You’ve all heard of Count Chocula, Franken Berry and Boo Berry. The “Monster Cereals.” Many of us grew up on them. Those who didn’t can at least count on ‘em to turn up every Halloween season, in progressively smaller boxes at progressively higher prices.
But among the trio’s fans are a more dedicated group of super fans. People who don’t just “like” Count Chocula, but need to buy several Count Chocula bobbleheads. I’m one of those people. People like us enjoy the cereals much like anyone else would, but we’re even bigger on the lore. The history.
For starters, there’s a pair of extinct monster cereals.
Fruit Brute debuted in 1974. It was a colorful blend of fruit-flavored cereal, fronted by a werewolf who wore rainbow-striped overalls. I guess there was too much competition from Trix and Froot Loops, because the cereal lasted less than a decade.
But General Mills is a stubborn beast. By 1988, they were ready for Round 2. Fruity Yummy Mummy was basically the same as Fruit Brute, except for the mascot: A mummy wrapped in multicolored bandages. Fruity Yummy Mummy was not a major success, and by 1993, General Mills finally gave up on a “generically fruity” Monster Cereal.
Empty boxes of Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy cost small fortunes on the collectors’ market, which drives me nuts, as I distinctly remember a shady local deli selling Fruity Yummy Mummy well into the late ‘90s. (Shady delis do not always abide by expiration dates. I found cans of early ‘80s Pac-Man Pasta at one, and that was in May of 2000.)
I should’ve stockpiled some of that cereal. Damn.
Now, nothing I’ve written so far will come as a surprise if you know anything about Monster Cereals. For uncommon people, this is common knowledge. But what if I told you that there was actually a SIXTH Monster Cereal, so rare that I could only find one single photo of it online? Read More…
It’s time for the second edition of The Popsicle Parade!
In Part 1, I beat you over the head with ten different historically significant desserts. This time, I’ll be gentler to us both and only cover five. Moving forward with #11-15!
If you’ve never heard of this, you haven’t spent much time pawing at ice cream truck windows. There are many variations to the Screwball, with the only consistent trait being an inedible, conical cup. But the kind shown above is the true classic.
That Screwball was/is a cone filled with super sugary water ice, usually flavored like raspberry or cherry. (Raspberry more often; cherry when the gods were smiling upon you.) Absolutely delicious. Like an Italian ice, but a bit softer and way sweeter.
The real attraction was the gumball. At the very bottom of the plastic cone, a frigid gumball waited for its excavation. Trapped under ice for God knows how long, these gumballs developed a mouthfeel completely apart from their room temperature cousins.
They were like indestructible snowballs, imbued with artificial flavors. Yeah, those flavors were frost-paled and never lasted long, but by that point, you’d already eaten a whole cone of syrupy water ice. Really, you were only chewing the gum because the whole point of a Screwball was to find the gum.
These victories netted no trophies, but we were still proud. Read More…
I made the mistake of trying to tidy up my office.
It’s always a mistake! My entire life exists as a series of boxes and bins. Once I start going through those, there’s no end to the madness. What was only meant to be a gentle reorganization has transformed my sanctuary into an imploded pawn shop.
I’m desperately trying to restore order, but everything I do only makes things worse. I’ll try to consolidate two boxes into one, but all that does is spread the contents of both boxes across my floor, with the items so impossibly scattered that I still think unseen ghosts are ribbing me.
Maybe everyone goes through this, but not everyone has the kinds of things I do. Truth be told, there’s just no perfect spot for a three foot inflatable Kool-Aid Man.
All I can do is keep stacking things until I’ve at least made paths the necessary spots. Right now, I can get from the door to my computer desk, but if I want to reach the air conditioner, I’ll need to climb over:
– The Dinosaur Dracula Christmas statue.
– A 30” “Tiffany” doll from Bride of Chucky.
– A box that once held the very air conditioner I’d be trying to get to, but now holds four dozen empty soda cans.
– And so much more!
The bright side? I’m rediscovering so many treasures. I’m a collector of everything. I can’t keep track of it all. I don’t even remember how I came to own some of these things. It’s like they just appeared from nowhere. Maybe “old crap” reproduces sexually? When I’m not looking, my empty can of Pac-Man Pasta mates with Metroplex, and later births a litter of Lazer Tag party plates?
I’ll use this short break from cleaning to rattle off some of my finer finds: Read More…
Sorry for the light week! Been busy sorting some stuff out. I’ve also preparing for this:
Yep, somehow, nearly a year has flown by! June 1st marks Dinosaur Dracula’s 1st birthday, and if I were you, I’d check the site on that day. Put the candles on the cake!
I pulled myself out the muck just long enough for a new video. It’s about one of the greatest Transformers figures ever. Meet METROPLEX:
Metroplex was a giant robot who transformed into an entire Autobot city, stuffed with alcoves and doodads. He even came with three additional Autobot allies! I’d tell you more, but that’s what the video is for.
And yeah, I made one error in there. “Six-Gun” is named “Six-Gun” because he’s actually composed of six guns. (Also, I guess you could count calling Hound appropriately sized for Metroplex as a second error, but then you’re just nitpicking.)
Here’s a giant photo of Metroplex, for no good reason:
Surely you remember Cinn*A*Burst!
The legendary gum was Warner-Lambert’s attempt to do battle with Wrigley’s Big Red. How on Earth did they lose that war?!
Cinn*A*Burst hit the scene in September of 1991, just as I was entering the seventh grade. I hated all of middle school, but the seventh grade was a special kind of awful.
I was awkward and unpopular. I wore terrible clothes. My hair looked like the world’s biggest mushroom cap. My primary modes were “easy to ignore” and “easy to target.”
I mention this not to be maudlin, but because Cinn*A*Burst was actually my best weapon against the perils of junior high. In the seventh grade, you could buy your way out of plenty of trouble with the right gum.
Cinn*A*Burst was infused with “flavor crystals,” giving it a boost of candied spice and an oddly pleasant crunch. Everybody loved Cinn*A*Burst. At least, every kid in my junior high school did.
Five days a week, I’d bring at least six packs of it to school with me. Generally speaking, the kids I might’ve had issues with chose to let me live… as long as I shared my gum. I was like Augustus with his corn doles, only instead of becoming a beloved ruler, my reward was to not get punched in the ear.
I don’t know exactly when Cinn*A*Burst stopped being made, but it did. By then, I wasn’t paying attention. This amazing gum that meant so much for my mouth and social status went out with a whimper, and I’ll forever regret not being there during its time of need. All I can do now is help to keep the memory alive.
To jog your memories, below are examinations its five best TV commercials: Read More…
Playmates’ original collection of Ninja Turtles toys survived for longer than you might’ve noticed, because if you’re around my age, you probably outgrew five-inch Donatellos before the rest of the world did.
It’s a shame, because as the line entered its final years, Playmates made some desperate but creative attempts to keep those Turtles afloat. Objectively speaking, many of the collection’s best figures came out near the end.
Here’s one example:
Believe it or not, this existed! “Sumo Raphael,” released in 1995, was just one of the seemingly countless revamps to the main Turtles, who by that point had been everything from astronauts to cowboys to Universal Monsters. I always preferred unique characters to the endless Ninja Turtle revisions, but when they worked, they really worked.
And a big-bellied Raphael with Yokozuna’s hair? Yeah, that really worked. Read More…