The Boxtop - Cereal Netletter
Volume 2, Number 4 April 2000

Welcome to "The Boxtop", your cereal netletter. Grab your favorite box of cereal and pour yourself a bowl. Entire page will load in 32 seconds on a 28.8 connection. Select a topic from among the links on the Side Panel or jump right into one of our feature articles. Just add milk and enjoy!

We'd like to offer you a Free Subscription to get e-mail notices of each new issue. Your comments and suggestions are encouraged.

Side Panel

Monthly Ingredients
Cereal Review
Feature Articles
Reader's Poll
Reader's Poll Results
What's New in Cereal?

Perpetually Updated
Cereal Ratings
Cereal Ideas
Letters to the Editor

Meet the Staff
Topher Ellis, Editor

Back Issues
Complete Index

Favorite Cereal Links

Free Subscription

Stuck in a Frame?
Click to Break Free

Privacy Policy
And Ethics Code

And Other Legal Stuff



Reader's Poll
What is your favorite type of cereal?

Corn Flakes
Granola / Multigrain
Oat Shapes
Puffed Rice
Wheat Flakes

See May 2000 Issue for Poll Results
Back To The Top
April 2000 Index

Character Profile: Cap'n Crunch
The Post Cereal Man Only Knocks Once
What Is A "Cerealist"?
Cereal Review - General Mills Basic 4
Reader's Poll - What is your favorite type of cereal?
Reader's Poll Results - Do you add sugar to your cereal?
What's New in Cereal? Kellogg's Pokemon Cereal

Character Profile: Cap'n Crunch
by Topher
Capn CrunchCap'n Horatio Crunch was created in 1963. He is a fun-loving sea captain whose current orders are to make consumers more aware of his cereal.

He wears a blue captain's uniform adorned with gold trim, and a large blue captain's hat upon which a large gold "C" is embroidered. He has been entrusted with the helm of the "S.S. Guppy", which he sailed with his first mate, Seadog, and his crew of four kids: Alfie, Carlyle, Dave, and Brunhilde.

Their original mission was to keep the cargo hold of cereal from falling into the hands of Jean La Foote the Barefoot Pirate. Through the years, Cap'n and Crew encountered a large number of friends and foes. Many went on to represent their own cereals within the Cap'n Crunch line.

These included: Harry S. Hippo (Punch Crunch), Jean Lafoote the Barefoot Pirate (Cinnamon Crunch), Wilma the White Whale and Seadog (Vanilly Crunch), Chockle the Blob, a shape-shifting blob of chocolate chip cookie dough (Choco Crunch), Crunchberry Beast (Crunch Berries), Smedley the Elephant (Peanut Butter Crunch), Tugboat Granny (Cap'n Crunch's Instant Hot Cereal), Shark and Turtle (Deep Sea Crunch), Magnolia Bulkhead and Otis, The Soggies, and Jean Lafoote's son.

The Cap'n is still missing! He disappeared in 1985, and again in 1999. We expect he'll be found late this Spring. Some think Horatio's mind went out with the tide, and has been barnacle-encrusted for years. Fans of Cap'n Crunch think it's high time the Cap'n got a promotion. We'll see what's in store for the Cap'n when he returns.

Back To The Top

The Post Cereal Man Only Knocks Once
by Dan W. Mabey

I stood in terror, surrounded by 3 of the most powerful authority figures of the early 1960's. My 11 year-old legs shook as sweat cascaded from my forehead, momentarily paused at my eyebrow, and beaded just before making its stinging entrance into my dilated pupil. I had been marched to the scene of the crime by my mother, who alternately glared at me and the repugnant object of attention, consisting of a pile of cereal flakes, morsels and nuggets hugging the dirt of the vacant lot. Mr. Neidermeir, the Bella Vista Elementary School principal, stood stoically silent. And one of the Montebello Police Department's finest, who I didn't even dare venture a name, peered at me from underneath the brim of his cap, arms folded and legs parted. I was in BIG trouble.

I was a good kid, I kept thinking to myself. And I didn't do any harm to anybody. After all, it was my lunch money, wasn't it? Sure, 35¢ a day sounded like a lot when you multiplied it by 5. But it wasn't that I was wasting money. You see, I needed those cards. And I just knew that, some day, those cards on those cereal boxes would be worth tons of money. And if I didn't get them soon, they'd be gone -- FOREVER!

It seemed like a fool proof plan. Instead of spending the whole 35¢ on a cafeteria box lunch, I would just buy a carton of milk. Then I'd gulp it down at lunch and it would get me through my 5th grade class until the end-of-school bell rang at 3:00. I'd dart out of Building A, Room 2 to the Little Food Shop located kitty-corner to Bella Vista Elementary. I'd say "hi" to Yosh the Butcher, make my way to the cereal and cheap toy aisle, and excitedly sort through the brightly colored boxes of Post cereal with my baseball heroes on the back. Upon seizing a box with my favorite (or simply needed) players, I'd saunter to the check stand, put a quarter and nickel with my box on the counter, and greet Keiko. Keiko would smile, remark about the family "eating a lot of cereal" in her mysterious Japanese accent, give me my change, and place my treasure in a plain brown grocery bag with a receipt.

As soon as I stepped out of the mom and pop grocery, the adrenalin was flowing. Only 20 steps on the sidewalk were necessary to clear the front of the store, and a quick left turn through the opening of a fenced area placed me on the large dirt vacant lot that served as an easement (whatever THAT was!) for Southern California Edison. The lot was the shortcut to my house, and a cavalcade of buzzing sounds from the overhead power lines and broken bottles, rocks, discarded Topps bubble gum cards, and newspaper, magazine and comic book remnants. It was the perfect site to complete execution of my plan.

I'd veer toward the back of the Little Food Shop back gate and there, in privacy, remove the cereal box from the brown bag. With sweaty palms, and always on the lookout for interlopers, I would run my index finger under the top flap of the Rice Krinkles, Sugar Crisp, Alpha-Bits, or Sugar Coated Corn Flakes and strategically separate the glue from the cardboard. Then, with surgical precision, I would slip the palm of my right hand inside the box and gradually attempt to dislodge the inner plastic liner housing the cereal from the glued cardboard. With this delicate operation complete, I'd pull the plastic liner from the box, rip open the bag, shake the contents onto the dirt, and toss the liner into the oversized trash bin. Finally, I'd tear the box bottom open -- careful not to crease or rip the card panel, collapse the entire box, and stuff it into my blue cloth-covered 3 ring binder.

Once home I'd sneak into the sewing cabinet, remove my mom's best scissors, and stride to my bedroom to do homework. There, I'd remove the box from the school binder and employ the patience and care in cutting the cards that only a fellow Virgo can appreciate. The instructions said cut straight along the black lines. I did one better. I cut each card outside the black lines. And at 6 to 7 cards per day, by the second week I had amassed almost one-third of the set. And Don Hancock, Ray Udell and Don Haar were real jealous!

So, where did my plan break down? No, it wasn't the 2 Dons or Ray. It was a combination of things, attributable to the close community that existed back in 1962. To start with, my Aunt Virginia worked in the school cafeteria and lived five doors down the block. Second, my dad worked for Swift Co. and delivered meat to Yosh the Butcher. And finally, good ol' Mr. Neidermeyer made it a point to carefully observe the behavior of his students. At just about the same time, my aunt asked my mom if she had started "packing Danny's lunches" [she wasn't], Yosh and Keiko good naturedly commented that "your 3 boys sure must go through a lot of cereal" [we didn't], and at a PTA meeting Mr. Neidermeier gently took my mother aside and delicately offered the "availability of a free lunch program for families in need" [she was aghast as we weren't].

So, here I stood. My reputation soiled. A disgrace to my community. Deceiving my parents. Embarrassing my hard working dad and mom. And having littered on private property. I thought it couldn't get any worse than that. But I was wrong. Today, a "no name" 1962 Post cereal baseball card in near mint condition goes for $3. The stars go for $25 to $150. Uncut panels sell for hundreds of dollars, while unopened boxes fetch up to $1,000. With my childhood plan, today I could have been a wealthy man. With a $7 a month investment from April through September 1962, my $42 investment would have yielded 720 cards from 120 different boxes. You do the math. And to think that what foiled my entrepreneurial spirit and success was a close and caring community of family, friends, teachers, and civic leaders. Hmmm. Maybe it wasn't so bad after all! Keep me posted.

Back To The Top

What Is A "Cerealist"?
by Topher

Cerealist: (noun)
  1. A cereal enthusiast.
  2. Someone who really enjoys eating cereal.
  3. Someone who really enjoys cereal culture.
  4. A student of cereal history, culture or cereal icons.
  5. Someone enjoys working for a cereal manufacturer or an advertising agency cereal account.
  6. Someone involved in the advancement of cereal grains and products.
  7. A cereal or grain pioneer.
Feel free to e-mail me with your nominations of history's greatest "cerealists"!

Back To The Top

Cereal Review
by Topher

General Mills Basic 4 Cereal

Basic 4 Basic 4 is self-described as "a delicious blend of sweet and tangy fruits, crunchy nuts, and a wholesome variety of grains". I can't fault that description. It's all true. The fruits include: dried cranberries, dried apples, dried plums (prunes), and dried grapes (raisins). The crunchy nuts are: almonds and walnuts. The wholesome variety of grains includes (in one form or another): corn, barley, oats, wheat, and rice.

"Basic 4" may have been a good cereal to include in our March Issue's article on Frankenstein Cereals. General Mills has thrown everything into this box except, to their credit, frosting and marshmallows. The cereal is clearly aimed at adults.

"Basic 4" stays crispy to the bottom of the bowl, and it's not too sweet either. Problem is, the combination doesn't work. While the individual components might thrive, together they die. My first-bite reaction was "yuck". (Not exactly the reaction which inspires executives to bring a cereal to market).

I finished the bowl anyway. "Basic 4" did improve as I got used to it, but not enough to encourage me to eat a second bowl anytime soon. Don't get me wrong, it's no where near as bad as Post Oreo-O's. You could do worse. This could be better.

Back To The Top

What's New In Cereal?
by Topher

Kellogg's Pokemon

PokemonKellogg's "Pokemon" Cereal, a toasted-oat cereal with Pokemon-shaped marshmallow bits, will be introduced within the next couple of months. Kellogg's is apparently going to aggressively market the Pokemon theme, tying an estimated 15 of their cereals into a comprehensive Pokemon promotion.

Although information has been limitied, it appears that the cereal will feature only four marshmallow shapes: Ditto (pink), Pikachu (yellow), Poliwhirl (blue), and Oddish (green). Other than the immensely popular Pikachu, I am curious how they chose the other three. There are currently over 150 Pokemon from which to choose, with another 150 being released, it is interesting that Kellogg's chose Poliwhirl over Mew or Mewtwo, Ditto over Charizard, and Oddish over Togepy.

Wouldn't it be really cool if they included a spoon-sitter or Pokemon figure in each package? Hey Everyone! Catch all 150!

We've been asking for a Pokemon cereal now for over a year. Given that Pokemon has been a hot item for over two years in the United States, we have to wonder why it took any cereal manufacturer so long to get this product to market?

It seems to us that Ralston, prior to being acquired by General Mills in 1997, would have had this cereal out in a heartbeat. Ralston was known for being quick to release cereals with ties to current fads. Remember Cabbage Patch Kids, Ghostbusters, Nintendo, Donkey Kong, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Gremlins, and Spiderman to name a few? Ralston milked them all. In a departure from Kellogg's normal long-term commitment to its cereal products, the Pokemon cereal is being issued as a "limited edition".

Send Us Your News
If you notice anything new in your supermarket cereal isle, or wish to report a new cereal development, please e-mail us. We'll give you credit for your information, or keep it confidential, at your request. Thank you.

Back To The Top

Reader's Poll Results
Do you add sugar to your cereal?
Seldom or Never! 47%
Only if the cereal isn't already frosted! 42%
Almost always. Bring it on! 11%
This is an unscientific survey based upon 23 voluntary responses in our March 2000 Reader's Poll.

Back To The Top

E-Mail the Editor
We appreciate any comments you may have.
© 1999 - 2000 Topher All rights reserved.

Disclaimers and Other Legal Stuff
The Boxtop is a non-commercial publication. It is not affiliated with or endorsed by any cereal or company. All of the names, characters, brands, and icons included here are trademarks of their respective parent companies and cannot be used for commercial purposes. Enjoy breakfast and support your favorite characters!
Opinions expressed are those of the writer, which like most things having to do with cereal may not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Editor, anyone else on the staff, or the world at large. A good sense of humor is appreciated.
Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the Editor.
All information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness.
"The Boxtop", "Crunchy Nuggets for the Cerealist", "Cerealist", "Cereal Netletter", "Topher's Castle", "Topher's Castle - A Great Site for Everyone", "Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide", "Breakfast Cereal Character Guide", and "Cereal Character Guide" and our masthead graphics are all trademarks of Topher.

Back To The Top

Welcome to Topher's Castle - A Great Site for Everyone!