Today I’m gonna investigate seven ancient cereals… using old supermarket coupons as my guide. If you say you saw this coming, you are such a liar.
Considering how many people still talk about Ice Cream Cones Cereal, it’s hard to believe that it was so short-lived. According to Wikipedia, which for argument’s sake we’ll consider a reliable source for cereal info, Ice Cream Cones came out in 1987 and died in 1987, returning only briefly in 2003.
If that’s true, it stands to reason that many who remember the cereal so fondly never actually ate it. I fear I’m in that group, because I’d swear on a stack of Sears Wish Books that I had and loved Ice Cream Cones. How could I forgot those bowlfuls of chocolate Bugles and double-sized Cocoa Puffs?
It’s more likely that some of us just remember the commercials, which starred the incomparable Ice Cream Jones — a man who somehow converted half of his bicycle into a giant, self-serving box of cereal. (Now him I know I remember.)
Arriving in the early ‘90s, I may have been the only kid who actively sought out Triples Cereal. How can I describe it? Take the three flavors of Chex and put them in a single bowl, but morph the shapes into what were essentially engorged ticks. Of course, that’s not how General Mills pitched it.
The commercials starred adult actors, lending credence to the theory that I was the only person under 18 who ever ate Triples. Assuming that the rest of you stuck with Lucky Charms, you really missed out! It was like eating quartered bits of popcorn blessed with hints of artificial sweetener. (General Mills never pitched it that way, either.)
I’ve already covered Gremlins Cereal, but the chance to share its old supermarket coupon certainly merits one last horse-beating. I was obsessed with this stuff as a kid, owing to my blood oath to be obsessed with anything involving Gizmo.
Basically Cap’n Crunch but shaped like terrifying monsters, a lot of money was invested in Gremlins Cereal. Its commercial starred what I believe was a movie-used Gizmo puppet, which would’ve been enough of a hard sell even without the notion that everyone who ate Gremlins Cereal would immediately sprout rubber Mogwai ears. JEEZ.
I was too focused on the more sugary and colorful cereals to ever bother with Sun Flakes, but I sure do remember it. Even as a kid, it struck me as an impossibly generic brand that looked more like a prop from a rare Saved by the Bell kitchen scene than something people could actually buy from the store.
…and with that train of thought, it’s fitting that the old Sun Flakes commercial is so saccharine and hokey that you’d almost swear it was a parody. Seriously, watch it. It’s like a SNL sketch without the reveal.
Pay close attention the family at the end, and how they all nod at each other after downing spoonfuls. As if they’d mutually agreed to silently confirm their shared Sun Flakes affinity before sitting at the table. You can tell it was Mom’s idea, because she’s really into her affirmative nodding.
Oh, Ripple Crisp was good. The cereal was like Ruffles potato chips, only smaller and sweeter and thicker and not at all made from potatoes. Extremely Ruffles-like.
I used to pretend that the ripples in the cereal pieces designated new “areas,” and chomp my way through like a slow-but-steady alien invader. Enjoy this admission while it lasts, because once I sober up, it’s absolutely getting deleted.
The best thing about Ripple Crisp was its box design, which subtly evoked a New Year’s Eve party. The second best thing about Ripple Crisp was its first commercial, which was made with so little faith in the obtuse concept that General Mills only barely stopped short of using Venn diagrams to explain it.
Yes, there was such a thing as Cracker Jack Cereal. Despite being no more offensive than a caramel version of Cocoa Puffs, I never partook. (Kinda hated Cracker Jack as a kid. Still not a big fan. When I buy those triple-flavor popcorn tins around Christmas, I’m always pissed at how caramel gets half of the real estate while the other two only get fourths. PEOPLE WANT MORE CHEESE.)
And yes, the same prizes you dug out of regular Cracker Jack boxes were often found in Cracker Jack Cereal. It wouldn’t have stood a chance without retaining that gimmick.
Sold at scattered points in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, I’d wager that S’mores Crunch was at least as popular as any other cereal on this list. Consisting of tiny chocolate graham crackers and marshmallows that were unusually robust for cereal, S’mores Crunch practically begged to be eaten dry. I’m anti-milk in general, but this truly was one the definitive cereals for eating straight out of the box.
I just noticed that none of the coupons featured here have an expiration date. Now all I need is a shady deli with a laissez-faire attitude towards everything that isn’t cold cuts.