The history of Monster Cereals
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2012. It was updated in August 2021.
Fall in the U.S. is always an exciting time here at General Mills because it means our favorite monsters are coming back to store shelves: Count Chocula, Franken Berry and Boo Berry.
Inspired by classic horror film characters, our Monster Cereals have been a beloved part of fall traditions for 50 years.
But you might be wondering – how did the Monster Cereals get their start?
Dig into a mashup of our monsters’ history below.
A spooky-good start
It all began in March 1971. The Monster Cereals officially debuted with Count Chocula and Franken Berry.
The two cereals were the only chocolate- and strawberry-flavored cereals on the market at the time. Their unique flavors and delicious marshmallow bits quickly became a hit among cereal fans.
Fun fact: Minnesota illustrator and cartoonist George Karn, who drew the original Trix Rabbit in 1959, also sketched the first images of Count Chocula.
Boo Berry, the first blueberry-flavored cereal, joined the group a year later in 1972 and expanded nationally in February of 1973.
The first three Monster Cereals have been in production ever since. Until 2009, they were available year-round. Today, the cereals make an appearance just in time for Halloween.
Frightfully fun promotions
Marketing for the new cereals included animated commercials during children’s programming, and Sunday supplements aimed at parents, that focused on the nutritious aspects of the cereals.
These early TV commercials, like this one, helped the Monster Cereals quickly gain popularity.
1970s *Count Chocula*, *Franken Berry* & *Boo Berry* Monster Breakfast Cereal Commercial.
Despite being monsters themselves, Franken Berry, Count Chocula and Boo Berry were scared by just about everything in those days. The earliest commercials for the characters showed the Monsters being scared by children, black cats, birds, ghosts … and even each other!
The Monster Cereals also delighted fans with cereal box promotions throughout the years, like glow-in-the-dark stickers, coloring poster kits, Monster masks, and more.
In 1979, we surprised fans of the cereals with three monster-themed records (flexi discs). One of the records was titled “Monster Adventures in Outer Space.”
You can hear part of it in this clip.
These records also included “The Monsters Go Disco” and “Count Chocula Goes to Hollywood.”
For the 30th anniversary of that promotion, Manny Galán and Pat Giles, two creatives who had a chance to leave their mark on the legacy of the Monsters brand, designed and animated the first minute of the five-minute “Disco” story.
Giles did the layouts, Galán did the color and Justin Roth animated it, as you see here.
This is an animated segment using the soundtrack from a “flexi-disc” record found on the backs of Monster Cereal boxes in 1979.
Introducing Frute Brute and Yummy Mummy
Frute Brute (formerly Fruit Brute) hit store shelves with the “howlin’-good taste of fruit” in 1974. He was sent back to our cereal vault in 1982.
Early commercials of the wolf showed him arguing with Count Chocula and Franken Berry over whose cereal was better.
Check it out in this clip.
Frute Brute is considered by many collectors to be the most sought-after vintage cereal box. This is likely because he appeared in Quentin Taratino’s “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs.”
While not a formal partnership, rumor has it that Quentin Taratino is a Frute Brute fan!
Fruity Yummy Mummy made his debut in 1988 with a similar fruity flavor to Frute Brute. But the cereal was only around until 1992.
Both cereals came back from the dead for a limited–time in 2013. It was the first time all five of our Monster Cereals were available on store shelves at the same time.
To make the return even more exciting for their return, all five Monster Cereals dressed in their retro packaging, exclusively at Target.
Haunting marshmallow and cereal shapes
The Monster Cereals all had the same cereal shape – a circle with a cross in the middle – when they first debuted.
But in 1985, the cereal pieces transformed into ghost-shaped pieces, which have been haunting the monster cereals ever since!
Unlike the cereal shapes there have been several spooky changes to our Monster marshmallows over the years.
Here’s a look back at a few of the most popular monster marshmallows:
1983 Bigger marshmallows
1999 Scooby Doo/Goosebumps
Pop culture icons
The Monster Cereals have been pop culture icons for decades, gaining a strong base of mega monster fans throughout the years.
They also gained popularity through collaborations with various artists and celebrities.
In 1998, the Monster Cereals teamed up with Hillary Duff and “Casper the Friendly Ghost” for a cross promotion for the film “Casper Meets Wendy.”
And in 2014, DC Comics artists Terry and Rachel Dodson, Dave Johnson, and Jim Lee illustrated limited edition versions of Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry.
In 2020, the Monsters Cereasl teamed up with award-winning special effects artist Karlee Morse to create three one-of-a-kind monster cereal busts for a first-ever Monster Cereal sweepstakes.
Karlee Morse, award-winning special effects artist, talks about her special project for General Mills’ Monster Cereals for Halloween 2020. Editor’s note: The…
The Monster Mash
This year, all 5 monsters are coming together for a 50th anniversary limited-edition Monster Mash cereal.
This is the first time ever that pieces from all five Monster Cereals will be in one bowl!
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