Cereal mascots play an indelible role in American pop culture, and just about everyone can name a few off the top of their head.
But for all the ones that stuck around there were plenty more than are no longer with us, and from Ogg to the Cheerios Kid, we've tracked down a few of them.
Back in the baby boom era, no breakfast was complete without an appearance by some zany cartoon cereal mascot.
Cereal companies brought dozens of characters to life, from talking tigers and circus clowns to bucktoothed cavemen — and kids ate them up. Some cartoon creatures lasted for only a few years, while others sold their products for decades. Human characters like King Vitaman often retired earlier than critter counterparts, such as Sonny the Cuckoo Bird.
Over the years, breakfast cereal became more health-oriented, and many of these characters went the way of the dodo as cereal companies shifted to healthier offerings that didn’t need to rely on a talking animal to sell. Today you rarely if ever see new cereals with mascots, but the ones that have stuck around — Tony the Tiger, Snap,
Crackle, and Pop, Toucan Sam, etc. — have entered the cultural lexicon as much as any cartoon character.
Grab a spoon and a bowl — we’re pouring on this history in this slide show of forgotten cereal mascots.
1. King Vitaman
King Vitaman's reign only lasted a couple of years. The cartoon figurehead of the nutrient-enriched cereal was quickly replaced by a live-action king played by actor George Mann.
2. Bigg Mixx
This cereal, introduced by Kellogg’s in 1990, was a “big mix” of rolled oats, rice, toasted corn flakes, and whole grain wheat. Their mascot was also a “big mix” of a whole bunch of animals, with the head of a rooster, moose antlers, the snout of a pig, and the fur of wolf. Within two years, he was gone.
3. Yummy Mummy
The least-remembered of General Mills “Monster Cereals,” which also includes Count Chocula, Fraken-Berry, Boo-Berry, and Fruit Brute (how’s that for a trivia question?), this frosted fruit-flavored cereal with vanilla-flavored marshmallows was around from 1987 to 1993, and made a triumphant return last Halloween along with the other Monster Cereals, with updated packaging, at Target.
4. Linus the Lionhearted
In the late 1950s, Post rolled out a cereal called Heart of Oats, a Cheerios knockoff. It didn’t sell very well, but its mascot, Linus the Lionhearted, lived on as a mascot for Crispy Critters, which was introduced in 1963. Commercials for the cereal were so popular that the following year Linus got his own cartoon, which ran for 39 episodes, as well as a coloring book and a full-length record album.
5. Lovable Truly
Post’s Alpha-Bits has gone through more than a dozen mascots since the 1950s, including long-forgotte comedian Jack E. Leonard, Sailor Boy, a young girl and boy named Alpha and Bitsy, a St. Bernard named Alphie (and his nemesis, Nasty McEvil), a monster, a wizard, dogs named Rough and Ready, and even “Alpha the Magic Computer” in the late 1990s. One of the longest-running mascots, however, was a postman with the bizarre name of Lovable Truly, who would deliver Alpha-Bits letters (get it?). he lasted from 1964 to 1971.
Headed by their leader Boss Moss, the Freakies made a magical cereal tree their home and won over kids on Saturday morning TV in the 1970s. The unusual crew retired by '75.
7. Jean LaFoote
Did you know that Cap’n Crunch has a nemesis? Neither did we, but apparently his name is Jean LaFoote, a play on pirate Jean Lafitte. Known as “the barefoot pirate,” LaFoote chased after Crunch’s shop, The Good Ship Guppy. He also popped up as the mascot for Cinnamon Crunch in the 1970s, and still makes (very occasional) appearances in Cap’n Crunch commercials.
Check out more forgotten cereal mascots.
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