The Boxtop - Cereal Netletter
Volume 6, Number 2 Late Summer 2004

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Late Summer 2004 Index

Character Profile: Trix Rabbit
Once Upon A Dime...
Great Ideas For A New Cereal
Part of this Complete Breakfast
Cereal Manufacturers Are Missing Another Fantastic Opportunity
Cereal Review - Kellogg's Fruit Harvest Banana Berry Cereal
What's New in Cereal?
  • Kannufrutestoneahhappeyleef...
  • Cereal Restaurant Chain Opens First Store
  • Planet-Q! The Cereal Collectors Magazine
  • Finding Nemo Cereal
Send Us Your News

Character Profile: Trix Rabbit
by Topher
TrixFirst appearing on cereal boxes in 1960, this large white rabbit originally raced around trying to get some raspberry red, lemon yellow, and orange orange Trix corn-puffed cereal to eat. "Trix. The corn cereal with the natural taste of fruit". Trix Rabbit was originally voiced by Delo States.

Two kids, a boy and a girl, always catch him before he can eat the Trix. "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids". (The Trix Rabbit twice got to eat a bowl of Trix. Once in 1976, and again in 1980 following a box-top voting campaigns).
The Trix Rabbit and the slogan "Trix are for kids" were created by Joe Harris in August 1959. Here are Joe's own words: "I created the Trix Rabbit in its entirety, including copy, character and storyboard, in August of 1959 one Sunday night. It was done at the request of the copy supervisor for General Mills at our ad agency, Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, who said, 'They're looking for an identity for this brand. Why don't you see what you can come up with over the weekend?'"

"The first storyboard is dated August 4, 1959. It was presented to the Mills and approved for production within the month. I went ahead to supervise its animation at the production house of Gifford Kim. Because in those days there was little crossover between writers, storyboarders and production people, it posed a dilemma. Back then, artists weren't supposed to write, writers weren't supposed to draw and producers were only called in only at the end of the creative process."

"As a result of the success of the commercial, the little-known Trix brand suddenly leaped into the national consciousness and became one of General Mills' best sellers. My line, 'Trix are for kids' became a countrywide mantra. It still is, 43 years later. I believe it may be that Trix is one of the oldest, if not the oldest commercial in existence to have sustained itself with the same character, the same selling line and the same plot since I created it.
" Thank you, Joe.

In 1992, puffed fruit-shaped pieces replaced the round ball cereal pieces. In addition, 4 new flavors were added: grapity purple, lime green, wildberry blue, and watermelon. In 1995, the colors became brighter.

In mid 2003, the Trix Rabbit was removed from boxes of Trix during a "Solve The Great Trix Train Robbery" promotion. In his place appeared one of five suspects: Willy Gettum, Bunny O'Hare, F. Rudy Flavors, "Wild" Barry Blue, and Sally Rabbit ("Trix are for kids"). He's now back, of course, and with some great graphic design work the Rabbit almost hops of the box and into your grocery cart. To see what's happening with the Rabbit for Summer 2004, see "What's New In Cereal?" below.

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Once Upon A Dime...
by John C. LaMonte
"Who's Tom Mix?" The question came from a young executive with the firm that had just printed my new book, "Once Upon A Dime...". He was looking over a copy of the 32-page, full-color work and seemed very impressed. Now it was my turn to be impressed --- or more rightly distressed --- by his comment. This book was coming out and not a second too soon!

I shared this anecdote a few days later with members of SPERDVAC (the Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety and Comedy) who had gathered on a Saturday afternoon to listen to our presentation covering the film career of Tom Mix and the kids' adventure radio show it inspired, "The Tom Mix Ralston Straight Shooters". I welcomed the opportunity to reach an audience of folks dedicated to promoting old time radio.

My wife Joanne and I, assisted by our son Johnny, have been spreading the word for several years now. We've brought our hour-long show to the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, the William S. Hart Museum, and dozens of local service clubs and schools in southern California. Always the aim has been to re-create the enchantment of growing up in a time when radio was magic and its straight shooting heroes inspired us to play fair and excel.

That's not to say there wasn't a commercial aspect to it all back then. Sure you were coaxed to buy your hero's favorite breakfast cereal, but then you could send in a box top and 10 cents and get --- more magic!

We shared with the SPERDVAC folks some of our scores of Tom Mix radio premiums, such as:
  1. The Mystery Ring: Hold it up to your eye and see an image of Tom Mix and Tony the Wonder Horse!
  2. The Secret Decoder Badge: Without it you couldn't decipher those intriguing clues given at the end of a Tom Mix episode.
  3. The Glow-in-the-Dark Spurs: Just the thing to help a kid cross the street safely at night in Chicago.
  4. The Siren Ring: A rare collectible these days. Makes you wonder what teachers did with the thousands they confiscated.
  5. The Straight Shooters Pocket Knife: Well, it was a different era, wasn't it? Send a pocket knife to a juvenile these days and you'll be in litigation until Shredded Ralston comes back.
Tom Mix Mystery RingTom Mix Decoder Badge Tom Mix Spurs Tom Mix Siren Ring
Joanne exhibited her collection of T.M. vaseline glass, so named because the green shot glasses and collectible candy dishes when exposed to a black light glow with color of Vaseline petroleum jelly. (That's because they contain a touch or two of uranium!)

Johnny finished up the program by directing a group of audience volunteers in an excerpt from a Straight Shooters program, complete with sound effects and blown cues. Great fun.

Anyone interested in acquiring a copy of "Once Upon A Dime..." for themselves or their grandchildren, send $15 to LaMonte Laureate, 1210 Hill Drive, Los Angeles, CA, 90041-1611. (No box top necessary).

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Great Ideas For A New Cereal
by Topher, Editor

"The Boxtop" has offered a cereal ideas forum on our site since 1997 which allows visitors to let the cereal manufacturers know your great ideas for a new cereal. To date, only Kellogg's has issued a cereal suggested here --- Pokemon Cereal.

Of course, there is no assurance anyone from Kellogg's actually saw our ideas page. But we'd like to think they did. Have a gander at the list. Many are quite amusing. Others are very practical and clever. If you get inspired, send us your ideas, and see if a manufacturer develops it.

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Part of this Complete Breakfast
My life and times and cereals
by Don Kelley

It's not unusual to find up to eight different cereals in my cupboard. Sort of like a jumbo Variety Pak. You could say I'm a serial cereal fan.

Thank goodness for cereal. When Dr. Kellogg (or Dr. Post or Dr. Nabisco) invented the ready-to-eat cereal, they did us all an enormous favor. They saved us from breakfasting on awful tasting things like curds, whey, Cream of Wheat, and peas porridge in the pot, nine days old.

Back when I was very young, say the early 1960's, most cereal in our house consisted of the Big Three: Corn Flakes (white box with colorful rooster), Wheaties (orange box with famous sports figure) and Shredded Wheat (yellow box with Shredded Wheat). All of them could be made more palatable by adding two or more spoonfuls of sugar.

On special occasions Mom might bring home other brands, such as Sugar Frosted Flakes, Sugar Smacks, and Extra-Honey Honeycomb. These pre-sweetened cereals only required one spoonful of sugar. (I tell my kids now that as they grow to adulthood, their craving for sugar will decline. They look at me as though I've morphed into Count Chocula.)

Anyway, the years went by and the old standbys became better tasting - even with less sugar. Old brands went by the wayside, and new ones invented.

One particular genius invented Honey Nut Clusters, a special blend of heaven that I eat to this day. Let me describe it to you: honey-tinged flakes of wheat and rice, with clusters of tasty ground nuts sprinkled throughout. The box is yellow and blue and has a squirrel on it.

How much do I love this cereal? Recently, my usual grocery store decided not to stock Honey Nut Clusters; I now shop somewhere else.

And what do my kids eat? Honeycomb, Frosted Flakes, Cocoa Pebbles to name just a few. They even eat my Honey Nut Clusters, but only the clusters and not the flakes. This does not make me happy, and it is a sad, sad day when there are noticeably fewer clusters in my Clusters.

Cereal - a quick, five-minute meal, and beats a pot of peas porridge any day.

Want to leap backwards in time? Visit Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide and learn how Admiral Crunch got bored with his desk job and went back to plain old 'Cap'n'.

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Cereal Manufacturers Are Missing Another Fantastic Opportunity
by Topher, Editor

We've been banging the table (and spilling milk for 5 years) to alert the cereal manufacturers that they are missing a tremendous opportunity by not issuing cereal boxes with spoon sitter premiums. A collection of high quality "spoon sitters / bowl hangers" like the three (at right) from a collection of seven Winnie-the-Pooh characters issued by Nabisco in 1965, would create a tremendous demand boost for any quality cereal (please skip the oat-based cereal shapes with marbits). 3 Pooh Pals
After almost 40 years, spoon sitters are still very popular with cereal and character collectors. In September 1999, we suggested Pokemon spoon sitters before the height of the Pokemon craze. No takers. Status: Lost opportunity that could still work, but to a deminished extent. In Autumn 2003 we designed a Harry Potter cereal box and strongly suggested the addition of spoon sitters would make for an incredibly popular cereal. No takers. Status: Opportunity still available. The cute Nabisco Spoonmen from 1959 remain "The Holy Grail" of spoon sitter premiums. Come on guys! It's time to issue a popular new long-lasting set of spoon sitter collectables.

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Cereal Review
by Topher, Editor
Kellogg's Fruit Harvest Banana Berry Cereal

Fruit Harvest Banana Berry CerealThis is the most recent addition to Kellogg's successful dried-fruit-in-cereal lineup. We reviewed four other varieties in our Early Summer 2004 issue. Fruit Harvest Apple Banana Berry Cereal features textured rice and whole wheat flakes with real dehydrated banana slices, strawberry slices, and whole raspberries. The bananas are reminicent of trail mix while the strawberries and raspberries have a very powerful (and outstanding) flavor right out of the box. Thankfully, they did not include slivered almonds in this variety. While I love nuts in cereal, the Fruit Harvest cereals are much better without them. I am not a banana-in-cereal lover, but the bananas did not detract from an otherwise good experience. The flakes stayed crunchy to the last bite in milk. The cereal did not stain th emilk of leave unpleasant residue i the bottom of the bowl. I rate Fruit Harvest Banana Berry Cereal at 8 Boxtops (Very Good! Recommend Purchase).

What's New In Cereal?
by Topher

Jungle RabbitKannufrutestoneahhappeyleef...
Of course you know what that means? You don't? It's where the Rabbit hid the kids' Trix of course! The Rabbit steals the kids' Trix and hides it somewhere in the jungle, but just as the he's about to tell them where he hid it, he gets hit on the head with a falling coconut! His response is totally jumbled up and comes out "kannufrutestoneahhappeyleef". Unjumble it and you'll know where the Trix is. This advertising event has 3 spots, 4 different boxes, a website and will run all summer.

Cereal Restaurant Chain Opens First Store
"Cereality Cereal Bar and Cafe" has opened its first store --- in the Memorial Union Building on the campus of Arizona State University, in Tempe, Arizona. It looks a lot like an ice cream shoppe, only it serves up 33 cereals instead of ice cream. But the toppings are all there (all 34 of them)! Choose a big bowl, two scoops of cereal, toppings, and add all the skim, 2%, or whole milk you want right from the udder. (They offer that great tasting milk that only comes in a huge plastic bladder, kept wonderfully cold in a special chiller, with what looks like a cut white ambilical cord hanging down. It is to milk what "draft" is to beer). You can also order cereal bars and other concoctions. They hope to open other stores later this year.

Planet QPlanet-Q!
Robb Berry is now publishing Planet-Q! "The Cereal Collectors Magazine". Each issue contains information and images of cereal boxes and cereal premiums, as well as interviews and other great content. The first issue came out in Spring 2004 and the Summer 2004 issue will be published shortly. Order issues for $3.95 (plus $2.05 shipping) from: Robb Z. Berry, 420 N. 39th Ave, W., Duluth, MN 55807. He also accepts Paypal. Contact him via his website

Finding Nemo
Nemo (a Clownfish), Dory (a Blue Tang), and Squirt (a baby Sea Turtle) from the 2003 Disney-Pixar realease "Finding Nemo" found their way onto their own cereal box in 2004. The cereal is described as "Naturally sweetened toasted oat cereal with marshmallow bits shaped like Nemo and friends".
Finding Nemo

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

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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.
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