Reflections of My Sugar Coated Childhood

When I reminisce about my Wonder Years childhood, one of my favorite memories is Saturday morning television. Between my favorite Hanna Barbera cartoons, there were plenty of commercials to be found. With catchy jingles, memorable tag lines and colorful mascots, I was like many children across America, and I begged my mom top buy me these brands on her trip to Waldbaums or Key Foods supermarkets.

Today, we are so health conscious as a nation that many children do not get to eat sugar loaded cereals the way we Baby Boomers did. Cereals today are made healthier, with more whole grains added to them. Even with nutritional changes, I buy my three kids Frosted Flakes, but they are the organic kind, without the partially hydrogenated fats, artificial colors and flavors, and high fructose corn syrup.

There are no cereal mascots on the Trader Joe’s box that are in my pantry. But I grew up with many favorite ones that lined the cabinets in the kitchen of my Queens, New York apartment.

Here are my top cereal characters from my 1970’s childhood.

Tony the Tiger


Tony the Tiger has graced the front of the Frosted Flakes box since 1952, when he was the winner of the “Pick the Mascot” contest. Originally, he had a family, but soon they disappeared without a trace (much like Chuck, the eldest Cunningham son in Happy Days).

As we became more aware of the perils of too much sugar, that word was dropped from the Frosted Flakes box.  Tony also became more muscular.[1]  His catchphrase, “They‘re G-r-r-eat!” is still heard on commercials today.

Snap, Crackle and Pop


This trio of cereal mascots are as old as Grandma-they have been representing Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal since 1932 They are brothers, and they came to life when Vernon Grant heard the jingle on the radio and became inspired to create them.  When he brought the idea of these little gnomes to Kellogg’s, they fell in love with them. [2]

Over time, they lost their gnome-like appearance, their noses became smaller, and they became the characters we recognize today.

OMG! It's David Cassidy!

Tony the Tiger Halloween Costume

You'll look g-r-r-r-r-eat!

Rasta Imposta - Kellogg's Tony the Tiger Child Costume ~ Size 7-10
Amazon Price: $94.82 $38.80 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 3, 2015)
This costume is available in both children and adult sizes.

Cap'n Crunch

Quaker Oats

Captain Crunch set his sailed onto the supermarket shelves of America in 1963.  He was created by Jay Ward and the Captain and his crew set to conquer American children in his boat, The Good Ship Guppy.  He had a crew to help him along the way. [3]

Over the years, there have been several different flavors of Captain Crunch, but the original is still a favorite in households across the country.  He got lost at sea in 1985, but found land, and a new flavor of cereal, in 2011. [4]

Sugar Bear

Post Cereals

Can you imagine a cereal today being called “Super Sugar Crisp”? Or having a mascot called Sugar Bear?

Not in these health minded times!

That is one reason why Post Foods changed the name of the cereal to Golden Crisp. In fact, the original name of the cereal was Sugar Crisp, but in the 1970’s, it changed to Super Sugar Crisp. In 1986, it changed to Super Golden Crisp. [5]

In 2008, Consumer Reports found that this cereal had over 50% sugar by weight! [6] A dentist’s dream! 

Sugar Bear was not the original mascot of this cereal, but made his first appearance in 1963. His tagline was “Can’t get enough of that Sugar Crisp”.  He is known for his blue turtleneck sweater that "bears" his name.

Sugar Bear Was "Green" Before it Was Cool!

Lucky the Leprechaun

General Mills

General Mills was the first cereal manufacturer to put candy inside their product. [7]
How ingenious! They appeared on supermarket shelves in 1964 and the colorful marshmallow bits made kids love them! Over the years the kinds of sugary shapes has changed, but one thing has not-Lucky the Leprechaun (also know as Sir Charms).

Frosted Lucky Charms are magically delicious, or so Lucky claims. Kids are always after him and his cereal!

Lucky the Leprechaun Costume

Rasta Imposta Boys General Mills Lucky Charms Leprechaun Child Costume Green 7-10
Amazon Price: $94.82 $29.25 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 3, 2015)
This Lucky costume comes in several different sizes, including adult! Relive your childhood memories and carry a box of the cereal around as you go trick or treating.

Trix Cereal

General Mills

The Trix Rabbit never seems to get a break. All he wants is to eat some of his longed for cereal with all of it’s fruity goodness. Alas, every plot he attempted has failed since 1957, when he made his debut. [9]

However, the children of America finally gave him a break in 1976 and again in 1980. There was a mail in box top campaign to see if the kids would let him finally have his long desired treat. Both times, he won a bowl of Trix! So at least twice, the kids could not say “Silly Rabbit! Trix are for kids!”


Trix Rabbit Costume

Trix Rabbit Child Halloween Costume Size 7-10
Amazon Price: $50.00 $15.06 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 3, 2015)
Do you or your child want to go as a totally unique character? Then this is the one for you! It comes in several different sizes and your child's face can clearly be seen.

Toucan Sam


Follow my nose! It always knows! The flavor of fruit! Wherever it goes!

Sorry to get that jingle stuck in your head all day, but it is for a good reason-Fruit Loops! More artificially colored sugar filled breakfast food that kids today eat and in preschool classrooms across the country, string for fine motor practice.

Toucan Sam, the Fruit Loops mascot, made his appearance in 1963. [8]He is always in search of his favorite cereal…perhaps he needs to live closer to a supermarket!

With Real Fruit Flavors!

A Must Have Book for Lovers of Breakfast Cereal

Baby Boomers will love this!

The Great American Cereal Book: How Breakfast Got Its Crunch
Amazon Price: $49.88 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 3, 2015)
If you have fond memories of eating breakfast cereals that had toy surprises inside, this book is one that will take you down memory lane.

These lovable breakfast cereal mascots are a part of my history, as well as American pop culture for generations.  Do you have a favorite one from your childhood?