The recent announcement of the General Mills Monster cereals returning for Halloween has more than a few of us tickled with nostalgic glee, but what about Freakies? Resembling Cheerios’ ring-shaped pieces, this was the first sweetened breakfast cereal produced by Ralston (who, back in their early days, also made Purina dog food!). Freakies was promoted via some of the most inventive TV commercials of the time:
The Freakies characters were warty cartoon monsters named Boss Moss, Hamhose, Gargle, Cowmumble, Grumble, Goody-Goody, and Snorkeldorf. The storyline follows these monsters in their quest for the Freakies Tree, which provides them with endless amounts of the cereal. Frequent back-of-the-box activities included cut-out planes for each of the characters, but like any kid, I mostly coveted the prizes inside the box. My friend Scott collected a complete set of Freakies magnets that he proudly displayed on his refrigerator:
Though I lost it long ago, I had a Freakies car with Boss Moss as the driver. It was a molded plastic car with oversized wheels and a vinyl bulb that fit into the back of the car. The bulb, when depressed, had enough air in it to propel the car a foot or two. It worked great on the kitchen floor but not so much on the sidewalk outside. Surprisingly, the bulb never wore out, no matter how firmly I pounded my fist on it!
Ralston discontinued Freakies cereal in 1977 but brought it back a decade later, albeit in a changed form. The new Freakies, described as “crunchy honey-tasting spaceships with marshmallow Freakies” on the box, were round pieces without holes. The monster characters were also updated, now depicted with wider grins, boasting Hawaiian-print swimsuits, and riding cereal-shaped surfboards through space. Needless to say, Ralston cancelled this incarnation in 1988. With the renaissance of other classic cereals, may the powers that be bring back Freakies in its original form!