Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cereal debuted in 1989 and lasted through late ‘92, which was pretty impressive for the kind of tie-in cereal that was usually only on shelves for a few months.
The Turtles’ own longevity partly explains it, what with their live action films and their ten thousand cartoons. Still, most of the credit should go to Ralston, which continually added enough weird shit to guarantee repeat customers.
Like, remember when Ralston gave away those plastic cereal bowls shaped like vivisected Ninja Turtles? Or when the company introduced pizza-shaped marshmallows and acted like they were more valuable than Mexican fire opals?
Or when they threw packets of HONEY OOZE into each box?
No, I’m serious. Look at the box. The Honey Ooze thing was totally real, and I’m going to spend the next 500 words gushing over it.
“Honey Ooze” — meant to resemble mutagen ooze — was just regular honey mixed with enough food dye to tint a hotel pool.
The idea was that you’d tear open the packet and draw things right on your cereal. Anyone who’s fumbled with Toaster Strudel knows that the gimmick works better in theory than practice, but if you’re a kid in 1991, there’s NO FUCKIN’ WAY you’re missing a chance to doodle slime green nonsense over a bowl of cereal.
Raphael also suggested using Honey Ooze to dress up toast, muffins, or “anything else that needed mega radicalizing,” which probably isn’t the terminology he’d choose in 2019.
In a final twist, Raph subtly pushed kids to pour Honey Ooze on themselves. (“It’s the totally tubular way to Turtlize your breakfast… or Turtlize yourself!”) It’s amazing how Ralston took something as inherently strange as HONEY OOZE and made it sound ten times weirder than it was.
I still have a packet of Honey Ooze, though at this point it’s neither ooze nor honey. Honey is celebrated as the food that never spoils, but I guess all bets are off if you mix the stuff with an equivalent amount of propylene glycol.
Since my packet of Honey Ooze is in no shape to do tricks, I used decorating gel instead. Imagine being a TMNT nut back in 1991, and getting the chance to do that to a bowl of cereal. You’d flip. You’d invite friends over to watch.
And yes, that’s a legit bowl of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cereal. I’d been saving a sealed box for a special occasion, and I can think of no occasion more special than recreating “Honey Ooze” with green decorating gel. I hope you appreciate my dedication, almost as much as I hope my neighbor didn’t notice when I set this up on the sidewalk this morning.
Thanks for reading my tribute to HONEY OOZE, a limited edition condiment for Ralston’s Ninja Turtles Cereal. (Shrug.)