of Bigg Mixx, a fictional story about the origin of the cereal. It goes something like this:
Combine the wild appetites of a wolf, a moose, a pig, and a chicken, and you have Bigg Mixx — the legendary Chicken-wolf Moose-pig of the Yakima Valley.
The first reported Bigg Mixx sighting took place in 1978 when Yakima native, Travis Uddlebock, was hiking near Toppenish Creek.
“I saw the tip of an antler peeking out over a bush and I heard a loud snort. I thought it was a wart hog, so you can imagine my surprise when he stood upright on two paws, flapped his wings, and howled like a wolf. I laughed so hard I passed out.”
Since then, then have been countless other sightings — in the woods, at shopping malls, and even once on a subway in New York City (unconfirmed). And eye witnesses all agree, “He eats like a pig.”
Now, in the spirit of this noble creature, Kellogg’s introduces Bigg Mixx cereal.
“I’m sure Bigg Mixx would be proud knowing Kellogg’s had named a new cereal after him,” Uddlebock explained. “He’s a proud creature. A little stupid, but definitely proud.”
The cereal itself was an assortment of existing Kellogg’s cereals mixed together, commonly described as the result of cereals swept up off the floor of Kellogg’s factory. Mmmm, sounds delicious!
Nintendo Cereal System (1988-1989)
Nintendo, it’s a cereal now. Nintendo, it’s for breakfast. No, I can’t forget Nintendo cereal, based on the Nintendo Entertainment System and two of its most popular games: Super Mario Brothers and The Legend of Zelda. Like Nerds cereal and Dunkin’ Donuts, this one had two cereals in one. One half was Super Mario Brothers Action Series and had fruity-flavoured Marios, Super Mushrooms, Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and Bowsers. The other, called Zelda Adventure Series, had berry-flavored Links, hearts, boomerangs, keys, and shields. Despite the different taste labels of fruity and berry, the two sides seemed remarkably similar, although many claim Zelda was better. Whatever. If you watch this old ad you might not get the theme out of your head:
Of course Nintendo was neither the first video game cereal, nor the best. I’m giving the title of best to Pac-Man cereal. Mainly because it had a ridiculous amount of ghost marshmallows in it. Only Dino Pebbles could boast a higher marshmallow-to-cereal ratio, and this one came out in the early 1980s so I consider it a pioneer of the cereal industry. Plus it had this kick-ass commercial:
Donkey Kong Crunch (1982-1984)
And not to be outdone, Donkey Kong also busted his way out of the arcade cabinet and onto the breakfast table. And he came complete with a more Popeye looking version of Mario. This one tasted exactly like Cap’n Crunch, but the cereal bits were shaped like little barrels. It was the “sweet crunchy corn taste will drive you ape.” When it first came out, there was also a game board printed on the back of the box with a game piece inside to see what level Mario made it to on the board. You could win free swag like Donkey Kong shoelaces. Awesome! Even though the cereal didn’t last long, Donkey Kong Jr. manged a cereal of his own.
Cröonchy Stars (1988-1989)
This cereal was inspired by the Swedish Chef and his pseudo-phonetic rendition of the word crunchy. Of all the Muppets, who would have though he would be the one to receive his own breakfast cereal? He wasn’t THAT popular, but I guess being a chef the connection was obvious. The cereal consisted of puffy star shaped bits with a “cinnamonnamony” flavor. One commercial featured the Swedish chef in a kitchen with an exploding pot and Croonchy Stars flying all over the place. The box was even funnier, as it stated that the product did not conatin: (among other things) Venetian Blinds and Pachederms. Bork! Bork! Bork!
Sprinkle Spangles (1980s and 1993-1994)
Sprinkle Spangles was a short-lived cereal introduced in the 1980s and resurrected for an even briefer run in 1993. The cereal was of star-shaped pieces covered with multi-colored sprinkles. Think of an overbaked christmas cookie with sprinkles. More memorable was the Sprinkle Genie, who would proclaim, “You wish it, I dish it!” The commercials also added that they, “spangled every angle with sprinkles.” Despite the proclaimations, I don’t think it was really kid’s wishes come true.
Hidden Treasures (1993-1994)
Also brightening the breakfast table in 1993 was Hidden Treasures, debuted by General Mills alongside Sprinkle Spangles. Give your mouth a charge when you bite into Hidden Treasures, the cereal described as “sweetened corn cereal squares with artificially flavored fruit centers”. Options to find inside the corn squares were cherry, orange, grape, or nothing at all. Children could actually play their own game of hide-and-seek trying to find the flavors as the surprise of finding out what was in each piece was the cereal’s gimmick. Although clever children would have little difficulty noticing the pattern: pieces with a seam very close to the edge were grape, off-center orange, and directly center seams had cherry. The cereal’s very short-lived mascot, H.T. the robot, was said to be programmed to try to figure out what was inside each of the cereal’s pieces. Which ones hold a hidden treat?
Rice Krinkles are not to be confused with Kellogg’s counterpart Rice Krispies (although on a related not here’s a box of Rice Bubbles). They were similar to a sugar coated Rice Krispies in taste, but shaped like a Fruity Pebble. Although probably considered politically incorrect today, the mascot was a little Chinese boy named So-Hi. So high was also what happened to one’s blood sugar after eating a bowl of this stuff. Post also made Sparkled Flakes as a substitute for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes.
Kids love Pop-Tarts, often eating them for breakfast. But it took until 1995 for Kellogg’s to realize that the snack could be shrunk down to fit on your spoon. Actually, there may be a reason for that. When Pop-Tarts first rolled out in the 1960s, instructions to store managers emphatically stated that, “In no way should this product be sold as a substitute for cereal.” Even Kellogg’s wouldn’t admit the connection, and it took thirty years for them to come to grips with the similarities. I guess it didn’t matter too much as the cereal failed. Despite all the varieties of Pop-Tarts, the cereal only came in two flavors, frosted strawberry and brown sugar cinnamon. File this one under the wish-we-could forget category for Pop-Tarts, just like the Chocolate Peppermint, Frosted Peanut Butter and Jelly, and Chocolate and Cherry Chip flavors.
S’mores Grahams (a.k.a. S’mores Crunch)
S’mores Crunch launched in 1982 as chocolate graham cracker cereal filled with tiny marshmallows pieces similar to those found in packets of powdered hot chocolate mix. The S’morecerer tried to entice you to buy it, but his magic failed as it was discontinued in the late 1980s. Resurrected in the 1990s as S’mores Grahams, it has since been re-discontinued. Oh how General Mills teases us with this cereal. Kellogg’s did introduce Smorz in 2002, which is a related cousin of this fallen General Mills version. Maybe its not the same, but you can still buy Smorz.
Waffelos was “a sweetened cereal with artificial maple syrup flavor” made to resemble eating buttermilk waffles. Although I have no idea why they misspelled waffle in the name. Waffelo Bill and his Horse rode for Waffelos as its cowboy spokesperson. And yes, the horse’s name was simply Horse! Waffelos also came in a blueberry variety for a short time. It featured simple minded Blueberry Critters with smiley faces that bounced around the desert. Waffelo Bill attempted to them round up, shouting, “Gidyap, gidyap, lil’ blueberry critters”. As one might guess, the cereal tasted “like crunchy little blueberry waffles”.
French Toast Crunch (1995-2008)
A member of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch family (which for a time also included Peanut Butter Toast Crunch), the original French Toast Crunch was sold in red boxes and shaped like little French toast slices, reminiscent of the style of Cookie Crisp. More recently, it was packaged in yellow boxes and resembles the sprinkled squares of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, only lighter in color. It was only recently discontinued, so you still may be able to find some of the newer version of the cereal.
Vanilla Wafer Cookie Crisp (Late 1970s-Early 1980s)
In a true injustice to cereal lovers, Vanilla Cookie Crisp was taken away all too early. It was just like today’s Cookie Crisp, except that the cookies were small and vanilla flavored. Cookie Jarvis was the cereal magician peddling this concoction, and it’s quite possible that the sneaky scorcerer put something very addictive in the recipe. As he would say, “I’ve come from afar to change your dish into a cookie jar! Heehee…Spelunk, spelar!”
E.T. Cereal (1984-?)
It seems there are two schools of thought when it comes to what exactly E.T. Cereal was. Everyone agrees that the cereal itself was in the shape of little Es and Ts. However, some say it was a Cap’n Crunch taste-a-like with yellow corn flavor. Don’t listen to those people, because they would be wrong. The extra-terrestrial represented a peanut butter and chocolate flavored cereal, much like his favorite candy from the movie Reese’s Pieces. Not that it mattered all that much. The cereal was short lived, and it wouldn’t surprise me to find some of the boxes buried in the desert with all those Atari games.
Batman Cereal (1989-1990)
It seems like there was a period when any popular movie or cartoon would be made into a cereal and odds favored it would be a Cap’n Crunch knock-off. Batman fell right into the trap, with its little yellow corn bat bits. Although Cap’n Crunch didn’t have a Batman bank attached to the front of the box (Later versions came with mini Batman comics). The cereal came out at the height of the first movie’s reign, siphoning a great deal of its popularity and parent’s money. Of course Ralston was pumping out so many tie-in fads that most grocery stores couldn’t clear enough space on its shelves. That pushed many a box to the dollar store in quick time, and often an unceremonious demise. The release of Batman Returns gave Ralston a do-over on the Batman cereal, and they went back to their standard chex and marshmallows formula. I guess you could call the chex pieces “Bat Nets.”
Fruity Marshmallow Krispies (1980-mid 1990s)
This cereal actually started as the red-boxed Marshmallow Krispieswith plain multi-colored marshmallows and eventually added “Fruity” to the title as the marshmallows morphed into fruit shapes. The box also turned green and overall it was a definite improvement. Either version was basically an amped up version of the pseudo-healthy Rice Krispie line, so I’m sure kids won out on both incarnations. The commercial was also a winner, featuring Snap, Krackle, and Pop in a conga line with dancing fruits set to a memorable reggae beat:
Where to start on this one? Wackies were described as an “all oat cereal with sweet banana flavor bits” in wacky shapes like “banana bingles”, “banana jangles”, “oat gloops”, and “oat glots”. I have no idea what that means. It was hawked by Wackies Boy and the Banana Wackies Gorilla, and both appear hopped up on something. Hopefully it’s just sugar, but you can judge for yourself:
Coming in orange, strawberry, and chocolate flavors, KOMBOs was plugged by the curious exotic beast, the Blue Gnu. Yes, a gnu is a real animal, although it doesn’t come in blue and it’s doubtful kids would know what it was (hint: an African antelope). The odd choice doesn’t exactly strike familiarity in the way a tiger, rabbit, or leprechaun do. According to Blue Gnu, “Kellogg’s Kombos put more in your morning. Get G-Gnawing on them soon!” Yes, I will get right on that.
Nut ‘n Honey Crunch
What I remember most about this cereal was the commercial. And if you saw it, you probably would too. Basically it involved people mistaking the name of the cereal for the line “Nothing, Honey!”. Here’s YouTube to the rescue:
Morning Funnies (1988-1989)
The concept on this one sounds like a winner. People like to eat cereal while reading the morning comics, so why not stick the comics right on the box? Available in several “Commemorative Editions”, each box was filled front and back with recognizable comic strips. The back panel even folded out to reveal another full page. Resident comics included Family Circus, What A Guy, Hi and Lois, Dennis the Mennis, Luann, Tiger, Beetle Bailey, and Marvin. Later editions added Popeye, Hagar the Horrible, and Funky Winkerbean. The cereal itself was “funny faces of wild fruit taste.” Here’s the problem: the comics lacked the heavy hitters such as Far Side, Peanuts, Garfield, etc… And you could easily read through all of them in one sitting. Once you’d read them, what was the point of eating the cereal anymore? Although I suppose one can always live by the tagline,”When you ask for Morning Funnies, you’re asking for some fun!”
Crispy Critters (1962-?, 1987-1988)
Indubitably delicious? Debatable. Crispy Critters came out in the 1960s and was re-issued by Post in the late 1980s. Both attempts proved unsuccessful and it was discontinued. The cereal was basically miniature animal crackers in shape, appearance, taste, and texture. However, some later boxes featured the addition of pink elephants, orange moose, and grape apes. Yes, the same pink elephants you see when you’re drunk. Not sure what the message was there. Originally pawned off by Linus the Lionhearted as “the one and only cereal that comes in the shape of animals,” he was replaced by a puppet named “Crispy” with pom-pon antennae and a furry yellow body in the 1980s. Also take note of the de-evolution of Linus. During the 1960’s his appearance changed. He lost his tophat, vest, and beard, and gained a bulbous snout and became more cartoonish. Then he disappeared for many years and this Crispy guy appeared. I hope that’s not what happens when you eat this cereal.
Team Flakes (1950s-early 1990s)
For a change, we’ll turn to something on the healthy side of the cereal spectrum. Well, at least somewhat healthy. All this cereal was were flakes, but it was a four grain flake consisting of corn, oats, rice, and wheat. The team part is probably in reference to the “team” the four grains make when unified, plus its “the cereal that plays along with you.” Unusually tasty and sort of puffy, the closest thing around now is probably General Mill’s Curves Cereal Whole Grain Crunch or to a lesser extent Crispix. The cereal was reportedly discontinued when Post bought out the Nabisco cereal line in the early 1990s.
The O.J. stood for orange juice, not Orenthal James. Though O.J. would have likely killed it had it not already died. It was a cereal with the “wholesome goodness of real orange juice,” containing 10% real juice. Marketed as a mildly healthy cereal in that it was basically orange juice in cereal form and orange juice is at least conceivably healthy being derived from a fruit. Chocked full of Vitamin C, the little orange and yellow balls and rings were fronted by O.J. Joe, a cattleman. He would ride and corrall wild oranges in an effort to rustle up all that sweet juice needed for OJ cereal. The really daring kid would substitute actual OJ for milk when eating this. Here’s an old ad for this short-lived phenomenon:
Gremlins Cereal (1984-?)
One final movie tie-in, and yet another Ralston cereal made as a Cap’n Crunch knock-off. You can add milk, but never water to the breakfast treats. The cereal was fairly nondescript, but it had a great theme song, “Gremlins, Gremlins, bite after bite. What a tasty way to satisfy your Gremlin appetite!” The best I could find was the partial commercial below that someone taped over. Note, we don’t know what happens if you eat this cereal after midnight.
Body Buddies (1980s)
During Body Buddies’ short time on earth it was marketed as a good-for-you breakfast treat. It looked like Kix and came in two varieties, a Natural Fruit Flavor in a green box and a Brown Sugar & Honey flavor in a golden box. Pimped as having sixteen (count ‘em) vitamins and minerals, the box featured four kids doing exercises. Fans of Hannibal Lecter might remember this cereal also appeared in the original Thomas Harris movie adaptation, Manhunter.
Triple Snack (1961-1965)
It’s a cereal. It’s a snack. Triple Snack was a combination of roasted peanuts, sugar puffed corn, and sugar puffed wheat. You decide if peanuts can be in a cereal, or if that transforms it into something else like trail mix. Boo Boo of Yogi Bear/Hanna-Barbera fame was the original cartoon character hawking this stuff, but he got replace by the blue Triple Snack Giraffe. Tough break Boo Boo.
Jets (late 1950s to early 1970s)
Who didn’t sign up to sell this sugar coated oat and wheat cereal? You had Rocky and Bullwinkle, you had the Sugar Jet Kids flying around in their glucose induced high, you had Major Jet the Space Pilot exploring the universe, you had Mr. Moonbird, Johnny Jet, and Goggol the Alien teaming up to pitch it you, and as shown above you had the Go-Cart Kids with their dog. And that list doesn’t include the football players they eventually slapped on the box. The cereal was similar in shape to old school Trix or Kix, but loaded with sugar. Later on, they changed the cereal shapes to resemble planes, rockets, and planets. “It’s the cereal the will give you Jet energy,” was the tagline. Which I guess means you’re eating the equivalent of jet fuel, or dare I say rocket fuel? It’s awesome to market your cereal as a euphemism for a variety of stimulant drugs.
Rainbow Brite Cereal (1985-?)
I know this website slants more towards male readers, and I wonder if any of them would admit to eating Rainbow Brite cereal? Another Cap’n Crunch-like cereal except with bright colored rainbow pieces flavered like fruit, Rainbow Brite sold out to the man to make a quick buck. Eating this was a basically eating candy, and for most males came the stigma that claimed the cereal turns you gay. On a lighter note, at least all the ads ended in happiness and fruity goodness for all. The fruit flavor in every colorful bite is now extinct, and will probably never return.
Powdered Donutz (1980s)
Tasted like powdered doughnuts. Looked like bloated powdered Cheerios. Donutz actually came in two varieties, powdered and chocolate, but the former is what people really liked. Described as a crispy, sweetened, three grain cereal that was meant to taste like powdered D-D-D-Donuts and was dough-licious. I guess you can consider this an earlier forefather of Frosted Cheerios. You might also rememeber this ad:
Klondike Pete’s Crunchy Nuggets (1972-1975)
This one came in both a wheat and rice variety, and were actually just renamed versions of Rice Honeys and Wheat Honeys (which also went by the name Winnie the Pooh Great Honey Crunchers). The cereal was pawned off on kids by Klondike Pete, a bearded prospector who searched for gold with his mule Thorndike. In 1975, Klondike Pete’s Crunchy Nuggets were discontinued and the cereal that had existed under various names was finally gone. But Pete wasn’t gone. Apparently on a 25-year nugget hunt, Pete returned in 1999 for Golden Nuggets cereal after striking the motherlode in a new secret mine. Sadly, Thorndike had been replaced by a new mule sidekick, Pardner.
Tony’s Cinnamon Krunchers (2003-2005)
Maybe the success of Cinnamon Toast Crunch awoke a sleeping tiger, as earlier this decade Tony the Tiger began stalking cinnamon lovers with Tony’s Cinnamon Krunchers. And Tony would seem to be the right cat for the job, given his experience with sugary flakes. Except this task when beyond even Tony’s immense powers. Many consider the cereal and improved version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but alas it was not to be.
Corn Crackos (1967-1968)
Seemed like a good idea in the 1960s I suppose. Cracko, the orange waker-upper bird, peddled this suspiciously named cereal on kids in the late 1960s. Actually check that, according to Cracko, “the whole family will go for these sweet twists of golden corn cereal.” Allegedly these where sprinkled with cinnamon, but I have trouble trusting that bird. And I know the 60s were a bit adventerous and all, but really? At least you get an offer for a Mr. Potato Head on the box. I’ll let Cracko take us out with his tagline, “It’s crackles when you crunch.”
Now this is more to the point! Two great tastes that just fit perfectly together! Just ask the two characters on the box, they seem positively thrilled about the flavor. Actually this one isn’t a discontinued cereal (that I’m aware of), I just figured it would be a humorous way to end this post. For those wanting to know, this is real box, but it’s one of those lost in translation foreign varieties. Probably was aiming for something like Chocolate Crunch.
If you enjoyed this article, you would probably also like our Tribute to Fallen Sodas.