Tuesday, September 2, 2014

From the Cereal Aisle: Sweet Wheats!

Product: Sweet Wheats! Cereal
Company: Nabisco
Years: 1971-197?

1971 Sweet Wheats w Kanga-Zoom
Image By Jason B. on Flickr
Come on, Nabisco....quit yelling. There is absolutely no need to use an exclamation point in the name of your early 70's cereal called "Sweet Wheats!". I mean, you even went as far as to not use all caps, instead choosing the subtle approach of using all lower case letters. But then, boom, you drop in that exclamation point all willy-nilly, and damn it Nabisco, it's unnecessary.

But then again, so was your cereal, Nabisco, as it only lasted 2 or 3 years tops.

I know what your all thinking: Kellogg's Mini Wheats.
Yep, I was thinking the same thing too. Mini Wheats were introduced in 1971, same time as Sweet Wheats!!!!!, but the original Kellogg's offering was actually the larger size. The bite size version wasn't around until 1980. So I won't go as far as to say Nabisco copied Kellogg's, or vice versa. They both had an idea for a lightly sweetened wheat cereal. Kellogg's won.

Nabisco did have a cool box design, with a quartet which included 3 children and a blue kangaroo, which from what I understand of the early 70's (mostly from watching Krofft), was completely normal. Willy, Milly, Big Boo and Blue Kangaroo. They would sit around all day, eating cereal, playing jams, playing with the Kanga-zoom that came free inside, and contemplating future career paths once the cereal was discontinued. 3 of them went on to form 80's pop group "Kajagoogoo",  and one ended up in the San Diego Zoo, which if you ask me is a horrible place to keep a little girl locked up.

Sweet Wheats! Ad - 1972

What the hell was I talking about again?

Oh yeah, SWEET WHEATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cool box, not as cool of a cereal. Just another blip in the breakfast cereal history books.

Friday, August 22, 2014

From the Candy Aisle: Snik Snak

Product: Snik Snak
Company - M&M/Mars
Years - 1973 - Late 70's

Remember Christmas, back in the 80's, when you'd open presents from relatives who you only saw a few times a year? What did they get you? Chances are, like most of us, they bought what they thought boys my age liked: He-Man, GI Joes, Transformers........but there was a catch. They were going to spend as little on your gift as possible. So instead of Transformers, you got the cheap knockoff called "Convertors" (it's a real thing...look it up). Or "Action Force" instead of GI Joe.

And you smiled, and thanked them, as you were taught to do. Then, a week later, they were blown up by firecrackers in a battle with the REAL GI Joe/Transformers/He-Man.

Knock offs. Nobody likes them.

But enough about my disappointing holidays. Lets talk about food knockoffs.  Specifically, Lets talk about the Snik Snak.

Image by Jason Liebig - Check out his history of Snik Snak here.

Snik Snak was created in 1973 by M&M/Mars to go up against Hershey's wildly successful Kit Kat bar.  And by "created",  I mean directly ripped off from.

Seriously, it's the same thing. A series of waffers covered in chocolate.......even the freaking name is a rip off! I honestly have no idea how Hershey didn't file a lawsuit against them.
I'm equally surprised that it lasted for at least 5 years on the market.
There is nothing original about this.
Oh, sure, it's 6 smaller sticks instead of 4 larger ones. Whoop-de-do.

Snik Snak Ad - 1973

These were a little before my time, so thankfully I didn't have to suffer through the crushing disappointment of getting one of these from a parent for a snack, or worse yet, on Halloween in my basket.

I guess there's a reason Kit Kats are still around today and Snik Snaks aren't.

It's probably the same reason I don't really talk to my uncle Sal anymore, either. I'm sure he had a good reason for getting me the "Treasures of the Temple Warriors" action figures instead of the He-Man toy I wanted back in 86.

Monday, August 4, 2014

From the Endangered Groceries lists - Duck Dynasty Gummy Ducks candy

So, yeah.....I came across this gem in a bin at Walmart.
I picture eating these and constantly pulling beard hairs out of my mouth.
Hurry up, boys, your 5 minutes is just about up! Crab that cash!

sell-out [sel-out] - NOUN

- a person who betrays a cause, organization, or the like; traitor.

- a person who compromises his or her personal values, integrity, talent, or the like, for money or     personal advancement.
- an act of betrayal 

Friday, July 11, 2014

From the Candy Aisle: Space Dust/Cosmic Candy

Product: Space Dust/Cosmic Candy
Company: General Foods
Years - Late 70's-early 80's

Vintage General Foods Cherry Cosmic Candy Box Packs
Image by Greg Koenig

Ground control to major Tom.....

Ground Control to Major Tom.......

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on.....

Here's a fun one. In the late 1976, General Foods really took the novelty candy world by storm with it's new candy, Pop Rocks. It was a hit, so a few years later, they released a new candy (which was similar) called Space Dust. It was basically Pop Rocks, just crushed up into a fine powder.

It was instantly a huge success, but it didn't take long for train to go off the rails.

First, Parents complained that the name "Space Dust",  along with the appearance of the candy, was too similar to illegal drugs such as Angel Dust. Accusations were even made that the candy, because of its similarity to powdered drugs, would lead kids into real drug use.
As a result, the name was changed from Space Dust" to "Cosmic Candy".

That problem seemed to be solved, but more trouble was brewing. A rumor started going around that the candy was unsafe, and that a kid died while consuming the candy while drinking a soda. (I heard it was Mikey from the Life Cereal commercials). These rumors once again got parents in an uproar over the candy (just chill, parents). It got so bad that Bill Mitchell, chemist and creator of Pop Rocks and Cosmic Candy actually took out a full page newspaper ad in the Feb. 6th edition of the Pittsburgh Press in 1979, explaining that the entire thing was not true. He explains how he started making the candy back in the 1950's for his kids, and how it was perfectly save despite all the rumors about it.

The candy remained wildly popular for a few years. Stores struggled to keep it in stock.
But in a year or too, it seemed everyone lost interest in it. Store who had stockpiled the candy suddenly found themselves stuck with boxes of it they couldn't sell (I wonder if this is why unopened cases of it seem to show up for sale from time to time...)

Image from Traci*s Retro via Flickr

I love the packaging for this candy. It is so.....70's drug culture-y in it's style. It makes me want to put on some Bowie, pop in a movie like Nelvana's "Cosmic Christmas" or "The Devil and Daniel Mouse", and just space out. Maybe pop open a few packets of this......and wash it down with a Coke.....and wait.......to see........what magical places it takes me.......

For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world........
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do.

So normally I would just end it there, but there is one other interesting, if you can call it that, article I found while looking into this stuff. It comes from the May 22nd, 1978 edition of the Vilage Voice Newspaper. I thought it was a rather strange article to be in a newspaper, but then I noticed the ad directly to it's right, and I was like "Oh...it's THAT kind of newspaper....)
It involves Space Dust Candy and, well, a sex act......

This is from an actual newspaper. I am not making this up.

The article in question in on the left, entitled "Lip-Smacker" - the other Ad is to the right....

And then there are the commercials....

Friday, June 6, 2014

From the Snack Aisle - Kellogg's Pokes

Product: Pokes Snack
Company: Kellogg's
Years: 1967 - ????

"How'd you like a poke in the mouth?" I thought to myself upon seeing these packages for the first time, thinking I was being clever and a bit dirty.
But then I did a little bit of research, and I found that Kellogg's did indeed use that tagline.
"A Poke in the mouth makes a hit in the tummy", to be exact. Great (dirty) minds think alike, I guess.

Image/Boxes by Grickily

So this is what I know about Pokes:
1. They came in 4 flavors. Corn, Cheese and Bar-B-Q were the original 3 flavors, and Potato Pokes were added sometime shortly after.

2. These were "Tasty little Snack Baskets", which look like they just took some Chex and opened up one end....a clever snack shape I don't think I've seen before (Bugle's are pretty similar in execution)

3. The boxes are AMAZING. I mean...LOOK at them. The Potato Pokes have an Irish Potato creature on the front! The Corn Pokes have a crazy looking Indian corn creature on it! The Cheese Pokes have a smiling hunk of (alpine?) Cheese on it! The Bar-B-Q Pokes have a ........cowboy looking......what is that.....a hunk of coal? Ok, that one I'm not sure about. But the boxes reek of the late 60's, and I would love to have a set for my collection.

4. The Reason I don't have them in my collection is because they are Rare, and Expensive if you do find them. A Corn Pokes box sold on Hakes Auctions last year for $600. My wife would kick me out of the house if I spend $600 on ANY box (unless there was a diamond ring inside of it, for her).

5. I'm not sure if these were sold in the US and in Canada or only in Canada. The only advertising I could find for them was in the Montreal Gazette, and it says on the Coupon "Kellogg's Company of Canada, 1968". I know there are Kellogg's cereals that you can only get in Canada, so maybe this was along the same lines? I never had there while they were in stores, so maybe someone can confirm for me.

I couldn't find a lot of info on these, like many of the slightly less popular brands of the 60's-70's. But an important addition to the shelves of Gone But Not Forgotten Groceries none the less.

Leave a comment if you remember these awesome yet slightly creepy looking snacks!