Nintendo Cereal

In 1988, I was all about Nintendo. It had probably taken over as my favorite toy by that point if you want to consider it a toy. And I was already self-aware of my finer tastes in junk food. So Nintendo cereal coming along was right up my alley. It was made by Ralston, who was the king of producing commercially-licensed cereals in the ’80s and ’90s.

This short-lived cereal featured a split package designed and contained both Super Mario Bros. cereal and Zelda Adventure cereal. The Mario cereal was “fruity” flavored and was made up of super mushrooms, Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and Bowser-shaped pieces. The Zelda side consisted of berry-flavored Links, hearts, keys, boomerangs, and shields.

Given how I love gimmicky junk food, the fact that this mimicked Nerds cereal by featuring two different flavors packaged separately in the same box made it a sure bet that a box of this would end up coming home from the grocery store with us. And since she knew how big of a Nintendo fan I was, my mom didn’t put up a fight when I asked to try it.

I can’t recall the taste or if I was a fan or not, but the fact that it had no marshmallows was not a good start for a kid’s cereal if you want to make it long-term. It hit the market in 1988 and was gone in 1989. While it may not have stuck around long, it made a lasting impression on a lot of people, myself included.

Gold’n Nut Crunch Recipe from 1988

With us starting to get into the heart of the holiday season, you can expect several snack mix recipes from the past to be highlighted here. Back at Halloween, we covered the Hot’n Devilish Chex Snack Mix, and just last week I presented the recipe for Hot Buttered Cheerios. So like I said, get ready for more snack mix-type recipes from now through Christmas. There will be other recipes though, so don’t worry that it’s all going to be savory snacks.

Now, on to this Gold’n Nut Crunch recipe. It seems weird that a savory snack mix would include a sweet component like Golden Grahams cereal, but here we are. I must confess that I’ve never tried this recipe myself, but I know some old souls across the internet who swear that it’s delicious. I plan to give it a try myself in the near future, and since I’m going to make it, I thought I would share it with you as well. If you’ve tried it before, let me know in the comments what you think. Or if you’ve never tried it but are now planning on it like me, let me know how it goes for you.

Hot Buttered Cheerios Recipe from 1985

After all of the sweets that were probably consumed throughout the Halloween season, you may be like me an in the mood for something a little savory. Well, here comes Cheerios to save the day! I tried this Hot Buttered Cheerios recipe last winter and found it to be very, very good. It’s a nice substitute for popcorn, and in my personal opinion pair very well with a Hersey bar.

These are quick and easy, and you should give them a try this fall. Enjoy.

Dino Pebbles Cereal

Recently I talked about some old junk foods that I had missed out on. Well, here’s another one…

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 is 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.  Get started on that asap, please. 

A Tribute to Nerds Cereal

You know me and food. We have a love/hate relationship. I love it when it’s around, but I hate it when it’s gone. Just like Nerds cereal. Loved it from the moment I saw it…and have hated the loss of it since it left store shelves. It’s just one of many kinds of cereal I miss. Let’s pay it a little tribute here in this edition of Retro Ramblings.

The Nerds candy itself hit the market in 1983 and was an immediate hit with kids everywhere. Due to the huge success of the candy, Nerds cereal came along two years later.  It hit the market in 1985 and featured the same gimmick that made the candy popular by featuring not one, but two flavors in every box. And since you could get the candy in several two-flavor varieties, the cereal followed suit and offered two different, two-flavored options as well. You weren’t restricted to a lone new cereal on the shelf, oh no, you had your choice of boxes where one featured the dual choices of Grape N’ Strawberry, and the other box featured Orange N’ Cherry. 

If you take a good look at the two boxes pictured above you’ll notice another super-cool feature about Nerds cereal. So not only did you get two different cereals in each box, but you also got two different cereal premiums in each box! They were going all-in on the two cereal theme by putting a prize in each side of the box. And not only that but there were different prizes offered in each of the two boxes. That was a savvy marketing gimmick right there. I’m sure kids all over the country used the argument with their parents that they needed all four toys in an attempt to get more of this fantastic cereal.

It wasn’t just the fronts of the boxes that featured the premiums to be found inside as the backs of the boxes did as well. As a matter of fact, the pictures below show that each box featured a different back panel design for each of the cereals inside. They were truly treating this as two different cereals which just happened to be housed in the same container.

I do wonder about something though. Did both boxes of Nerds cereal come in the same case, or were grocery stores having to order a case of each? Based on my experience in the grocery business, I would think each set of flavors would have been ordered separately, but maybe this was different. If any of you reading this have any idea, please let the rest of us know.

And if all these fantastic features weren’t enough to make Nerds cereal memorable, Ralston and Nerds went even further to double-down on the dual variety theme when they introduced the special Nerds cereal bowl.

    For just a couple of proofs of purchase and fifty 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.  As far as main-in offers go, this one is in the top ten of my lifetime.

    I’m not sure if I had the bowl or not. Part of my brain seems to remember it, but the other half tells me I’m crazy because if I did actually have it, I would have never let it go. In the past, I’ve sat and stared off in the distance trying to dig into the deepest recesses of my mind searching for the answer to this question.

    Nerds cereal was perfect for its time. It had a great product that it was based on (the candy), it had several unbelievable gimmicks, and it had an eager audience waiting to eat it up (all of us 7-year-olds). In today’s much more health-conscious environment, I don’t know that Nerds cereal could get made. But I know one thing, if it did, I’d take the ride all over again.

    Morning Funnies Cereal

    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 weren’t the hooks 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… least for the first two or three mornings. After that, the novelty faded and I was back to reading 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.