A Second Helping of Cereal Facts

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Earlier this week, we posted "How Cereal Changed American Culture," a fascinating article by Ian Lender. Here's a second-helping of cereal facts.

Tony the Tiger beat out several other spokes-animals to become the mascot for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. Newt the Gnu and Elmo the Elephant were top contenders, but they never made it into stores. Katy the Kangaroo, however, was displayed right next to Tony. The tiger swiftly clobbered the kangaroo in sales, and Katy was relegated to the bargain bin of history.
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Like the elusive fifth Beatle, there was a long-lost fourth member of the Snap, Crackle, and Pop gang. His name was Pow. In the 1950s, he was supposed to represent Rice Krispies' explosive nutritional value. Sadly, four proved to be one cereal gnome too many, and Pow was given the pink slip.
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In 1955, the character Sergeant Preston of the Northwest Mounted Police and his trusty dog, Yukon King, informed their radio audience that every box of Quaker Puffed Rice would contain a deed to 1 square inch of Alaskan real estate. Aspiring real estate tycoons promptly snapped up 21 million boxes. A decade later, a wannabe Donald Trump presented Quaker with 10,800 deeds. They should have been worth about 75 square feet, but Quaker's lease on the land had already expired.

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In 1956, Confidential magazine disclosed how Frank Sinatra managed to satisfy so many Hollywood starlets—Wheaties! The article stated, "Where other Casanovas wilt under the pressure of a torrid romance, Frankie boy just pours himself a big bowl of crispy, crackly Wheaties and comes back rarin' to go." General Mills kept quiet as the tabloids talked up Wheaties' power to fuel Sinatra's exploits, and it wasn't long before teenage boys were stampeding the cereal aisles.
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In the 1980s, cereal companies created products based entirely on pop culture fads. Donkey Kong, Pac Man, C-3PO, and E.T. all had their own brands. However, one of Quaker's attempts seemed designed to scare shoppers—Mr. T cereal. Although Quaker executives were worried about using the violent, mohawked mercenary as a role model for kids, his cereal became one of the most popular brands of the decade.
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Snap! Crackle! and Pop! in different languages:
Swedish: Piff! Paff! Puff!
German: Knisper! Knasper! Knusper!
Spanish: Pim! Pum! Pam!
Finnish: Poks! Riks! Raks!

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September 12, 2008 - 7:05am
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