Friends, when one thinks about the particular food that Popeye the Sailor is generally gung-ho on, I doubt that Cocoa Puffs is the first thing that comes to mind, right? While that might indeed be the case, the fact of the matter is that back in the late 80’s Popeye definitely appeared alongside Sonny the Cuckoo Bird in some television commercials. For the life of me, I cannot say I recall ever actually seeing this TV ad before I stumbled upon it earlier today!
Right off the bat I’ll tell you there are more questions than answers as to why Popeye was featured in the television commercials. In total it appears that there were at least 2 (although some comments on the video say there were 3 in total) produced and they told an actual story – thanks to the Retro Junk site you can see the first commercial for yourself. It’s interesting that the ads featured live action elements to them, such as the boats that Popeye, Sonny and the kids are travelling on – I liked this little throwback to some of those classic Fleischer cartoons from the 30’s and 40’s.
There however might be a few reasons that Popeye was in these commercials, friends. One of those is because in 1987 he had a brand new Saturday morning series entitled Popeye and Son – while it only lasted for one season it did have the benefit of featuring none other than Maurice LaMarche (Pinky and the Brain, Futurama) as Popeye.
At the time these Cocoa Puff ads were airing, the same company that was producing Rain-Blo gumballs had begun to make Popeye shredded bubble gum – much like Big League Chew except for it was colored to resemble spinach. Not only did you get five pieces in boxes of Cocoa Puffs at the time – I assume in gumball form – Popeye’s bubble gum was advertised on the back of the boxes.
That wasn’t the only prize to be offered by Cocoa Puffs it seems – in addition you could have nabbed these sweet light cover sticker sheets featuring both Sonny and Popeye!
In the first commercial, as usual Sonny is doing his level best not to lose his cool, submitting to his overwhelming desire to eat General Mills’ chocolate breakfast cereal. He has hitched a ride on Popeye’s boat in attempt to sail the seas and get away from the chocolatey temptation – sadly three children are also on the boat and they are quick to give both Sonny as well as Popeye spoonfuls of the cereal. Which results in the duo being shipwrecked on an island and worst of all, everyone’s favorite sailor man has amnesia – he can’t remember what will help him resist Cocoa Puffs.
In the second commercial, Popeye and Sonny are still being menaced by those three children – seriously – what is up with these kids?! The children arrive on the little island to once again tempt Sonny and Popeye into eating Cocoa Puffs… and maybe even spinach itself will not be enough to help our sailor man resist that delicious breakfast cereal!