I wish Fruity Freaks was real.

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?

Our story starts with a site called Monster For Rent, where people can book a living, breathing, NINE FOOT FRANKENSTEIN to appear at parties and events. That’s officially the best thing I’ve ever heard. I strongly suggest that you pay them a visit, because the sight of Frankenstein on the job (e.g., promoting a supermarket by shaking hands with children in its produce section) is something that can warm the blackest heart and free the most burdened mind.

But Monster For Rent also doubles as a normal monster/horror blog, with random articles that aren’t worlds apart from the kind of stuff I do in October.

Which leads me to this:

A few years ago, they ran an article about the Monster Cereals, covering the same ground that everyone who writes about Monster Cereals covers. Except for this one part:

Fruit Brute (a werewolf) was released in 1974 and actually ran until 1983. Yummy Mummy took over for the fruity version of the cereal in 1987 but was also discontinued in the early 1990s. It appears (though I have no recollection myself) that General Mills even tried to pair these two with an “Invisible Man” character and called it “Fruity Freaks” at one point.

Uh, what?

What?!

FRUITY FREAKS?!

INVISIBLE MAN?!

My friend Jason shot me the link to this, pleased with his discovery. For a moment, I was elated. Then I realized that there was no freakin’ way I wouldn’t have known about this. I’ve been studying Monster Cereal history for like twenty goddamned years. Not once had I ever heard of Fruity Freaks.

But it was hard to deny, since Monster For Rent had a photo of the box. It was very small and very low-res — clearly a relic from the internet of the early 2000s. The problem was that I could find no other photos of Fruity Freaks anywhere online, save for a few Tumblr accounts that stole it from Frankenstein. More or less, Monster For Rent was the only resource for Fruity Freaks info.

My instincts told me that this was a Photoshop job. (More likely a Jasc Paint Shop job.) This theory was only bolstered by making the image bigger:

I wasn’t buying it, but believe me, I WANTED TO. The idea of Fruit Brute, Fruity Yummy Mummy and THE INVISIBLE MAN working as a team to gain General Mills the fruity success they’d sought for so long is simply incredible.

But the more I looked at this, the clearer the truth became. Someone swiped a photo of Fruity Yummy Mummy and dicked around with it for ten minutes. Ugh.

(Keep in mind, I’m not blaming Monster For Rent. #1, they kept their wording neutral and were merely repeating what they’d heard. #2, I’ll never blame Monster For Rent for anything, because they send Frankenstein to greet people at furniture stores.)

To be safe, I contacted General Mills about it. Here’s their response:

Case closed, I guess?

I’d love to be wrong about this. Getting egg on my face is a fair trade for proof of Fruity Freaks’ existence. But now, not only would *I* need to be wrong, but some lady from General Mills would, too.

So no, Fruity Freaks isn’t real. It never was.

But for those glorious five minutes when I was on the fence, the journey was so worth it.


99 Responses to I wish Fruity Freaks was real.

  1. I think I actually have vague memories of Fruity Yummy Mummy. We did have the Monster Cereals, usually Count Chocola, on rare occasions during my childhood. I doubt we ever talked my mother into him, but I may have seen him on the shelves.

    Too bad “Fruity Freaks” wasn’t real, but I don’t think General Mills would revive a character from 1974 who was barely remembered anyway. It was nice to hope, though.

  2. Are the monster cereals sold year-round in your area? All three of them used to be available year-round in my area (central Arkansas) till about four years ago. Since then, they only show up around Halloween. The only place I saw them in my city last year was at Walgreens, of all places.

  3. So, everyone already knows that “Fruit Brute” appeared in Pulp Fiction, right? Ok, just checking…

  4. The Frute Brute’s son is now the spokeswolf for Cookie Crisp. No really it was on the Internet so it must be true. I remember seeing commercials for Yummy Mummy and thinking “well they brought back Fruit Brute” I kinda liked it, reminded me of Fruity Pebbles mixed in with Lucky Charms style marshmellows. Little surprised they never brought this back even for Halloween for the nostalgia factor.

  5. I’m pretty sure Count Chocula’s available all year round. Frankenberry and Boo Berry are the ones I’m really not sure about. Those two probably are once a year.

  6. I am completely in agreement! I’ve wanted to like things as well, and I appreciate nesting for following conversations myself.

  7. The sad part, unfortunately, is I wasn’t entirely joking.

  8. whoa, Matt I haven’t commented in like 3 months but mang you caved and went all disqus on us eh? Big step man, big step.

    anyways, Gotta hand it to General Mills though, not only did she actually answer your question, but she did EXTRA CEREAL RELATED RESEARCH on top of it! So one of two things is going on here, either she was just feeling really nice that day or she too want to believe there was a sixth monster cereal and went the extra mile for her own personal gain and just happened to clue you in on it. The last option would be that she alone knows that the Freaks existed and she’s holding onto that knowledge because it cures cancer.

    that’s the one I want to believe.

  9. This is one of the best posts ever.

  10. I wish there was a Gill-man style monster cereal that turned milk into a putrid green swamp.

  11. Okay, now that’s just genius.

  12. Wow! Kudos to General Mills for the customer service. I remember Freakies from the late 80s/ early 90s, had no idea it was that old however. Commercial had aliens and surf rock or something similar.

  13. I remember Freakies cereal. My dad was the manager of a grocery store, so I was exposed to a lot of the cereals from the 80s. Speaking of Fruit Brute, I was watching Pulp Fiction the other day and it was the first time watching that I noticed the cereal that Lance the heroin dealing is eating during the OD scene was Fruit Brute.

  14. Speaking of forgotten cereal mascots, I just found out there was a Cap’n Crunch cereal called “Punch Crunch” and it had a hippopotamus sailor named Harry on the box. I just knew the Cap’n, the group of Soggies and their boss, and the Crunch Berries.

  15. Matt I love that you went all Sherlock on us, and not like the lame Sherlock from 1980s Masterpeice Theater, COOL Sherlock like Benedict Cumberbatch. Case closed!

  16. Where did they get that Invisible Man clip art? That’s the real question. I want that tattooed somewhere on me.

  17. If only I still had it…my grandma was crazy big into entering mail in sweepstakes when I was little and I have clear memories of my favorite beach towel she won in one contest I always used: a Fruit Mummy towel. It was him from the box and the logo spread wide across a white towel. And it was amazing. It stuck in my head cause he was better than Frankenberry because he was rainbow colors!

  18. Okay, I gotta say, I am overwhelmed. My name is Nathan Lee James, I’m a web-cartoonist and freelance illustrator living in Texas, and I am also the creator of the Fruity Freaks cereal concept, among others, from an article originally posted on the werewolfcafe.com website many years ago. Yes, I’m a professional artist with a degree in art, but that was a very early attempt at using a very crappy paint program to do some very quicky mock-ups, ha. It was just an article I wrote for fun over at the cafe. You can find my more recent stuff over on my webcomic website these days, http://www.Moonlightmotelcomic.com , but, I must say, in the past month, I’ve been overwhelmed by things I have been randomly finding about Fruity Freaks cereal, this little joke I made YEARS ago! I have even seen magnets of it being sold on Ebay! I only found this article tonight because I am researching for an article I’m writing myself to voice my excitement that General Mills IS actually bringing Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy back this Halloween season! I am very psyched about that, but I’m even more psyched to see how my silly cereal mock up has been going strong all these years without my knowledge! Thanks so much for spreading the gospel of Fruity Freaks! That cereal sooo good it never existed!

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