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, 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 three cereals that I was in love with at various points.
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.
The comics featured were Dennis the Menace, Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, Hi and Lois, Family Circus, Luann, Marvin, Funky Winkerbean, and What A Guy!. Not a bad lineup, but still it left something to be desired when Garfield, Peanuts, and The Far Side were all the rage at the point this cereal was on the market.
The cereal was canceled in 1989 due to poor sales…or so we’re supposed to believe. I call that a conspiracy theory. As good as this stuff was, there’s no way it had poor sales. The ultra sweetness of the cereal turned off parents, and the lack of fresh cartoons turned off the kids.
From my own experiences, I remember seeing the commercials for the cereal and feeling that I just had to have it. For one thing, it was part of my morning ritual to read the funny pages from the newspaper while I ate breakfast every morning, so this cereal seemed right up my alley.
My mom bought just one box. She rarely went for gimmicky cereal like this but caved under my constant pressure. Wait a minute. Was I one of the kids who were responsible for those “poor sales”? No, I’m going to plead innocence here. That was my mom’s doing. Anyway, I don’t remember what the cereal tasted like, but I do remember enjoying reading those comics on the box…..at least for the first two or three mornings. After that, the novelty faded and I was back to reading the fresh daily comics from the newspaper. I remember looking at the comics on the boxes at the grocery store, and they were all the same. Maybe if they had different strips on different boxes in the same case, it could have led to more sales. As it were, you could grow very tired of seeing the same strip every morning.
It seemed like a good idea at the time but quickly fizzled in execution. However, I would love to see it back on the shelves at the local grocer just to take one more chance on it.
The commercial was a lot of fun too with all the comic characters featured in one place. Give it a watch before we go on to the next cereal that I miss:
Oh yes, the fabled Nerds cereal. Now I’m not sure when the candy itself hit the market, but I do remember being a huge fan of it around 1985 when this cereal hit the market. Maybe the commercials announcing its arrival got me hyped up, or maybe there was some advertising on the boxes of candy. Either way, I was ready for it when this cereal hit the market.
It had such an awesome gimmick, in that it featured two different flavors in the same box, just like the candy. That was always one of the coolest things about the candy too. You’d buy a box of the candy, and it was like getting two different packs of candy since the box was divided between two flavors. And each side had its own opening from which to retrieve the miniature goodness.
So when the cereal came out, it mimicked the candy pretty closely. You had one box with Grape and Strawberry, and the other box had Orange and Cherry…just like some of the candy selections. I don’t remember the cereal box having two openings, but I remember the flavors each being in separate bags. But the coolness didn’t stop there, oh no, Ralston and Nerds took the divided fun to a whole other level with the Nerds Cereal Bowl.
For a couple of proofs of purchase and a few cents, you could send away and get the official Nerds cereal bowl. That thing was so awesome. It was divided into two different compartments so you could enjoy both flavors in the same bowl, yet still keep them separate. But the sweetest feature of it was that it had a gate built into the dividing wall of the bowl! You could raise the gate a little and let the milk flow between compartments. Or you could raise it all the way and let both cereal flavors mingle together. We need bowls like that on the market ALL the time, not just as a premium mail offer.
Nerds cereal was perfect for its time, but I think it would still be a hit today if some cereal company would get on the ball and start making it.
Post cereals have made some real winners in their time, and possibly at the top of that list is Fruity Pebbles. And maybe right behind that is Cocoa Pebbles. The combination of those little sweetened flakes of rice and the pitchmen duo of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble are a nearly unbeatable combination.
Fruity Pebbles has been a staple of my complete morning breakfast as far back as I can remember. Except when I would stay the night at my grandmother’s house. Oh, she had Fruity Pebbles in the house, but those were just for Stevie. The rest of us kids couldn’t eat those. We had to eat oatmeal those mornings while watching Stevie enjoy a big bowl of that multi-colored goodness. To which sometimes he would pour Mountain Dew over instead of the traditional milk. That kid was something else.
But anyway, these Dino Pebbles came out in 1990 and turned the breakfast game on its head. Now there have been variations on the classic Fruity Pebbles theme in the past like when they change the colors to all red and green at Christmas. But this was a huge departure from the norm. The flakes were all one color and with a vanilla flavor instead of the multitude of fruit flavors. Then, they went and added multi-colored marshmallows to it! Think about that for just a second. They added marshmallows to Pebbles cereal. That’s a nearly unbeatable combination.
Unfortunately, these Dino Pebbles didn’t stand the test of time. However, the box art is still strikingly gorgeous and makes my mouth water just looking at it. Man, I wish someone would hurry up and invent time travel so we could go back and have all these cool cereals again. I know one of you out there reading this is smart. Getting started on that asap.