Monday, October 3, 2011

Count Chocula's 2011 Debut!


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I like my end of the year holidays to be consistent. New products are fun and all but part of what makes Halloween and Christmas so exciting are the items you can just count on arriving every season. I've already declared Halloween Oreo's to be the product that best represents Halloween but this does not mean that there are not still some heavy hitters left for the Halloween Countdown! The return of Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Frankenberry breakfast cereals are one of the few items that Halloween has to call its own. There is no Christmas here folks, just some spook-filled boxes of creepy cereal! And this year General Mills has also included a fourth monster cereal! Cookie Crisp dawns a scary package for the very first time! Halloween 2011 is shaping up to be one of the best yet and we have just only begun to scratch the surface of October!
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Count Chocula has always been General Mills favorite monster son. Back before these products were actually sold seasonally and were only sort of seasonally sold you were liable to run into The Count at just about any time of year. This may be part of the reason why I have always found him to be the coolest of the bunch and the clear cut leader of the pack. It also helps that he clearly has the best tasting cereal of the three. While the other two are not really bad by anyone's standards, it does take a little bit of self convincing to finish an entire box of Frankenberry. This is not the case with Count Chocula, I could eat this stuff all day long all year long.

For those of you who do not know I have a collection of cereal boxes. We have covered the Spider-Man cereal here on this site and someday I will make a gigantic article out of all  my Count Chocula boxes. But that is going to have to wait for the moment. Instead I will just tell you about the minor changes they have done for 2011 and you will have to trust me that I am not making shit up and secretly pointing and laughing from behind my computer screen. This is largely the same box as last year, with the only major change being the new nutritional informational information strip running across the top of the box. Otherwise this is exactly the same box as 2010. I am only slightly disappointed with that. Every couple of years General Mills does a complete re-design on Count Chocula's box and we just so happen to be in one of the repeat years. This is actually the same for all three of the boxes, all the same designs as last season. But at least they picked one of the good boxes to do again. Unlike the horribly bland "portrait" boxes of 2009. Google it if you don't remember what those abominations looked like.

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Boo Berry, where do I begin with this guy. You guys know that half the reason why I write about the things I do is that often times there is some sort of strange little story behind the product that I think is interesting and enjoy sharing with other people. Boo Berry has a story all his own. One that I could probably turn into a full fledged post if I felt like it. However today we are going to stick with a more condensed version of his history and I will give you the just of what makes Boo Berry the stuff of legend. A short while ago General Mills didn't really fully embrace the idea of having these monster cereals out on store shelves. They were not really seasonal, as you could technically find them year long. They were more of a product that "was easier to find around Halloween than in the middle of July".

Count Chocula was always the most popular of the bunch, you could find him pretty much all the time. Frankenberry was more of a hit or miss, but it was not that unheard of to find him sitting alongside The Count. But Boo Berry? Finding a box of him was sort of like getting struck by lightning on your way home from the bank where you just deposited your winning lottery ticket earnings. He didn't seem to exist. Only popping up occasionally and only in large markets and never when it would make since for him to be there. Boo Berry's popularity grew to a cult like status. Until one day someone at General Mills realized that it made a hell of a lot more since to sell these cereals seasonally and to make them available to everyone. Since about the year 2000 or so you could count on all three boxes getting mass releases in the month of October and then sort of lingering around until the New Years. This has taken some of the mystery and intrigue away from locating a box of Boo Berry but every time I see one, I still sort of do a little mental happy dance. Knowing that he is in fact still around!

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Frankenberry is the last of the original three General Mills monster cereals. Frankenberry has the hardest slope to climb in terms of winning over an audience. Count Chocula will always be everyone's favorite and Boo Berry will always have his cult like following. Poor old Frankenberry really does not have much going for him. He is a pink colored, apparently steam powered version of Frankenstein's Monster. His fingernails are strawberries, or have photos of strawberries on them depending on how you'd like to interpreter the package. Either way he makes for decidedly the least Halloween looking fellow of the bunch and sort of gay in comparison.

Not helping his case much is the fact that he tastes like strawberries. I like strawberries but only the real kind. The artificially flavored ones like what is found in Frankenberry never manage to taste right to me. Perhaps General Mills should make him taste more like Cherry Poptarts. I do not think anyone would complain much if they changed the flavor of Franenberry. I am stalling for time because I would like to achieve at least a two paragraph minimum for each entry, thus keeping the formatting of the page looking consistent. Since in all likelihood everyone quit reading at the "I like strawberries but only the real kind." line I would like to take this opportunity to say that I have seen the 1998 American remake of "Godzilla" over a dozen times and think everyone else is to critical of what makes a "good" 'Zilla film. Frankenberry also comes in the same package that he was sold in last year and honestly if it was not for my writing this article, I probably would not have purchased a box of the stuff.

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Cookie Crisp gets a Halloween makeover for the very first time here in 2011. At least I think its the first time. Don't quote me on that one. Just because I collect cereal boxes does not mean I know everything there is to know about them. Although it would be hard to imagine something like this got sold in stores last year without me noticing. Although you never know, maybe we should assume that this box is a repeat of last years design like all the other packages are? For arguments sake lets call this 2010s package redux for 2011.

Regardless of whenever it first debuted, this is clearly the first time that I have ran across Cookie Crisp in Halloween form and I must say it is quite a spiffy package. Maybe because its new and I've sort of seen all the others may times before, but this one really does seem like the most eye catching of all the designs. I approve. I like the spooky looking crooked fence and the full moon with the flying bats off in the distance. The only thing I would personally change is to make the Cookie Crisp mascot look a little bit more like a bloodthirsty werewolf and a little less like a rejected Loony Tunes character. Of course if it was up to me all four of these boxes would feature disgusting creatures of the night, tormenting innocent bystanders and frightening small children. Cereal would only vaguely be mentioned in the background. My packages would be awesome.

All four of these boxes are currently available in stores now. I would suggest picking some up early so you can enjoy them all month long, because once October is gone Count Chocula, Boo Berry, Frankenberry, and (Halloween Themed) Cookie Crisp will quickly vanish for another season! Wait? You know what we haven't done in a while, how about a Bonus 1990's Halloween Commercial!


This is an old McDonalds commercial from 1995 and I honestly remember this advertisement like it just aired on TV yesterday! I say this almost every time I post a retro Halloween TV commercial but its worth repeating. Didn't Halloween just seem spookier back in the early 90s than it is today? Commercials like these made the holiday seem special and unique, it was scary but that is what made it fun. You simply do not see this much effort put into the holiday anymore.

I love the energy that these old McDonalds commercials had to them. They were just fun to watch, even as an adult. They also don't completely annoy the holy hell out of me like what the new "healthy" ones do. I much prefer this version of McDonalds, the one that was geared towards kids and didn't take itself so darn serious.

As for the toys, I specifically remember owning the Grimace Ghost and the Vampire Hamburgler. My memory is a little fuzzier on those Halloween Cassette Tapes, I don't think I ever owned one but I do remember wanting one really badly. I would love to get ahold of one to review for this website. Grimace Ghost was my favorite figure out of the four and I used sit him out on a shelf in my room. That is really saying something for the quality of these Halloween figures. Usually McDonalds toys got played with once and then either discarded in a sandbox someplace or beat to death with rocks until they broke. For one to actually work its way into shelf space... well that is something that only the power of Halloween can accomplish!

2 comments:

  1. I remember all these things, even the Mc Donald's commercial. Good stuff!

    Karen

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  2. Thanks Karen! Back when McDonalds was fun and Halloween was allowed to be scary!

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