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11 Defunct Breakfast Cereals Based on TV Shows

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1. Urkel-Os

With Family Matters in full swing on ABC, Steve Urkel Mania swept the nation. The nerdy neighbor had everything a pop culture phenomenon should have, including a funny catchphrase, a widely-popular dance craze, and lunch boxes for kids. ABC partnered with cereal manufacturer Ralston Foods to introduce Urkel-Os to supermarkets everywhere in 1991. The strawberry and banana flavored loop cereal featured "Urkel For President" prize packs, which included campaign buttons, and "Help Urkel Find Laura" maze games inside.

Currently, an unopened box of Urkel-Os goes for $100 on eBay.   

2. Mr. T Cereal

The early '80s were dominated by Laurence "Mr. T" Tureaud. After starring on The A-Team and in his own Saturday morning cartoon, Quaker Oats released Mr. T Cereal in 1984. It was a big hit with children and even made an appearance in Pee Wee's Big Adventure in 1985.

3. Rainbow Brite

Based on the Saturday morning TV show from Hallmark Cards, Ralston introduced Rainbow Brite Sweetened Cereal in 1985. It featured "natural" fruit flavors and included special giveaways such as Rainbow Brite kites, stickers, and Crazy Chain charm bracelets.   

4. Smurf Magic Berry Crunch

After the Belgian comic strip and cartoon made its way to the United States, The Smurfs became a pop culture phenomenon during the early '80s. Hanna-Barbera Productions created a Saturday morning cartoon on NBC featuring The Smurfs in 1981, while cereal manufacturer Post Foods started a grocery store invasion with Smurf Berry Crunch in 1983. Post brought the blue crew back in 1987 with Smurf Magic Berries, which was the same cereal with different packaging and marshmallows.  

5. Dino Pebbles

Post currently has two successful breakfast cereals based on The Flintstones—Fruity Pebbles and Coco Pebbles—and they unveiled Dino Pebbles during the late '80s. The cereal was merely Fruity Pebbles with marshmallows shaped like dinosaurs, palm trees, and surfboards. Dino Pebbles didn't sell as well as its Fruity and Coco counterparts, so Post discontinued the brand in the early '90s.

6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cereal

In 1989, Ralston introduced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cereal to cash in on the success and popularity of the after-school cartoon. The cereal included "ninja nets," which were really just lightly sweetened Rice Chex, and "ninja marshmallows." Prize packs inside of the cereal included pouches of green ooze, mini-comics, and TMNT cereal bowls.

Currently, an unopened box of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cereal goes for about $45 on eBay. 

7. Transformers Cereal

With the tagline "More Taste Than Meets The Eye," Ralston scrapped Transformers cereal before it went into production in the mid-'80s. The cereal was banking off the success of the Saturday morning cartoon and popular toy line from Hasbro, while also boasting that the cocoa-flavored cereal had the ability to "transform ordinary milk into chocolate flavored milk!"

It is believed that Ralston ended Transformers cereal because toy sales were on the decline at the time. While it never made it to your local grocery store, test boxes of the would-be cereal are goldmines on eBay with collectors buying them up for at least $350 each.

8. Nickelodeon Green Slime Cereal

In 2003, Nickelodeon teamed up with General Mills to introduce a limited-edition cereal called Green Slime to promote the 2003 Kids' Choice Awards. The cereal was made up of green slime-shaped corn puffs with marshmallows shaped like the Nickelodeon logo.

9. Tiny Toon Adventures

In 1990, the Quaker Oats Company introduced Tiny Toon Adventures Cereal, which consisted of oat cereal shapes with letters that spelled "Tiny Toon." It was a low-sugar cereal that didn't sell as well as competitors Kix and Honey Nut Cheerios.    

10. Xena: Warrior Princess—A Taste of Honey Cereal

Rittenhouse Archives and Sci-Fi Hobby teamed up to introduced Xena: Warrior Princess—A Taste of Honey Cereal in 2001. The limited edition cereal was not available in grocery stores, but rather only exclusively at comic and collectible shops. There were three different boxes that featured Xena, Gabrielle, and Callisto on the front, and they each had trading cards and honey-toasted cereal inside.

Currently, a complete set goes for about $80 on eBay.

11. The Simpsons

Since its premiere in 1989, The Simpsons is the longest-running sitcom in television history. The show has branched into many food tie-ins with five different cereal releases over the years. Starting in 2001, Kellogg's introduced Bart Simpson Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch and Homer's Cinnamon Donut Cereal in the United States. In 2002, the food manufacturers released Bart Simpson No Problemo's  in Great Britain and Australia, which consisted of frosted multi-grain cereal loops and mini chocolate discs. Bart Simpson's Eat My Shorts cereal, a syrup-flavored multi-grain cereal, was introduced to supermarkets in the United Kingdom in 2003.

In 2007, Malt-O-Meal introduced Frosted Krusty-O's, sold exclusively at 7-Eleven to promote The Simpsons Movie and the start of season 18. All five cereals were introduced with a limited release of less than a year.

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Warner Home Video
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10 Filling Facts About A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Warner Home Video
Warner Home Video

Though it may not be as widely known as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown or A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving has been a beloved holiday tradition for many families for more than 40 years now. Even if you've seen it 100 times, there’s still probably a lot you don’t know about this Turkey Day special.

1. IT’S THE FIRST PEANUTS SPECIAL TO FEATURE AN ADULT VOICE.

We all know the trombone “wah wah wah” sound that Charlie Brown’s teacher makes when speaking in a Peanuts special. But A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, which was released in 1973, made history as the first Peanuts special to feature a real, live, human adult voice. But it’s not a speaking voice—it’s heard in the song “Little Birdie.”

2. IT WASN’T JUST ANY ADULT WHO LENT HIS VOICE TO THE SPECIAL.

Being the first adult to lend his or her voice to a Peanuts special was kind of a big deal, so it makes sense that the honor wasn’t bestowed on just any old singer or voice actor. The song was performed by composer Vince Guardaldi, whose memorable compositions have become synonymous with Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang.

“Guaraldi was one of the main reasons our shows got off to such a great start,” Lee Mendelson, the Emmy-winning producer who worked on many of the Peanuts specials—including A Charlie Brown Thanksgivingwrote for The Huffington Post in 2013. “His ‘Linus and Lucy,’ introduced in A Charlie Brown Christmas, set the bar for the first 16 shows for which he created all the music. For our Thanksgiving show, he told me he wanted to sing a new song he had written for Woodstock. I agreed with much trepidation as I had never heard him sing a note. His singing of ‘Little Birdie’ became a hit."

3. DESPITE THE VOICE, THERE ARE NO ADULTS FEATURED IN THE SPECIAL.

While Peanuts specials are largely populated by children, there’s usually at least an adult or two seen or heard somewhere. That’s not the case with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. “Charlie Brown Thanksgiving may be the only Thanksgiving special (live or animated) that does not include adults,” Mendelson wrote for HuffPo. “Our first 25 specials honored the convention of the comic strip where no adults ever appeared. (Ironically, our Mayflower special does include adults for the first time.)”

4. LUCY IS MOSTLY M.I.A., TOO.

Though early on in the special, viewers get that staple scene of Lucy pulling a football away from Charlie Brown at the last minute, that’s all we see of Chuck’s nemesis in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. (Lucy's brother, Linus, however, is still a main character.)

5. CHARLIE BROWN AND LUCY STILL KEEP IN TOUCH.

Though they only had a single scene together, Todd Barbee, who voiced Charlie Brown, told Noblemania that he and Robin Kohn, who voiced Lucy in the Thanksgiving special, still keep in touch. “We actually went to high school together,” Barbee said. “We still live in Marin County, are Facebook friends, and occasionally see each other.”

6. CHARLIE BROWN HAD SOME TROUBLE WITH HIS SIGNATURE “AAARRRGG.”

One unique aspect of the Peanuts specials is that the bulk of the characters are voiced by real kids. In the case of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, 10-year-old newcomer Todd Barbee was tasked with giving a voice to Charlie Brown—and it wasn’t always easy.

“One time they wanted me to voice that ‘AAAAAAARRRRRGGGGG’ when Charlie Brown goes to kick the football and Lucy yanks it away,” Barbee recalled to Noblemania in 2014. “Try as I might, I just couldn’t generate [it as] long [as] they were looking for … so after something like 25 takes, we moved on. I was sweating the whole time. I think they eventually got an adult or a kid with an older voice to do that one take."

7. LINUS STILL GETS AN ENTHUSIASTIC RESPONSE.

While Barbee got a crash course in the downside of celebrity at a very early age—“seeing my name printed in TV Guide made everyone around me go bananas … everybody … just thought I was some big movie star or something,” he told Noblemania—Stephen Shea, who voiced Linus, still gets a pretty big reaction.

"I don't walk around saying 'I'm the voice of Linus,'" Shea told the Los Angeles Times in 2013. "But when people find out one way or another, they scream 'I love Linus. That is my favorite character!'"

8. THANKS TO LINUS, THE THANKSGIVING SPECIAL GOT A SPINOFF.

As is often the case in a Peanuts special, Linus gets to play the role of philosopher in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and remind his friends (and the viewers) about the history and true meaning of whatever holiday they’re celebrating. His speech about the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving eventually led to This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers, a kind of spinoff adapted from that Thanksgiving Day prayer, which sees the Peanuts gang becoming a part of history.

9. LEE MENDELSON HAD AN ISSUE WITH BIRD CANNIBALISM.

In writing for HuffPo for A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’s 40th anniversary, Mendelson admitted that one particular scene in the special led to “a rare, minor dispute during the creation of the show. Mr. Schulz insisted that Woodstock join Snoopy in carving and eating a turkey. For some reason I was bothered that Woodstock would eat a turkey. I voiced my concern, which was immediately overruled.”

10. MENDELSON EVENTUALLY GOT HIS WAY ... THOUGH NOT FOR LONG.

Though Mendelson lost his original argument against seeing Woodstock eating another bird, he was eventually able to right that wrong. “Years later, when CBS cut the show from its original 25 minutes to 22 minutes, I sneakily edited out the scene of Woodstock eating,” he wrote. “But when we moved to ABC in 2001, the network (happily) elected to restore all the holiday shows to the original 25 minutes, so I finally have given up.”

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Shout! Factory
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The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day Marathon Is Back
Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory

For many fans, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is as beloved a Thanksgiving tradition as mashed potatoes and gravy (except funnier). It seems appropriate, given that the show celebrates the turkeys of the movie world. And that it made its debut on Thanksgiving Day in 1988 (on KTMA, a local station in Minneapolis). In 1991, to celebrate its third anniversary, Comedy Central hosted a Thanksgiving Day marathon of the series—and in the more than 25 years since, that tradition has continued.

Beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Thursday, Shout! Factory will host yet another Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day marathon, hosted by series creator Joel Hodgson and stars Jonah Ray and Felicia Day. Taking place online at ShoutFactoryTV.com, or via the Shout! Factory TV app on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire and select smart TVs, the trio will share six classic MST3K episodes that have never been screened as part of a Shout! Factory Turkey Day Marathon. Here’s hoping your favorite episode makes it (cough, Hobgoblins, cough.)

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