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Awards and Honors - Page Twenty Six

I am extremely proud to display the awards and honors this site has earned.




Topher was the late night guest on February 13, 2012 on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 (Boston radio call-in show) with host Morgan White Jr.
Morgan White Jr.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030

November 26, 2012
Guest: Topher Ellis, Cereal Marketing Consultant, and Author of "The Great American Cereal Book"
For more info on Captain Crunch, Sugar Bear, Tony the Tiger, and all of your favorite cereal box celebrities, visit Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide.




Topher was the late night guest on February 13, 2012 on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 (Boston radio call-in show) with host Morgan White Jr.
Morgan White Jr.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030

February 13, 2012
Guest: Topher Ellis, Cereal Marketing Consultant, and Author of "The Great American Cereal Book"
For more info on Captain Crunch, Sugar Bear, Tony the Tiger, and all of your favorite cereal box celebrities, visit Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide.




Topher was the late night guest on August 13, 2010 on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 (Boston radio call-in show) with host Morgan White Jr.
Morgan White Jr.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030

August 13, 2010
Guest: Topher Ellis, Cereal Marketing Consultant
For more info on Captain Crunch, Sugar Bear, Tony the Tiger, and all of your favorite cereal box celebrities, visit Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide.




Star Tribune
We were included in an article in the Mineapolis - St. Paul newspaper, the Star Tribune.
February 9, 2006

A collection of sweet old cereal memories

In an extensive collection and magazine, a Duluth man documents the history of breakfast cereal.
by Matt McKinney, Star Tribune

The gang of cartoon characters who pitch breakfast cereal arrive at the nation's tables like a surreal menagerie: there's a pink-hued Frankenstein and several aliens, a floating blue ghost and Canadian mounties. There's a well-known leprechaun and a rabbit, at least two bumblebees and a werewolf, who in retirement has joined monkeys and porcupines and chocolaty brown elephants. There were, at one time, singing pieces of corn.

The sketched multitude behind the selling of sweetened grains is the life's work of Duluth's Robb Berry, who collects cereal boxes the way some people might dream of collecting the works of Matisse or Picasso.

The cherished pieces among Berry's 4,000 boxes include a 1975 Super Sugar Crisp, a 1969 Cocoa Krispies, dozens of vintage 1970s cereals no longer in production and, his precious, a box of 1976 Freakies cereal, unopened, with said Freakies still contained inside.

"I'm so proud of that one," Berry said.

Even as Berry celebrates the marketing behind breakfast cereal, others are moving to change it. A study requested by Congress last year determined that some food-marketing practices, including the use of cartoon characters, put children's long-term health at risk. Last month, a group of parents and activists said they plan to file a lawsuit against Kellogg Co. for advertising junk food on children's television programs.

If successful, the result might place even more value on the cereal boxes Berry has amassed.

Berry counts himself among the elite in his tiny world of cereal box collectors. He publishes a magazine, Planet-Q, that features breakfast-cereal trivia and interviews with the people who created some of the best-known marketing campaigns. An upcoming issue will feature an interview with Laura Lavine, the woman credited with creating the storyline behind the General Mills monster cereals.

Berry's collection has been in demand from writers and movie producers. And though he routinely turns down offers for pieces from his collection, he can assuage those who must have a token of their childhood with a laser-copied replica of most any box.

No eBay in 1980

Berry's obsession began as a lark in 1980, when he was a high school senior.

"I just decided, hey, why not cereal boxes?"

He organized his friends and family to help. He phoned collectors. He sought out the boxes that still held the "premiums" of old marketing campaigns: posters, rings, games, action figures.

This was before the Internet and eBay, whose founder started the online site as a way to sell the Pez candy dispensers he'd collected.

"For Robb, it's a lifetime endeavor," said Mike Doyle, a longtime friend. "He's been collecting ever since we were kids."

Berry counts an unopened, 1976 box of Freakies cereal, made by Ralston Purina, as his greatest find. The box survived for many years because it had fallen behind a shelf at an Eagle, Wis., grocery store. It was discovered years later and thrown out, but a savvy collector snatched it from the garbage and later auctioned it for $770.67 to a friend of Berry's.

To get the Freakies, Berry traded a collection of General Mills' monster cereal boxes, including a box of BooBerry cereal that he claims was the first off the assembly line from the cereal's 1973 debut.

More recently, Berry found a woman who was overseeing the eBay auction of the estate of her father, a Bellevue, Ill., man who collected napkins from McDonald's restaurants, beer cans, soda cans and cereal boxes, including a 1975 box of Super Sugar Crisp.

Berry paid $250 for it.

"I was pretty glad to pay that," he said.

Berry has tried to turn his obsession into a business. He opened a Toy Therapy store in Madison, Wis., in the early '90s, then relocated two years later to Richfield, where he opened Toy Galaxy. He sold the business in 1998, after he and his girlfriend moved to Duluth.

Though Toy Galaxy sold dozens of other collectibles, Berry said it was always the cereal boxes that struck people the most.

"It seems like the biggest jolt people get is when they rediscover some cereal thing that's long since passed," he said. "Some of these cereals were only out for two or three years, so it's embedded in their mind, that particular time in their life, and it didn't spill over into their adulthood."

Berry started Planet-Q two years ago, and it appears to have won a following among other collectors, including Topher Ellis, who has managed the website "Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide" since 1997.

"He loves the obscure and hard-to-find items -- which makes his magazine invaluable to cereal historians (I include myself here) as well as collectors," Ellis said in an e-mail interview.

Berry's rising stature among cereal history buffs has earned him opportunities to feature his collection.

He lent images and boxes from his collection to the producers of a film coming out later this year, "Flakes," which casts Christopher Lloyd, among others, in a story about a guy who sells cereal.

Berry's collection also is featured in "The Breakfast Cereal Gourmet," a cereal recipe and trivia book in which writer David Hoffman sprinkled images of Berry's collection of 1970s cereal boxes.

The hottest box going, according to Hoffman? A Nabisco cereal's Rice Honeys or Wheat Honeys, sold in the late 1960s embossed with the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" cartoon characters.

Collectors told him it's worth $2,000.

While many of Berry's prized boxes date back to the late 1960s and early '70s, the opportunity to add to the collection never stops: just last month General Mills unveiled Berry Lucky Charms, the latest iteration of its popular Lucky Charms cereal and only the third version of the cereal in 40 years.

There remain a few boxes Berry hopes to hunt down. He longs for a General Mills' Frosty O's with Dudley Do-Right parading across the box. "There's only two or three samples known to exist," he said.

And though he'd love to know which of nine toys lies inside his unopened box of Freakies, he doesn't dare open it for fear that it would lose much of its value. The result would likely be disappointing anyway.

He once opened an expired box of Kaboom! cereal intending to taste it. "It smelled just like Play-Doh," he said.

Reprinted by permission.




SITES COLLIDE

Topher was interviewed on Sites Collide.
Tyrel McMahan, the Producer of podcasting site "Sites Collide" out of Warsaw, Poland, interviewed Topher about Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide.




Collectibles Museums Online

We made the list at The Museum of Online Collectibles Museums.




Topher was the late night guest from midnight until 1:30 am on July 5, 2009 on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 (Boston radio call-in show) with host Morgan White Jr.
Morgan White Jr.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030

Sunday-into-Monday, July 5, 2009
Guest: Topher Ellis, Cereal Marketing Consultant
For more info on Captain Crunch, Sugar Bear, Tony the Tiger, and all of your favorite cereal box celebrities, visit Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide.




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