Bowl + Cereal + Milk = Big Smiles. What could be easier?
In the eighties, my mom initially tried to keep sugar levels low for us at
breakfast time. However, when subjected to ultra-bland Rice Krispies, my
brother and I improved the “lightly sweet” beige bubbles with generous
scoops of white sugar. The gritty gray sludge at the bottom of the bowl
helped the Krispies’ flavor TREMENDOUSLY.
Mom eventually threw in the towel and let my brother and me take turns
choosing cereals. He opted for Fruity or Cocoa Pebbles, which grossed me
out with their nasty milk-tinting properties. I stuck to frosted
strawberry Pop-Tarts and Cream of Wheat (heavily sugared, of course)
when Pebbles of any variety were the cereal offerings. My personal faves
were Honeycomb and Sugar Smacks.
Of course, many of our childhood cereals
are still with us, but quite are few aren’t, largely because
they were based on ever-changing pop culture. Or, you know, because they
Join me for a heaping bowlful of 80s
cereals that didn’t stand the test of time. Some might ring a bell, some
might be totally unfamiliar, but ALL are guaranteed to give you a nice
Banana Frosted Flakes from Kellogg’s
were around just briefly in the early eighties. They actually look
pretty tasty, don’t you think? Frosted flakes + dried banana bits sound
delish. Like regular Frosted Flakes, however, I’m sure they were prone
to that dreaded cereal affliction: Instant Sogginess in Milk.
Fruit Brute, from General Mills, debuted
in 1974 and was discontinued in 1983. It was replaced by Fruity Yummy
Mummy in 1987, which subsequently only lasted until the 90s.
Their sibling cereals, Count Chocula,
Franken Berry, and Boo Berry, by the way, are still around, although
going forward they’ll only be available around Halloween.
Breakfast with Barbie cereal from
Ralston Purina seems like it would be a clear winner, since little girls
have loved Barbie dolls, like, forever. However, it was only around for
a short time in the late 80s. I don’t remember it at all, to be honest:
Body Buddies from General Mills
apparently tasted like Kix but was sweeter and had a stupid name. I
don’t recall eating it, but this 1980 commercial is totally familiar:
Kellogg’s C3PO’s cereal was a crunchy
new force at breakfast! It looks suspiciously like Honeycomb to me, so
it was probably pretty good:
Ralston Purina’s Cabbage Patch Kids
cereal cashed in on Cabbage Patch frenzy. I guess one would bring one’s
doll to the table and share a bowl, right?
Oh my goodness, I remember this
commercial! So catchy! General Mills’ Circus Fun was on the shelves in
the late 80s; this ad is from 1986. I also remember eating it,
though, and finding it awful.
Post’s Croonchy Stars were cooked up
just for you by the Muppets’ Swedish Chef, so you knew they were
scroonchious. Mork, mork, mork! This commercial is from 1988:
Dinersaurs from Ralston Purina slipped
right under my radar. I’m thinking they failed because they weren’t
linked up with a specific TV or movie, don’t you? We can’t all be Count
Chocula, after all. This commercial aired in the late 80’s:
Ralston Purina’s Dinky Donuts offered an
irresistible contest in 1982. You could WIN AN ATARI! Sadly, the
promotional contest wasn’t enough to grant the cereal longevity.
Donkey Kong Crunch was barrels of fun,
but General Mills pulled the plug on production when the video game’s
popularity began to fade. This commercial is from the early eighties:
BUT, before General Mills gave up on the
Donkey Kong franchise entirely, they brought us Donkey Kong Jr.Cereal:
Ralston Purina revived the doughnut
dream with Dunkin’ Donuts Cereal in the late 80s. This commercial
features the early-rising cook from all those Dunkin’ Donuts ads. I just
learned that Michael Vale, the actor who portrayed Fred the Baker and
whom you see here, died in 2005 at the age of 83.
E.T. Cereal from General Mills featured
E’s and T’s in E.T.’s favorite flavors, chocolate and peanut putter. Out
of this world!
Ralston Purina’s Fruit Islands cereal
was fruity-sweet and studded with apple bits, just like King Ayummayumma
liked it. This commercial is from the late eighties:
Considerately, Ralston Purina thought of
the dudes when it came out with G.I. Joe Action Stars in 1985. After
all, guys aren’t going to be happy eating Strawberry Shortcake cereal
and Smurfberry Crunch, right? Boys wanted MANLY sweet cereal!
Whaddaya gonna crunch? Ghostbusters!
Ghostbusters cereal from Ralston Purina tasted great with “milk, juice,
and toast.” Remember, kids, sweet cereals are just PART of a healthy
breakfast! Ralston Purina also put out Ghostbusters II cereal after the
movie’s sequel came to theaters.
Hungry? Hungry as a GREMLIN? You need
some Gremlins Cereal from Ralston Purina. (Unfortunately this ad is
broken off by an ill-timed channel change, but there’s enough there to
get the idea.)
I have zero recollection of Halfsies
from Quaker Oats, but wouldn’t it have been AWESOME to win your own
arcade game? Further research indicates that it had half the sugar of
those other kids’ cereals. Its demise, clearly, was inevitable.
Ice Cream Cones cereal’s mascot was Ice
Cream Jones. He delivered the great taste of ice cream cones right into
your cereal bowl in the late eighties. Mmm!
Crispy Critters from General Foods had a
super catchy song, voiced by a Jimmy Durante imitator. Ha-cha-cha-chachaaaaa!
Mickey Mouse Magic Crunch from Post was
only around for a couple of years in the late eighties. Like the Barbie
cereal, I’m confused about why this one didn’t make it. Probably not
enough sugar. When will these cereal companies learn?
Morning Funnies from Ralston Purina was
another late eighties flash in the pan. I think the funny pages flap on
the box was genius, but, of course, the fruity crunch cereal was nothing
Ralston Purina introduced Nerds cereal
in 1985. I think this looks really fun to eat, what with the Nerds
flavor divider in the box, and I’m guessing the flavors were intense:
This Nintendo Cereal System commercial
from 1989 is just creepy to watch: kids with television heads? Thumbs
down, Ralston Purina. No wonder nobody’s mom bought this:
OJ’s cereal from Kellogg’s sounds
yucky. Orange flavored cereal? Bleh. By the way, it’s totally unrelated
to O.J. Simpson. This commercial is from 1985:
Rocky Road from General Mills bypassed
the whole “fruity” and “good for you” thing that some kids’ cereals
foolishly promoted. I have no idea why this one isn’t still around, yet
it’s lost to the eighties:
S’mores Crunch Cereal from General Mills
looks like Golden Grahams with added marshmallow and chocolate goodness.
Smurf Berry Crunch from Post came to us
in 1982. Like all things Smurf, it was a huge hit for while. Smurftastic!
Smurf Magic Berries, also from Post, was
another smurfy breakfast choice. They added marshmallow stars to Smurf
Berry Crunch and changed the colors, so it was COMPLETELY different:
Strawberry Shortcake from General Mills
hit the shelves in 1982. Berry sweet and delicious, no doubt:
Quaker’s Mr. T cereal made kids do backflips, apparently. I never thought of Mr. T as a gymnastics sort of
Waffelos were “like crunchy little
blueberry flavored waffles.” Mmm! Plus, they had Waffelo Bill rounding
up the blueberry flavored critters! I’m guessing I’d prefer the maple
With all that sugar and artificial
flavor pumping through your veins, you were ready to tackle whatever the
day threw your way! Nowadays, maybe you reach for some Kashi or grab a
banana, but back in the eighties, we knew that breakfast was the most
important meal of the day, and it had better be sweet. Can I have
another bowl, please, Mom? AWESOME!