The Spooktacular Origins of Monster Cereals
 

The Spooktacular Origins of Monster Cereals

 
Heather Taylor

Each year, a trio of eerie-istible characters makes their descent onto grocery shelves everywhere, casting a haunting glow over the cereal aisle.

A dark, mysterious count….
A lumbering, hulking monster…
A floating, blue spirit…

Their arrival signifies that they aren’t alone. Sometimes… Others come with them.

Like a colorfully bandaged mummy…
Or a werewolf that howls at the moon…

Join us boys and ghouls, for a look at the origins of some of the most heebie-jeebie inducing characters to ever grace the breakfast table — Count Chocula, Franken Berry, Boo Berry, Frute Brute, and Yummy Mummy.

These are the things that go bump in the night. Characters designed to give you quite a fright. But the reader needn’t beware because there isn’t much of a scare. When it comes to tricks and treats, the Monster Cereals are never as spooky as they are quite friendly and sweet.

In a castle far, far away…

Every good origins tale begins with a setting and ours is no different with the Monster Cereals. The trio of Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry reside inside the Count’s isolated castle high up on a mountaintop near the edge of the clouds. As BFFs whose biggest arguments are over whose cereal is the most monstrously delicious, they are also shown in commercial spots to be — surprise! — easily spooked by everything including their own shadows.

When they’re not in the castle, the next place you can spot the trio are on their respective cereal boxes. But how well do we really know these bone-chilling breakfast buddies? The story continues with their profiles, full of thrills and chills…

Count Chocula

Debut year: 1971.

Modeled after and voiced by: Count Dracula (of course!), with his first images drawn by artist George Karn. Voice actor Larry Kenney adopted the infamous Transylvanian accent to voice the Count, along with Sonny the Cuckoo Bird for Cocoa Puffs cereal.

No fangs to be found here. Making his debut alongside Franken Berry, the Count tells viewers in his first commercial not to be scared because both he, and his cereal, are actually super sweet. Combining chocolate with marshmallow shapes, Count Chocula had the unique distinction of being the first chocolate flavored cereal on the market. 

Franken Berry

Debut year: 1971.

Modeled after and voiced by: Frankenstein! Voiceover actor Bob McFadden lent his pipes to Franken Berry, imitating Boris Karloff’s infamous Frankenstein vocals.

Joining Count Chocula as the only berry flavored cereal on the market in the 1970s, Franken Berry puts an electric pink, heartwarming twist on the Frankenstein monster. His cereal is as playful as he is, berry flavors mixed with colorful marshmallows. In the castle the trio share, Franken Berry is know for wearing his signature ensembles from when he was created more than 40 years ago and for being easily spooked — by none other than Boo Berry! 

Boo Berry

Debut year: 1973.

Modeled after and voiced by: No specific famous monster inspired Boo Berry, but his voice came courtesy of voice actor Paul Frees. Frees, who also voiced the Pillsbury Doughboy, based his pitch on Peter Lorre, a Hollywood screen legend notorious for his acting in thriller and mystery films.

Two years younger than Count Chocula and Franken Berry, Boo Berry makes up the third member of the trio. Clad in a purple tie and hat, Boo Berry’s blueberry favored cereal paired with marshmallows is a ghoulish delight for all ages to enjoy by the spoonful. 

Frute Brute

Debut year: 1974.

A cult classic in the cereal aisle, Frute Brute is a rambunctious werewolf who has traded in howling at the moon in favor of scaring Franken Berry and Count Chocula. His cereal is just as colorful as his signature overalls: fruit flavored and filled to the brim with lime-flavored marshmallows. While many breakfast enthusiasts have a soft spot in their heart for Frute Brute, his biggest fan may actually be film director Quentin Tarantino. Boxes of Frute Brute have been spotted in two of Tarantino’s movies — Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs.

Yummy Mummy

Debut year: 1987.

Making his debut in a commercial spot where the cheerful mummy was discovered in a catacomb when Count Chocula and Franken Berry fell through the side of a pyramid, Yummy Mummy has kept most of his life at grocery stores under wraps. From his rainbow wrappings to his larger-than-life cereal featuring vanilla marshmallows so big they are referred to as “monster mallows,” one thing’s for sure — he’s a colorful character!

The Monster Cereals legacy…

As we come to the end of the Monster Cereals origins story, we look towards the future of that castle with its unusually unique characters. With the amount of love and excitement pouring in from the Monsters’ fan base each year, will there ever be any new additions to the group?

While only time will tell, we like to imagine a festive Jack-o’-lantern or dancin’ skeleton might be waiting in the wings somewhere with a cereal box in hand, to join the spine-chilling, and breakfast bowl thrilling, quintet.

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