Quisp, the propeller-headed alien full of quazy energy is the Cereal Hall of Fame's Cerealebrity of the Month. Since he made his first appearance in 1965 alongside his archrival Quake, Quisp has remained one of the most memorable cereal creatures of all time.
Quisp sprang from a noble cereal lineage. He was related to Bullwinkle the Moose, Rocket J. Squirrel, and Captain Crunch. All of these characters were created by Jay Ward and Bill Scott. Scott and Ward teamed up in 1959 to make cartoons in Los Angeles. Their first creation was the program Rocky and Friends. Though Ward and Scott created some of the most sophisticated animation of the 1960s, cereal companies paid their bills. Rocky and Bullwinkle were owned in part by General Mills. Quaker contacted Ward and Scott to come up with cartoon characters around which they could create a cereal brand. Ward and Scott came up with Captain Crunch in 1963. Two years later, they created this month's cerealebrity, Quisp.
Quisp was voiced by Daws Butler and championed "the biggest selling cereal from Saturn to Alpha Centauri." Scott and Ward might have been inspired in designing Quisp by the moon men Gidney and Cloyd who appeared earlier in Rocky and His Friends.
Quisp's rival was Quake (not related to the company name), a spelunking superhero in a hard hat and logging boots whose brawny arms and chest enabled him to swim at terrific speed through bedrock, particularly when angry. Voiced by Bill Conrad, who narrated Rocky and Bullwinkle, Quake came from the center of the earth, where he made his breakfast food "with deep-down sweetness and vitamins to give you the power of an earthquake."
While Quake brought brute strength to the table - he once broke open a granite cliff with his head - Quisp was agile and brainy. He once defeated a giant ball of yarn by knitting it into a necktie eighty-seven miles long. The focus of their "quazy" conflict was deciding who represented the better cereal. An "earthquake-powered cereal," the hard hat belched, "Quake is best!" Quisp flitted into the scene and chirped, "For quazy energy . . . Quisp is best!" The announcer, usually Paul Frees, invited viewers to decide: "Take sides with either - two new cereals from Quaker, sort of a breakfast feud."
Though the two cereals tasted virtually the same, Quake sales lagged far behind Quisp. "Quisp had a lot of better things going for him. He was light and happy and joyful and such. Kids liked him better than Quake," said Mike Barna, Quaker package designer at the time. Speculating on Quake's unpopularity, Max Lomont, a former Quaker art director observed, "It's fairly difficult to make somebody who comes out of the earth appealing."
"Quake always lagged behind," said Barna. Jay Ward and Bill Scott tried to lighten Quake's heavy image, but to no avail. He was eased off the shelves by a new product, Quake's Orange Quangaroos, promoted by Simon the Quangeroo, a bush-hatted spotted 'roo that jumped out of the Jay Ward/Bill Scott studios.
Quangaroos didn't last long, mainly because the cereal had a metallic aftertaste. With the final demise of his arch rival Quake, Quisp continued to fly high. "A lot of people have tried to kill Quisp but he survives," said Lomont. "He refuses to die." Though Quisp himself has disappeared from the cereal aisle, fans can still buy the cereal which once bore his likeness. The bargain priced breakfast food is packaged in plastic bags and sold under the name Quaker Sweet Crunch.
For further Quisp queries, contact Bill Crawford.
A Quazy Qusip Commercial MPEG
And a Quispy sound bite for Mac or PC.
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