Friday, October 15, 2021

General Mills Monster Cereals - 50th Anniversary

In 1971, General Mills created two new cereals, "Count Chocula" and "Franken Berry." According to General Mills, these cereals were the very first "chocolate" and "strawberry" flavored cereals, available to consumers.

Joining them in 1973, was "Boo Berry," a blueberry flavored cereal.

In 1974, "Fruit Brute" was added to the line of "monster cereals."  (The original spelling was "Fruit," but it was later changed to "Frute.")


Fruit Brute was discontinued in 1982, and replaced by Fruity Yummy Mummy, in 1988 (which itself was discontinued, in 1992).

Today, only the first three cereals are still manufactured.  And beginning in 2010, they have only been available on a seasonal basis, from September 1st to October 31st, just in time for Halloween.

However, in 2013, all five cereals were released for a limited time.  It was the first time that they had all appeared on the grocery store shelves, together.  Two different versions of packaging were available, for each of the cereals.  There was a "general release" with modern versions of the characters on the boxes, and there was a "limited release," with original character artwork.  The limited release boxes with original artwork (shown above), were exclusive to Target stores.

The boxes with the modern versions of the characters were also available at Target, but they were available at other stores, as well.  Here is what that artwork looked like:

All of the monster cereals released in 2013, including the ones with the original/retro art, included this modern artwork on the back of the boxes.
The following year (2014), only three of the monster cereals were released.  Once again, the boxes with original artwork were available exclusively at Target stores.  Not only was the original artwork different than the previous year's releases, but they had also added original graphics to the back of the boxes.
Unfortunately, by the time I got to my local Target store that year, Count Chocula was already sold out, so this first image is from the internet:


Also in 2014, the modern versions of the characters received an update.  This time, General Mills enlisted various "DC Comics" artists, to create new versions of the classic characters.
Artwork by Terry and Rachel Dodson:

Artwork by Dave Johnson: 

 Artwork by Jim Lee:

Like many other cereals from back in the day, the General Mills monster cereals used to have some nice premiums/prizes, included in their boxes.  These next two vintage images show a box of Fruit Brute cereal, advertising "glow-in-the-dark" light switch plate stickers, included inside.
I saved five different versions of these stickers, from my childhood.  And just like the "Wacky Packages" stickers that I collected, I never used any of these.  If you look closely, you can see a tiny rectangular "cut" in the very center of each sticker.  This is the "hole" in the sticker, that would end up going over the switch, when applied to a light switch "plate."  The specific messages on these stickers were all related to the "energy crisis," which was taking place at the time. 
This year, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first "monster cereals," General Mills has released a new cereal called, "Monster Mash."  It includes the flavors from all five monster cereals, together for the first time, in one box!


Happy 50th anniversary, to General Mills' monster cereals!

Friday, October 1, 2021

"Disney World Is A New Disneyland" - My Weekly Reader (1971)

Today is the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World's grand opening.  I remember the very first time that I heard about the existence of a "second Disneyland."  It was when I was in the second grade and our teacher was passing out copies of My Weekly Reader to the class.  The cover story headline was, "Disney World Is A New Disneyland."  I was already a huge Disneyland fan, even at that age, so this was very exciting news.

For years, I thought the characters in the cover photo (below), were standing above the entrance to Walt Disney World's Hall of Presidents attraction.  Only recently, did I realize that they were standing on the second level of the Liberty Square Boat Dock.

That was it for the story about WDW's opening....short and sweet!  Well, we were only second graders, so all of the stories were short.  Here is the rest of the issue.

It would be 12 more years before the children of Japan (and the adults, too!) would get their own Disneyland.

Astrofood!  This was a time when everyone was still fascinated with space travel/exploration, and it was reflected in the naming of certain places and products, such as AstroTurf, Astroburger restaurants, the Astrodome in Houston, Astro the dog (on The Jetsons), etc.

A test?  Nobody said there was going to be a test, later!  I'm breaking out in a cold sweat!

I believe that a "Peanut and Jocko" comic strip appeared in most, if not every issue of My Weekly Reader.  This one isn't all that funny.  Maybe as second graders, we thought it was hilarious?

If I'm remembering correctly, My Weekly Reader was usually only 4 pages long.  However, this issue had a special insert in the middle of it, with four pages of poetry.

While looking at the the artwork below, I realized I still have one childhood Halloween costume that I need to photograph and share.  That would be my Mickey Mouse costume.  It was the last "Ben Cooper-style" costume that I ever wore.  Last October, I posted photos of my brother and me, wearing a few of our childhood Halloween costumes.  For anyone who's interested, those pics can be seen here:  A Vintage Halloween Potpourri.

Happy 50th birthday, Walt Disney World!