General Mills’ Monster Cereals

As I have mentioned before, I have always been a fan of Monsters and the Macabre. In my childhood days of the 1970’s, my favorite was the Frankenstein Monster, and my cousin Jason’s was Dracula. We watched every movie or cartoon we could which featured the two classic monsters; we dressed up like them for Halloween, collected the toys, comics and film books…and we ate the cereals.

Count Chocula, Frankenberry and Boo-Berry cereals.

Count Chocula, Frankenberry and Boo-Berry cereals

In October of 1971, General Mills issued two monster themed cereals: Count Chocula, and the strawberry flavored Franken Berry, followed in 1972 by the blueberry flavored Boo-Berry. Fruit Brute (a werewolf themed character with what Wikipedia describes as a fruit flavored cereal with lime flavored marshmallows) followed in 1974 but was discontinued in 1984 and replaced in 1987 with Fruity Yummy Mummy (a fruit cereal with vanilla marshmallows).

Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy.

Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy.

I never got to try the latter two, but I lived on Franken Berry for many years. In fact, Jason and I identified so much with the respective characters that we wouldn’t dare allow the other to partake of OUR character’s cereal, although my cousin has since confessed in recent years that whenever he stayed over our house, he would sneak into the pantry in the middle of the night and grab a handful of Franken Berry to spite me!

I loved the commercials  (some of which may be found here: http://www.retroist.com/2008/10/29/monster-cereal-fun-facts-and-commercials/) and collected the various prizes inside the cereal boxes. One prize that I seem to recall having owned at one point or the other was the Franken Berry monster car, as seen below:

Monster cars.

Franken Berry and Count Chocula Monster Cars.

Apparently the cereals disappeared for a while but have been reintroduced several times in recent years, around Halloween, and with revamped character images and, unfortunately, revamped recipes. The originals were frosted, flavored oat cereals with marshmallows, like Lucky Charms, whereas the new cereals are some sort of corn cereal, and some of the flavors have changed as well. My cousin recently bought me a box of Franken Berry as a nostalgic treat, but upon serving myself a bowl, I found it to have the consistency of packing peanuts with a hint of strawberry, and the marshmallows were flavorless as chalk. I understand why they might want to revamp the cereals to suit modern tastes, but at least try to put some effort into making them palatable. I also miss the old familiar Franken Berry character, the new one looks too slick to me.

Monster Cereal's revamped images.

Monster Cereal’s revamped images.

However, I think the nail in the coffin for the last remnant of my childhood innocence was seeing Franken Berry’s cameo in the season 3 episode, “Breakfast Food Killer”, from the animated series Drawn Together, in a parody of the role of the Burt Reynolds character from Boogie Nights. I guess it’s true when they say one can never really go back to one’s childhood.

Franken Berry's cameo in the Drawn Together parody of Boogie Nights.

Franken Berry’s cameo in the Drawn Together parody of Boogie Nights.

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