Archive for the ‘Food’ category

Sir Grapefellow & Baron Von Redberry

September 14, 2008

These General Mills cereals based on World War I fighter aces — a British and a German — appeared in 1973 but didn’t endure like some of their contemporaries in that genre, e.g. Count Chocula & Frankenberry.  Both cereals featured circular-shaped oats resembling Fruit Loops and star-shaped marshmallows. Grapefellows were grape-flavored of course and Redberry tasted like Raspberries.  They were loaded with enough sugar to fuel a Panzer corps but proved irresistible to a small but devoted army of Saturday-morning cereal connoisseurs. The use of World War I theme is interesting and perhaps influenced by the Peanuts comic strip, which during the 1960s often featured Snoopy in scarf and googles perched on top of his doghouse in a perpetual battle with the Red Baron. 

baronSir Grapefellow


Chock Full of Charlie

September 2, 2008

Everyone remembers Charlie Girl,  Charlie Tuna and even Charlie Choo-Choo.  But how about Charlie Chocks? Charlie Chocks was the spokescharacter for the Chocks line of children’s vitamins, the first chewable vitamin for children.  Charlie looked like a cross between a fighter pilot and a trapeze artist.  He wore a flight helmet and, somewhat incongruously, white spandex tights.  Chocks was test-marketed in 1959 and introduced in 1960 by Miles Laboratories.  Miles is better known for its antacid product that made a somewhat more enduring mark on brand history, Alka Seltzer.  Chocks’ positioning changed significantly as the 1960s progressed. This Chocks commercial evidently pre-dated his introduction: Once Charlie appeared, he was marketed heavily on Saturday morning childrens shows, a practice which made Miles a lightning rod for criticism from advocacy groups like Peggy Cherren’s ACT.  By the early 1970s the company had stopped all Saturday morning advertising.    A few artifacts survive including this one from a 1970 Dudley Do-Right Show. By the early 1970s Charlie Chocks had gone the way of the Apollo space program.  His demise was probably inevitable once Miles introduced Flintstone Chewable Vitamins in 1968, and Bugs Bunny Multiple vitamins in 1971. The latter brands obviously had a lot more cachet with moms and kids but lacked the testosterone-inducing image of its predecessor.  It’d be interesting to learn what compelled Miles, in the midst of the astronaut mania that swept the country in the late 60s,  to continue positioning Charlie as a hot-shot fighter jock a la Chuck Yeager rather than an astronaut. Even by late 1960s standards Charlie’s flight helmet looked a little dated.  Miles Laboratories was purchased by Bayer AG in 1977 and the Miles Laboratories brand itself disappeared altogether on April 1, 1995.  An in-depth  history of Miles Labs can be found here: MILES-LABORATORIES-Company-History