Everyone loves to eat, right? If eating is wrong, I don't want to be right. In the 60's, food was just as wonderful as it is now. I remember growing up with commercials; if it was on TV, then it was important. Commercials guided our lives. Television was highly influential, so naturally, 60's advertising was as rich as the food we ate, the cars we drove, the appliances we used, and the services we relied upon. As a kid, candy and cereal would be the most important-and balanced-meals of the day. You had to balance your sugar with crunch; your crunch with caramel; your caramel with coating, and on and on. clanky syrup One of my earliest memories is of "Clanky Syrup" chocolate syrup. Cereal commercials were great, and my brothers and I looked forward to them almost as much as the cereal itself. Post cereals were among my favorite commercials. As far as eating went, I was a big Kelloggs fan. Rice Krinkles were sublime; Trix were pure Heaven; Rice Krispies were delicious and snap-crackle-n'-popped in our mouths. Cocoa Krispies were so good that I could've eaten myself to death with them. I also loved Sugar Crisp, and Sugar Bear with his Bing Crosby voice was classic. Remember Granny Goodwitch?
Listen to the old Sugar Crisp commercial!
Starting the Day Off Right
In the 60's, breakfast cereal was the market to be in! It seemed like a new brand came out every week, and each one looked better than the one that came before it. It seemed impossible to keep up with the new brands that came out. It was like breakfast cereal companies were engaged in their own sorts of space race with each manufacturer trying desperately to get theirs to the top tier of the market first.
Saturday and Sunday mornings were the best times for cereal. There were lots of great TV shows on, and I had all the time in the world to settle in and eat. Among my favorite treasures growing up were my plastic cowboy hat cereal bowl and cowboy boot milk cup. Of course, I was much younger then and my fascination for them gradually waned as I grew closer to first grade. I eventually graduated to a regular bowl just like my brothers. As I grew, so did the enticing list of breakfast cereals in the world. The variety of 60's breakfast cereal is, in fact, is so overwhelming, that I couldn't begin to list each one here.
I did have my favorites like everyone, and often they would be accompanied by a glass of chocolate milk courtesy of Nestle's Quik. Another novelty that I was crazy for was the plastic robot container of Clanky chocolate syrup to put in milk. Often mom would make us wait for an hour after breakfast before having the milk, but then sometimes we were up much earlier than she was! My dad was a very early riser and preferred to hide out in his shop. (Who could blame him?)
What genius could have possibly come up with the idea of free toys inside the cereal boxes? These were the best things ever! Some had to be sent away for with either a small amount of money, or several box tops. These offers added a new expression to my youthful dictionary: "Proof of Purchase". My greatest acquisition was a Matchbox Motorcycle, a new toy that hadn't yet been released on the market. I collected Matchbox cars like a madman, and naturally had to have this new one. The free stuff had no limit; coloring books, puzzles, collectible cards and more came inside these boxes.
Saturday Morning Commercials
Saturday moring TV waged an all-out assault on we kids' psyches; newer cereal commercials were crawling out of the advertising woodwork. Must haves like Quisp, Quake, Lucky Charms, Apple Jacks were added to mom's weekly shopping list. Old favorites like Capt. Crunch were always being improved and had such wonders as crunchberries! If that wasn't enough, a wonderfully new breakfast innovation happened: Pop Tarts! Pop Tarts were the greatest things I'd seen in years. Strawberry and blueberry were my favorite flavors. Straight from the toaster, and steamy hot, these were great on cold winter mornings before heading out the door to school. Pop Tarts came into our household between 1965 and 1966.
Not always available on the store shelves was my favorite cereal: Rice Krinkles It's hard to describe these for anyone who may not remember them, but they were flavored like Rice Krispies, only coated with a sweetened flavor. I think the cereal with it's loveable Chinese mascot So-Hi was discontiued in the latter sixties. It was still my favorite, and got lots of advertising on the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show and of course, one of my favorite programs Fractured Fairy Tales. I can't even think about Boris & Natasha without recalling Rice Krinkles. These wonderful breakfast cereals, along with their colorful boxes, and greater advertising gimmicks have a special place in my heart as they were as much of me as anything could be.