Five More Cereals From Beyond The Grave.

Long ago, I wrote about five ancient cereal boxes from my personal collection. Later, I did it again. Since many of you seem to find great joy in the idea that I’m surrounded by decades-old food, I think we’ll go for the triple.

Here are five more cereals from beyond the grave:


Morning Funnies Cereal!
Year: 1988
Box Status: Still full & sealed!

Morning Funnies wasn’t around for long, indicating less success than the cereal probably deserved. While I wouldn’t argue that its rainbow mix of corn & oat happy faces gave kids a big reason to buy it, the boxes were just phenomenal, featuring characters from the bulk of the era’s newspaper strips.

In effect, Morning Funnies was less a cereal and more a massive crossover event, where where Dennis the Menace and Billy from The Family Circus matched wits with Hi and Lois. To punctuate the theme, the back of the boxes folded out into three page comic books, looking much like the Sunday comics in any of the time’s major newspapers.

(Unfortunately, our favorites strips — Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side — were missing from the party. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Watterson didn’t break his famous “no merchandising” rule just to get Hobbes next to Beetle Bailey on the back of a cereal box.)

There were at least eight different Morning Funnies boxes available, each with its own set of strips. If I’m remembering things correctly, the cereal came and went in a flash, indicating once and for all that Hagar the Horrible just isn’t much of a draw.


Hot Wheels Cereal!
Year: 1990
Box Status: Still full & sealed!

Sometimes, it’s all in the prize. Millions of kids had Hot Wheels cars, but only a small percentage of them identified as huge fans. So I don’t think Hot Wheels Cereal would’ve had much success on name alone. Nor do I think that the mix of lazy oat wheels and boring marshmallows — marshmallows that looked more like dying bats than cars — had any kids jumping for joy.

But here’s the thing. Every box came with a free Hot Wheels car. I don’t mean some bullshit prize that you had to mail away for, either. There were actual Hot Wheels cars inside of the boxes. Considering the era’s more typical premiums — plastic padlocks and two-packs of Life Savers Gummies — this was a big step up.

See, we recognized Hot Wheels cars as “toy store toys.” Real toys. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen toy store toys in cereal boxes. Best of all, Ralston included eleven different cars, so it wasn’t like you were going to keep getting the same Camaro Z-28 every time you bought a box. I have no love for the actual cereal, but as far as freebies go, this one is tough to beat.


Cabbage Patch Kids Cereal!
Year: 1985
Box Status: Still full & sealed!

…and with this, I’m one step closer to recreating the supermarket scene from Manhunter.

If you’re a bit younger than me, you missed the height of the Cabbage Patch Kids craze. It was every bit as wild as you’ve heard. Remember how Toys “R” Us used to have those little “cages” in the front of the stores, where you’d pick up the really expensive stuff that they didn’t want to leave out for shoplifters?

Well, when Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were on fire, some stores — including mine — actually kept them in there. This had less to do with shoplifting and more to due with preventing absolute customer pandemonium. While we could now name dozens of toys that caused bloody fights and unbelievable desperation, the Cabbage Patch line was the granddaddy of ‘em all.

Given the hysteria, you shouldn’t be shocked to learn that Cabbage Patch Kids had a cereal. Consisting of little crunchy rice faces that were supposed to look like Cabbage Patch Kids but more closely resembled sentient Moon Pies, this definitely wasn’t one of my preferred cereals back in 1985. I’m including it for the sake of those who understood Cabbage Patch lore better than I did.


Jurassic Park Crunch!
Year: 1997
Box Status: Empty.  😳

This is how you do a limited edition “based-on-something” cereal RIGHT. Jurassic Park Crunch had so much going for it! For starters, the whole box is covered bas-relief foil-enhanced highlights. If this was a comic book, you’d have to buy 10 copies.

Then there’s the cereal itself, stuffed with two-tone dinosaur marshmallows! (Yes, raptors are included.) These sorts of temp cereals aren’t always the best-tasting, but Jurassic Park Crunch was actually good. To the point where I’ve gotten quite a few messages over the years from readers seeking camaraderie on the “Jurassic Park Crunch was awesome” front. Okay, fine: Y’all were right.

Finally, an impressive bonus: Every box gave kids a chance to win a big time vacation. Instead of looking for some lame golden ticket, a winning box would roar at you after you opened it. Literally roar, by way of some electronic doodad stuffed inside one special box. God knows if anybody ever got to hear that roar, but the mere promise of potential was enough for most of us.

A box that roars. That’s even better than a Hot Wheels car!


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cereal!
Year: 1989
Box Status: This one’s empty, but I have others.  😎 

I’ve written about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cereal many times before, so I’ll only remind you that it was a strange mix of bootleg Chex and thematic marshmallows, and that I liked the idea of TMNT Cereal more than the taste of it.

The real reason I’m including this one is its special holographic box. TMNT Cereal was just one of several from Ralston that got the same treatment. (In an earlier article, I showed you Ghostbusters Cereal with the same bonus.) That’s a pretty major “get” even by today’s standards, and I doubt I was the only kid who cut those holograms off of the boxes, refusing to trash such gorgeous art.

Ralston also offered the same holograms on black t-shirts, and as I mentioned on Twitter earlier, not sending away for one is my single biggest regret. Just imagine wearing one of those to elementary school! Had I done so, my entire trajectory would’ve changed for the better. Like, maybe I wouldn’t be spending my 30s writing about old cereal.

Have a good weekend! If you don’t hear from me much, it’s because I’m building this month’s Funpacks. They’re going out early next week, so this is probably your last chance to get one!