Forgotten Food: 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.
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 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 and then let me know if you remember and miss this cereal too.