Christians have the Sabbath. Jewish have Shabbat. Kids have Saturday mornings.
As a child, waking up on a Saturday morning meant three things--no school, cartoons and enough sugary cereal to upset Michelle Obama on a personal level. Cereal became so synonymous with Saturday mornings, it was easy to indoctrinate the public into accepting it as a legitimate source of nourishment. Just add in the popularity of mascots and marketing to solidify cereal as a snack incapable of ever leaving.
In some cases, however, this part of a complete breakfast has done much more in killing childhood innocence rather than upholding it. The following list is dedicated to the examples in history of manufacturing companies, mascots, or the cereals themselves that have sparked a hilarious touch of discomfort or oddity on the iconic images they represent.
1. Frankenberry Is Responsible For A Strange Health Epidemic In The 70s
To leave a historic mark on the world is an achievement few are able to claim. The revolutionary thoughts and actions of these select few have inspired hopeful dreamers to carry on in improving our world since the dawn of time.
But for every Steve Jobs, dozens of just-as-important figures lie in the shadows, awaiting their significance to be discovered. Today, we finally shed light on the most significant figure in this bizarre cereal saga, Dr. John V Payne, because we here at Odyssey believe in making dreams come true. The following is the story of Payne's contribution to medicine--the very real medical condition "Franken Berry Stool"
Released in 1971, General Mills added Frankenberry to its line-up of cereal. Alongside Count Chocula, Frankenberry ushered in the start of a cereal-like Avengers style universe that would only grow later on with Boo Berry, Fruit Brute, and Fruity Yummy Mummy. What separated Frankenberry cereal from the others, however, was the use of Red Dye Number 2 and other digestible chemicals for its bright pink color, allowing for a...less than normal bathroom experience.
When parents began to notice their children were defecating the same color as the Barbie aisle in a Toys R Us, children everywhere were hospitalized out of the fear of internal bleeding. With the world on the brink of cataclysmic disaster, pediatrician Dr. John V. Payne was called upon to save the day. A 1972 case study titled “Benign Red Pigmentation of Stool Resulting from Food Coloring in a New Breakfast Cereal (The Franken Berry Stool)," recounts the events of the phenomenon as well as Dr. Payne's own personal observations.
According to the study, Dr. Payne had conducted an experiment on a hospitalized 12-year-old boy after a conversation with the boy's worried mother about her son's love for a brand new cereal he hadn't eaten before called Frankenberry. It was in this discussion a light bulb appeared over Payne's head to feed the boy Frankenberry cereal four times over the course of one day. When the boy passed the cereal, Dr. Payne began to experiment on the stool samplings, discovering that the boy was completely healthy, stating that,
"Physical examination upon admission revealed in no acute distress and with normal vital signs…Physical examination was otherwise unremarkable.”
Upon this discovery, Payne released his research to warn others of this harmless nature of Frankenberry while coining the medical term "Franken Berry Stool." The term is still used to this day in the practice of modern medicine and John V. Payne is to thank. So congratulations Dr. Payne! Your spot on an ironic online article written by a man-child is the high honor you probably imagined upon graduating med school.
2. "The Flintstones" Advertised Cigarettes Before Fruity Pebbles
To us 90s kids, "The Flintstones" is that classic cartoon you probably saw on Boomerang when you happened to randomly wake up a little too early in the morning for school one day. Centered around the goal of making literally every single conceivable rock pun imaginable, "The Flintstones" was a massive success resulting in years of syndication and numerous product mascot tie-ins including the hugely popular "Pebbles" line of cereal.
Even decades after the series concluded, both children around the world and 23-year-old Orlando-based Odyssey.com writers still wake up daily to the delicious taste of Fruity Pebbles as well as the wide smiles of Fred, Barney, Pebbles, and Bam-Bam located front and center on the packaging. But did you know that long before these lovable cartoon icons pushed Pebbles, Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble were pushing cigarettes?
Pretty rock-diculous, huh? The image of Fred Flintsone and Barney Rubble lighting up very realistic looking Winston cigarettes is borderline surreal. Released in 1954, Winston quickly became America's fastest selling cigarette, resulting in enough of a voice for solid promotional funding.
When "The Flintstones" aired to the public in September of 1960, Winston was the show's primary sponsor, ushering in the death of innocence. In 1963, however, Winston pulled out of sponsorship with the birth of Pebbles Flintstone, citing that Winston's presence was contradicting the family-friendly spirit of the series.
Just five years after Winston's departure, The Flintstone family finally came to its senses and began to promote the knowledge of the American Cancer Society. Either that or this is hyp-rock-ricy at its finest.
3. Cap'n Crunch's Backstory Is More Complex Than A "Game of Thrones" Novel
No cereal mascot on the planet could ever hope to compete with the detailed lore and complicated universe of decorated naval officer Cap'n Crunch. The legend of Cap'n Crunch dramatically surpasses the previously low standard of backstories to Saturday morning food-based heroes with a layer of complexity George R.R. Martin isn't even capable of.
Taken from the official website as well as commercials and official social media posts, Crunch Island , located in the Sea of Milk--a magical place with talking trees, crazy creatures and a whole mountain (Mt. Crunchmore) made out of Cap’n Crunch cereal--is the birthplace of Cap'n Horatio Magellan Crunch.
Destined to reign over all as the savior of the Sea of Milk, Cap'n Horatio Magellan Crunch--that is not a joke, that's really his name--discovered his life's purpose at an early age when the villainous Soggies attacked, trying desperately to steal the Cap'n's cereal. As Cap'n Crunch grew older, the rivalry of Horatio and The Soggies only grew increasingly hostile, culminating in frequent battles over possession of the cereal.
As the battles continued, Cap'n recruited a first mate named Sea Dog and fellow shipmate children Alfie, Carlyle, Dave, and Brumhilde to man his ship the S.S. Guppy and join in the fight to rid the sea of the dastardly Soggies once and for all.
Realizing the inevitable loss that would come with the Cap'n's new garrison of troops, The Snoggies enlisted the help of the less-than-hygienic Jean LaFoote to further the fight in a epic battle that still marches on to this very day.
And if all of that weren't enough, a PC game titled "Cap'n Crunch's Crunchling Adventures" furthers the cannon by depicting Cap'n Crunch's personal life as an animal behaviorist, training a pet-like species known as Crunchlings to stop the dreaded Crunchium Thief from wreaking havoc in Crunchium City, a trading post for the Sea of Milk.
The amount of information dedicated to the world of Cap'n Crunch is so overwhelming, it doesn't take too long to search the web for Cap'n Crunch fan fiction. Please don't search for it--you don't need to see Crunchling genitalia--but it is out there for the most sadistic to endure.
4. A Toy In Cap'n Crunch Boxes Led To Prison-Sentencing Fraud
Oh no, we're not done with Cap'n Crunch just yet. Ignoring how detailed his backstory is, Cap'n Crunch is also notable for his involvement in the imprisonment of John Draper.
But let's back up a bit.
Born in 1943, John Draper was born with a very high intelligence. After consistently outshining his own peers as well as those much older, Draper realized at a very young age his intelligence was unparalleled, resulting in his own personal emotional anguish. Due to his depression, Draper joined the Air Force in 1964 to escape the pain of the life he once knew. While stationed in Alaska, Draper helped his fellow servicemen make free phone calls home by devising access to a local telephone switchboard. This confidence in his ability to tap the system turned Draper into becoming a phone phreak--someone who breaks into the telephone network illegally, typically to make free long-distance phone calls or to tap phone lines.
What does this have to do with Cap'n Crunch?
Cap'n Crunch carries with him a bosun whistle on his person at all times. Its appearances are rare, but it can be seen or heard in various advertisements or promotional images. One of those instances can be found when the Cap'n goes full on Kool-Aid man by busting through the wall to save two children from a definitely possessed babysitter.
Hear that whistle? That same whistle was used as a toy prize in the bottom of Cap'n Crunch cereal boxes. Draper received that toy whistle and discovered it was capable of omitting a perfect 2600-cycle tone, the exact tone needed to make the phone operator place or receive free calls. When Draper was transferred to England with his Air Force unit, he used the whistle to receive calls from his friends, free of charge.
In 1972, Draper was caught and sentenced to five years imprisonment on the basis of communication fraud. The device was discontinued years later as "can allow one to commit toll fraud" could be construed as a negative factor to the public. Thank goodness it was only five years in prison, though. Some Cap'n Crunch fan fiction out there speaks quite harshly to the penal system of Crunch Island. It seems that the Cap'n's love of the lethal injection is as strong as his love for his cereal.