Five Classic Cereal Commercials

This is kind of a combined post. A combination of a classic commercials post mixed with a forgotten foods post. It’s two great tastes that taste great together! Let’s watch some old cereal commercials and let our mouths water and our memory glands tingle.

Honey Nut Cheerios starring Hulk Hogan (1985)

My earliest memories of eating cereal center around eating Cheerios. I guess my Mom wanted me to eat a healthier cereal like that instead of the really sugary kinds. That was until I saw this commercial. Being the huge wrestling fan that I was, I wouldn’t hear anything but switching my Cheerios to Honey Nut Cheerios because Hulk Hogan liked them. It wasn’t long until the switch was made, and then once the sugary cereal barrier was broken, there was no turning back.

Mr. T Cereal (1980 something)

Of course I was on the A-Team bandwagon from the beginning, and yes, B.A.Baracus was my favorite character. Then the Mister T cartoon hit, and I was all in on that too. So when Mr. T cereal dropped, I was down. I can’t even remember what it tasted like, but the commercial mentions brown sugar, so it was a sweetie. And since I had already popped my sweet cereal cherry, this was a logical step. But the song in this commercial. I ain’t gonna lie, that’s just a bad jingle. But with the excitement and the urgency in the vocalists voice, you knew you just had to get to the store and get a box of this.

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The History of McDonald’s Shamrock Shake

This isn’t a long written piece about my unending love of the Shamrock Shake. No, it’s just a post to highlight a video I helped produce highlighting the history of the green shake of goodness. I researched and wrote the narration for it as a special project we did last year at The Retro Network. But I thought you may be interested in it if you missed it last year, so here ya go.

Pudding Cup

Del Monte Pudding in a Can

You know how sometimes you find yourself sitting around doing whatever, and a random thought just pops into your head about some fast food item, or one of your favorite home-cooked dishes?  And then right behind it comes the hunger pain, and then you walk around with this craving laying heavy on you until you make the run to that fast food place, or whip up that dish that’s been on your mind, and quench that craving. 

Well, that’s what every waking moment of my life is like.  But I get no relief from those cravings, ’cause the food that I crave don’t exist anymore in most cases.  I continually carry the burden of a thirst that can’t be quenched.  I’m like those cursed pirates in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. 

I can’t satisfy those cravings because what I crave just can’t be found.  I’m talking about all those awesome fast food items, chips, candies, snacks, and drinks from years gone by, and they’re always on my mind and driving me crazy!  And I don’t know if it helps, or just makes the cravings worse to talk about them, but I’m going to do it anyway.  And today, I’m talking about one of my most missed foods…Del Monte pudding…in a can!

Kids who came along in the early ’90s and later can have their Hunt’s Snack Packs, or their Swiss Miss from the dairy aisle. For me, the king of the hill when it came to pre-packaged pudding was Del Monte’s Chocolate Pudding in the can. Not a plastic cup, but in the little metal can! Scientists can conduct all the experiments they want to determine what effects tin and plastic packaging have on the taste of packaged food, but I can save them a little time and sum it for them in one sentence. It just tasted better out of the can! Period. End of story.

Of course, fond memories, nostalgia, and many, many years of time can mislead the brain when it comes to reality. Maybe it wasn’t the metal can that made it taste better. It could have been the fact that I would get this fantastic little treat when visiting my grandmother. She always kept a large supply on hand, because she had 16 grandchildren, and every one of us was fans of these little cans of chocolate heaven. More times than I can even start to remember, my cousins and I would sit on her front porch indulging in the magic of those little cans of pudding while talking about important subjects of the day like He-Man, Transformers, and the latest issue of Batman.

When I was sick and out of school, that meant a day at Grandma’s to recuperate. And on those days, you were treated to not one, but TWO cans of Del Monte Chocolate pudding. One with lunch, and an extra one “just because” later in the afternoon. You pair those cans of pudding with some Tropicana orange juice out of its glass bottle, and a can of Chicken Noodle soup, you had a remedy for sickness better than anything a doctor could prescribe.

Nowadays, you can always run to the store to pick up a 4-pack of pudding in cheap plastic cups, but you’ll not find that incredible taste that you could enjoy when you popped a top on a can of Del Monte back in the day.

Superhero Burger

The McDonald’s Superhero Burger of 1995

McDonald’s has released more than their fair share of various hamburgers and sandwiches through the years. Some have been big hits, and others colossal flops. And while different ones like the McD.L.T. have been discussed at length through the years, the Superhero burger rarely gets mentioned. Let’s change that.

Historically, the Big Mac has always been the largest burger on McDonald’s menu.  But for one glorious month in 1995, it played second fiddle to the Super Hero Burger.  With it’s 3 (that’s right, 3!) burger patties on a hoagie length bun, with two different slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo….this sucker was a monster. 

The Super Hero burger had two promotional tie-ins attached to it.  First and foremost, it was available during the release of the movie Batman Forever, and Batman, Robin, Riddler, and Two-Face all figure prominently in the advertising spots for this burger.  Secondly, 1995 was the year that McDonald’s released a different burger every month, known as their “Taste of the Month”, and this was the featured item one month.  Speaking of the “Taste of the Month” promotion, I’m going to have to dig deeper into that for some future write-up. That was a great year for new products from McDonald’s.

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McDonald’s McD.L.T.

With Thanksgiving coming, I’ve gotta talk about some food, right?

The McDonald’s McDLT gets mentioned on its fair share of fondly remembered foods lists and for good reason. Of all the great, and horrible, things to ever grace the menu of McDonald’s, the McDLT was one of the best items they created. The fact that it had George Costanza pitching it in a commercial helped too.

It was a burger in similar size as Burger King’s Whopper sandwich and featured mostly the same ingredients. A quarter-pound beef patty, lettuce, tomato, mayo, cheese, pickles, and ketchup on a toasted sesame seed bun. The beauty of the McDLT though was its packaging. It came in one of McDonald’s signature styrofoam containers. But this one was slightly different from all the rest, as it featured two separate compartments instead of one. 

On one side, the bottom bun and burger patty rested, while on the other was the rest of the toppings and the top bun. This allowed the hot parts to remain separate from the cold parts until you were ready to put it together and eat. And that was the brilliance of it all. A fresh-tasting McDLT when the hot patty met the cold toppings.  What I could never figure out though, was why the slice of cheese was included on the cold side.  To me, it would have made much more sense to put it on top of the patty on the hot side so it could get all melty.  But apparently, I’m not a genius like the burger builders at McDonald’s. 

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Oatmeal Swirlers

Oatmeal Swirlers of the ’80s

Oatmeal Swirlers

Today we’re going to take a look at one of the more interesting breakfast foods of the late ’80s and early ’90s…Oatmeal Swirlers!

I was very fortunate that my Mom didn’t work when I was growing up. My Dad made a good living and she was able to stay at home and raise us kids for the most part. At two different points, she took jobs and only worked for 6 weeks at each, so for 99% of my childhood, she was always home. This meant that every morning before school, she was up early and making home-cooked breakfast for the family. Most days that consisted of eggs and toast, or biscuits and gravy, and sometimes her home-cooked oatmeal. 

On the rare occasion when she or one of us had something going on early, she would turn to something quick like frozen pancakes or waffles or cereal. My favorite of the quick breakfast options however was instant oatmeal. I loved Quaker Maple Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal. It was a staple of my breakfast diet then, and it still is now. No other instant oatmeal could touch it in my eyes. That is until I first saw a commercial for General Mills’ Oatmeal Swirlers. 

It was instant oatmeal that came with a squeeze pack of what I guess would be best described as jelly. You could squeeze out smiley faces, or words, or even play tic tac toe with the pack. It was awesome. When this stuff hit the market it took instant oatmeal to a whole new level. 

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Dr. Pepper Gum

Dr Pepper Gum

In the late ’80s, we were drowning in a sea of gum choices as kids. In those days, gum still came in packs of trading cards, it came all shredded in a pouch meant to resemble chewing tobacco, heck….it even came in a round stick wrapped in paper to mimic cigarettes! 

But a new fad hit the shelves when bubble gum with liquid centers hit the market. I don’t recall what the first gum was to showcase the new feature, but I DO remember the first one to make a “splash”, and it was Dr. Pepper gum. It was a simple concept. It was gum that tasted like Dr. Pepper, with a liquid center that also tasted like Dr. Pepper. What a concept. 

As a kid in those days, one of the few things your life revolved around was soda and all of a sudden we had a gum that tasted like soda! Life couldn’t get much better. For those of you who have read my previous articles, you’ll know that my parents rarely felt the need to buy into gimmicks or fads, but when it came to this gum, they were both happy to pay for a pack of it whenever I would throw it up on the checkout counter. 

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Morning Funnies Cereal

Morning Funnies Cereal

If you’ve ever read much of what I’ve written, you should know by now that food is one of the more nostalgic things in my life.  I can tie so many great memories to different foods, meals, and restaurants that I could probably do this whole blog focusing just on food.  So in keeping with that tradition, I want to talk just a minute about one of the great loves of my life…cereal!

Unlike so many girls who broke my heart in my teenage years, cereal rarely ever let me down.  Sure, there were the ones I picked on looks alone just to find out there was no substance inside, but we’ve all made that mistake a time or two.  But for the most part, cereal was always there when we needed them.  Well, until they were pulled from the market for various reasons.  But enough about that.  Let’s get on to a cereal I was in love with at one point in time.

Morning Funnies Cereal was produced by Ralston Cereals in 1988 & 1989. It was a super sweet cereal, bright in color and shaped like smiley faces.  The taste and shape wasn’t the hook for this cereal though…..the box was. I know what you’re thinking.  How could a box be better than what was inside?  Well, because the box featured comic strips on the front and back panels!  In addition, the back of the box featured a full-size flap that opened up and featured even more comics on the inside!  It was nirvana for comic strip lovers. The company actually won an award in 1988 for “innovative packaging” for the fifth-panel design.

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