Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Memories Part 4: Since When Is Sugar A Vitamin?

I remember when you could buy General Mills' "Monster Cereals" year-'round. I love these guys! They are among my favorite advertising mascots of all time., am I the only one with "favorite advertising mascots?" Just wondering. They're the best! What I love about old advertising mascots is how un-kid friendly a lot of them were. Like Charlie Tuna from Starkist, who comes across like an animated reporter from 60 Minutes! I like The Monsters' droopy eyelids. It was the late 60s-early 70s, so everyone was stoned all the time. I'm sure the designers of these delightful characters just thought everyone in the world had droopy eyelids all the time. I have droopy eyelids and I am never stoned, although looking at every photograph of me my entire life seems to tell a completely different story.

Apparently, you can still buy the Monster Cereals year-'round at Super Walmarts and a few other retailers, as well as on Who would even think to buy groceries from Amazon? (Maybe someone stoned.) Also, did you know you could by cereal marshmallows without the cereal?! (Once again, targeting that free-spending stoner market.)

But around these parts, I only ever see them at Target around Halloween. And even then, I think there were several years where I never saw them at all, so I went nutso when I saw them and bought a box of Franken Berry and Boo Berry. (Terrible discovery, they turn your poop pink or blue... I didn't combine them, but possibly purple if you eat them both.)

I don't so much care for Count Chocula, simply because there are a million chocolate cereals, so his really isn't all that special.

I remember when I was little, they offered a cut-out mask on the back of the Monster boxes. I had Franken Berry and I was captivated by those... THINGS on his head. Like there's a little train whistle and a clock/pressure gage. I was also enamored of his strawberry fingernails. I truly wonder if old-timey designers intentionally made gay cartoon characters. I mean, Franken Berry, Snaggle Puss (Heavens to Mergatroid!), The Pink Panther, Peppermint Patty and Marcie, maybe Velma... I mean, they had to have been doing it on purpose. And all parents could do was grit their teeth and shake their heads.
I have all the Monster Wacky Wobblers. (All the McDonald Land characters, too.) We had a yardsale in Cathy's neighborhood recently and I was pulling out a lot of my collectibles that I kinda realized were never going to get displayed. I sold my bobble heads of Captain America, Thor and The Vision. For like two seconds, I considered selling my advertising mascots... then thought better of the idea and put them back under the unfinished basement stairs. Hey, they may not be displayed but their presence gives me a sense of happiness. (I'll never understand people that don't own "stuff." Like when people ask, "Say your house was on fire, what would you grab?" To which I have to reply, "Um, how many trips do a get and can I have a shopping cart?" I mean how do you choose? It's like choosing a favorite child. Do I save my Franken Berry bobble head or my Daily Planet tin toy? My set of vintage Rock Flowers or my 194os style Lois Lane maquet?)
Franken Berry and Count Chocula always got the lion's share of promotion. Poor third wheel Boo Berry, usually got ignored. They always showed his cereal box in the commercials, but he rarely ever appeared. He was like the Jan Brady of the bunch. Or the Aquaman.

Although, I can kinda see why. Look how cool Franken Berry looks, with his weird head attachments and strawberry fingernails. Even Count Chocula was snappily dressed, plus had that whole "vampires are cool" thing going for him. Poor Boo Berry just looked like a shapeless sad sack with a dopey hat and a bow tie.
Not that any of the monsters are exactly terrifying, but look at this poor slob? "Boo. Or, not. Whatever you wanna do is fine. No scream? Oh, okay. I'll just be over here in the corner." LEAST scary thing I've ever seen.

I don't know about you, but which cereal I ate as a kid was STRICTLY based on which cereal came with the best prize. And cereals used to come with AWESOME prizes, like iron on transfers, records... but I think the awesomest prize was stickers. It was the 70s and 80s and stickers were HUGE. I so wish I could buy this box of Boo Berry for the Marvel Super Heroes stickers... featuring Spider-Woman!

Stickers are the strangest collectible though. Unlike a toy, once you use a sticker, you're screwed because then it's gone forever. So even though I've purchased some stickers as collectibles, they stay in the package. That kinda ticked David off at one point. He was like, "Well, you got that package and it's just sitting there." And I'm like "Um, YEAH!" That's kinda how it works. Duh.

For many a year, I swore I once hallucinated a fourth Monster mascot... a werewolf.
I KNOW I saw it once at the same store where my grandmother bought me a McDonald Land Grimace doll. (Freakin' free Monster Playmates?! I want those!)
It was NOT this doll, as mine had its facial features stuck on like stickers. I know this, because Grimace is dark purple and our carpet when I was a kid was dark brown (yay '70s!), and my mom, when vacuuming did not see Grimace lying on the carpet and ran him over and sucked his facial features off.

Anyway, so at the same time I got Grimace, I remember seeing a fourth Monster cereal. My I also point out that I was about 3 years old at this point, so how odd is it that I recall all this in such detail when I can't remember the names of people I worked with like five years ago? Guess they aren't as important.

What was I saying before about being not scary? And also gayness? I didn't remember this werewolf's name, but turns out it was Fruit Brute. No, really. WHAT is up with those ugly ass striped overalls?! I mean, that's tacky even by Lawrence Welk standards! Apparently, Fruit Brute was fruit flavored cereal with LIME flavor marshmallows, which completely explains why it no longer exists in any form. Oddly, it lasted until 1983, but was apparently not well-distributed, which accounts for it's rareness today and the fact that very few even remember its existence.
My rediscovery of Fruit Brute was quite exciting, but when I mentioned it to other people, their response was "I remember a fruit mummy, but not a werewolf." A fruit... MUMMY? WHAT?! My b.s. detector went off... I mean, how could there have been yet a fifth Monster cereal that I, of all people, didn't know about?! Inconceivable! Yet, it was a story that was corroborated over and over. Turns out, from 1987-93, there was, in fact, another cereal, Fruity Yummy Mummy. This time, rather than lime, the marshmallows were vanilla flavored. That sounds better, but I'm not sure how I was completely unaware of it's existence. There were even commercials for it, and I certainly was still watching cartoons at this point. So I'm not sure how this one eluded me. (I may not have gotten it anyway, though, seeing as how it doesn't appear that it included a free prize.)

Got the Wacky Wobbler, though. Fruity cereal with vanilla marshmallows actually sounds pretty good. Also... blue (Boo) berries and straw (Franken) berries are fruits too, right? So what else were the Brute and Mummy bringing to the table? Apples? Cherries? Grape? Just curious.

Now, I want cereal.

No comments:

Post a Comment