818 – Claude and the Count Chocula’s Cereal Box History
Take a lulling look back at some boxes of cereal days gone by.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and friends beyond the binary, and my patrons. Thank you so much for supporting the show, patrons. It's Scooter, who's thanking you in the strain announcer voice. Let's get on with the show.
Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do with a bedtime story. All you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press play. I'm going to do the rest. What I'm going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever's keeping you awake, whether it's things you're thinking about. Feelings of like … Any emotions that are coming up. Physical sensations. If your schedule's changed, or you're getting ready to go on a trip, or you got something going on. Whatever it is, I'd like to take your mind off of that, and keep you company. Help you fall asleep, really.
What I propose to do is to have this safe place here, or hopefully a place that ideally at some point to you will feel safe and welcoming. But I'm trying to craft out that coziness. Or you might say, “Scoots, I prefer … Do you have a safe place that's a little less cozy?” I'd say, “Of course I do. Come on over here. This a rough-hewn area.” Believe it or not, I prefer it myself, I just don't publicize it. There were the doubters when I said “Well … ” When I did get that budget, well, to craft out the great, safe place. I said, when they looked at the plans, they said “What is this area over here?” I said, “Oh, this is a rough-hewn safe place … part of the safe place.” And that was their answer, speechless. It was a gathering of scientists and architects, and it was just so many people.
I said, “Is there a problem with having a rough-hewn section of a safe place?” And they said, “No no, no, not a problem, just interesting.” And I said, “Oh boy, that's the most interesting, is when it comes out a scientist's mouth, it's the most loaded word I've ever heard.” And they said, “Well, I'm not a scientist, I'm a … ” And I said, “Oh, that's even more load, believe me. Especially when you have a yellow pad like that.” I've been to therapy, I know how this works, you say “interesting” and then your pen starts moving. Or when you cast your eyes down.
Anyway, actually sorry about that, I didn't mean to go off. I was just speaking with this person that appreciates rough-hewn spaces, welcome. I do have a rough-hewn space. Oh, I'm sorry, you said a rouge-hewn huge space. I do have that as well, thanks for clarifying that. A rouge-hewn huge space is something I had never thought of, but I think it's a great idea. I don't think I could call it “rouge-hewn”. Hewed, yeah. That's tough to say after saying rough-hewn.
I got to get back to the intro, but there's … Yeah, there's a rouge-hewed place in the safe place. I'm going to create a safe place, I'm going to send my voice across the deep, dark night. I'm going to use lulling, soothing, creaky dulcitones. Pointless meanders, superfluous tangents. I'm going to go off-topic. You've already seen it a few times here. Now, if you're new, welcome, I'm glad you're here. This podcast is definitely different than all … all podcasts, I think. Or how you consume it is up to you. If this is your first few times here, look at it a bit passively.
I guess to dive into a metaphor we're already in, imagine you were instead of open … like you said, “What do you want to do this weekend? Go to some … I know we're not buying anything, but you want to go to those historical open … They got that historical open house thing. We could go check that out, what do you think?” And you say, “Well, I heard about Scoot's … It's somewhere in the hillside somewhere.” “Really, two ‘somewheres' in one sentence, huh?” “Oh yeah, he … Scoots is working on a safe place. They're calling it the Universal Self-Safe Place Initiative, I think. I was thinking we could just take a … They're having a open house with potential sections of safe places. A lot of people are online, or joking about the rough-hewn part. I thought I could put my hands on my hips and walk around, and just take in the various types of safe places people might like, or Scoots is anticipating people might like.”
“Of course, a lot of people would like someplace cozy and comfy. But I just wanted to see the other ones. And they said it's free to walk around, and just see how it goes. That's how you'd consume the podcast too. You'd say, huh, interesting. Is this brick-hewed safe place?” And the person in there would say, “Well, this is a rouge-hewed safe place, but if you move a few steps to your right, it will be more of a brick-hewed safe place.” And you say, “Really, how'd they … I don't know if you realized this, Scoots created the Roy G. Biv Institute, or something like that. It was originally for holiday lighting, and he said he's been working on other uses, because he sells Roy G. Biv-certified certification. Yeah, that's how they do it.”
“Pantone or Panatone, they're … He's just waiting for clearance from them. He likes to pretend he's on the phone.” He says, “Get Pantone on the phone,” and we say, “Scoots, it's not pronounced that way.” That's how you could consume the podcast, is if you're just strolling through a safe place checking it out, at first. And you'd say, “I've never seen the physical embodiment of a variety of safe places. I'm just going to take it in, and this is different and not what I expected.” The show is a bit silly though, at the same time. That's one thing if you're new, to structurally what to expect. We write a little late for that, but show starts off with a few minutes of business. That's how we keep the podcast free for everybody and not behind a paywall, or a paid service or something. Then there's the intro, which we're in the middle of here. And the intros are on 12 to 15 minutes of wind-down time. Really, it's a introduction if you're new. So you say, “Okay. I listen to two intros, I still don't get what the podcast is.”
I'd say, “Okay, definitely listen to Sleep With Me, then.” But if you're a regular listener, a lot of people start the podcast as part of their wind-down. Before they get ready for bed, or as they're getting ready for bed. Maybe they're doing some foam-rolling. Maybe instead of doing any rough-hewing, maybe they're doing some rouge-hewing of the room, and they say, “Well, I'm going to get my room in a rouge … ” I don't know if that's sleep-conducive, to be honest. I have no idea. Maybe you're de-rouging, right?
You say, “Well, first I put on Sleep With Me. Then I start my skincare products,” that's which we've talked about before. For me, or for Noir Chardonnay, there's a lot of rouge. So Noir Chardonnay, it has to de-rouge. That's just a character from the podcast. If you're de-rouging or something like that, and that's part of your … Not just something you do, but you have made it in a way of part of your evening routine. You say, “Well, when I know … When the rouge comes off, I know it's almost time for me to get relaxed, so I start listening to Sleep With Me.”
That's what the intro's for. Or you could be in bed. Our listeners have fallen asleep during the intro, and there are listeners that just skip ahead to 20 minutes or so. Just kind of see how it goes, but the intro is like a … It's not a integral part of the show, because you could skip it. But it is part of the natural slow motion of the show. I'm just laughing because I don't even know how to describe it. It doesn't have to be there, but it's part of the … Like the movement of the sea or something.
You're right, safe place development brain. It is like one room in the safe place. It could be the entryway, or it could be your actual safe place, or it could be a passageway. Or it could be the kind of place you see, you come in, the mudroom, it could be that. There you go. I know there's real estate people that listen. We've got your rough-hewn mudroom. You'd say, “I'm sorry, what? Oh yeah, this is a rough-hewn mudroom. Well it's the latest thing. It's so hardy. Perfect for de-mudding.” Okay, so where was I? Okay, so that's the intro … Oh, the intro, that's that intro.
Then there will be a story, a bedtime story, about 40 minutes, 45 minutes or so. Thank you's at the end. There's business between the intro and the story, just because that's how podcast structures work. Then that's it for that. No need to listen. This is a podcast you could partially listen to, totally listen to, or not listen to. There's no pressure to fall asleep. I'm going to be here to keep you company, and take your mind off of stuff. But you drift off as you wish, whatever works for you. I'll be here to keep you company, but no pressure to pay attention. So there's that, what other stuff … I probably forgot some stuff, huh?
The structure of the show. I don't know. I'm glad you're here. The reason I make the show is because I've been there in the deep, dark night tossing and turning. I know how it feels, and I just want to help. Also I truly believe you do deserve a good night's sleep. I would like it if this podcast could help you or lead you to something else that helps, so that you get the rest you need and deserve, and you could be out there living your life and flourishing.
If you're new, see how it goes. If you've listened two or three times, at some point it might stop working. If it doesn't, check out sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou. Or if you're already having a strong reaction and you say, “You definitely don't … ” Yeah, Sleep With Me podcast, no thank you. There's other sleep podcasts and chill podcasts over there. But that's it. I just want to help. I appreciate you coming by and checking the show out. I worked very hard, I yearn and I strive, and I want to help you fall asleep. Here's a couple other ways we keep the show going.
All right everybody, this is a special for the season … The costume season, the hollowing of the ween season. This is a little seasonal episode with … I'm going to hand it over to a reporter the show's worked with in the past, Claude Neon. But Claude used to, like a serial price guide for a lot of Claude's research, serialpriceguide.blogspot.com. If you want to see a lot of these boxes that are on there, along with their value … I'll quote a couple other cool links to other boxes and stuff. All right, here you go, Claude.
Yes, yes. Hello, everyone, this is Claude Neon. Thank you, Scooter. Good to be back, this is Claude Neon Reports. You may remember me as the reporter who broke the story on Roberta Claus, it was many years ago. I had an exclusive back then, I thought it would be really break my career. The news of Roberta Claus, her adventures on taking over the holiday season, the deliveries of presents, and the challenges she faced. Unfortunately, it didn't boost my career quite as much as you would think. Exclusives like that would boost your career, but it's been … Since then, Claude Neon's been … I've been on my own personal journey, and doing some odds and ends, and napping, and those kind of things. But it's good to be back.
My inquiries of tales untold, much like Scooter's, has never ceased, and will be always be there. This is more sleepy too, because I had discussed things with Scooter, and he said, “Well, Claude,” I said, “Could I come back on the show?” He said, “Do you have any reports?” I said, “I'm reporting on working … Not right now.” And Scooter said, “Well, when you do come, give me … get a hold of me.” Then I said, “Scooter, I don't have … ” And he said, “Well, what about some interviews?” And I said, “Interesting, interesting.” And I said, “Who do you have for me to interview?” And Scooter said, “Have you ever heard any of my interviews go? They're usually … ” He said, “What about … ”
And then, he did me a favor. He did me a salad, and he introduced me to who I'm here with this evening. Who I'm here with for sleepy discussion. A time to reminisce and learn more about the famous Count Chocula. I'll be here tonight talking to Count Chocula. As we look back on the boxes, and the toys that were in those boxes, let me take a trip down memory road, because there's a lot we don't know about Count Chocula. So I'm here with Count Chocula, we might as well … Right in the studio. Thank you for being here and making time for us on Claude Neon Reports.
Thank you, Claude. You were an icon. I don't mean to shatter any delusions for you, and I know you've had a comeback recently. Just a few days ago I was with Scooter, because I didn't think this was going to be real … I'm really touched to be here with you. Can I call you Count, or Count Chocula? Claude, either one is fine. So is with Scooter, and this … You're already sitting down, Count. Scooter and I were at a grocery store that he frequents that refuses to advertise on the podcast. We'll just say it's called TJ's.
There was a person there who said that their … One of the employees said their cereal sales are so down, they're getting ready to get rid of a lot of their breakfast cereals. I know that can't be easy for you to hear, Count Chocula. But much like me, times change, and people change. But we're here to look at the past, and look at the future at the same time, and learn about you. While we talk about … Some of the boxes, the way you were particularly, because we have listeners that may … Here's the thing, Count. We live in a interesting time. A lot of the youth in the past, in the streaming era particularly, haven't been exposed to as many TV … television commercials as someone like Scooter, or myself, or … And so they don't get a regular dose of characters like you. I don't know anything about the cereal business, Claude, I only know my end of the business.
Right, and so what I was going to say was that, they don't consume as many commercials. I don't know if that's why they consume less cereal, or because it's a treat like in … No, I don't want to project everything through Scooter, but I know at his house, breakfast cereal is a weekend-only, or a Saturday morning-only kind of thing. Also they don't have Saturday morning cartoons. Can you explain to us a little bit about the environment you flourished in? About breakfast cereals. What I would say was the glory days of television, if you're advertising to children and to children's breakfast cereals.
Well thank you Claude, thank you for having me on, everyone. I'm going to call myself Count Claudie by accident. I'm Count Chocula. You may know me as the Count Chocula on a breakfast cereal. You may have seen my face, my visage. You may have seen me eating my own cereal, and said, “Well that's strange. Does that make you a double Count that consumes his own … ” And I say, well, I'm a Count that consumes chocolate, Count Chocula, and I also love chocolate. But this isn't really about me, it's about cereal, and about the past. So once upon a time, there was a world where you couldn't stream things on demand. TV was a linear … It was limited at times, and it was broken up into segments by commercials. And the commercials brought you the television stuff for free, and you watched the commercials, and the commercials needed to be entertaining, and they needed to market products. I was a product marketed to children, a breakfast cereal.”
I might have had more influence behind the scenes. You may call me just talent, even though I did have a lot of influence on what went into the cereal. Not the final ingredients, the flavor, and the toys, and some creative things. But mostly I was talent.” “Are you a real chocolate Count? I know that's what another question would ask Claude. And that is true. I was discovered, and I think Scooter's talked about that, and that's a tale for another time. This is my history. There was television. There was children's television, particularly on Saturday mornings. There was a block of cartoons, and children's … Because you didn't have a myriad of options. This was back in the old days of mass media. Children would watch television, the majority I would guess, on Saturday mornings from we'll say 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM. In between those would be commercials for toys, commercials for breakfast cereal, commercials for snacks and clothing. Things that children would ask their parents to buy.
Now at this time, it was a competitive business, too. This is just my … as an outsider. I wasn't on the boards, I didn't run the companies. I worked for hire. But I did get a little bit on the back end, because they were using my visage and part of my story. Part of my biography. I am a chocolate Count. I am a Count that does rely on consumption of chocolate. But I also enjoy it. So you'd see commercials, like myself, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry. Franken Berry and Boo Berry were my sidekicks. They're also my friends, my companions, my coworkers. They also had their own cereals. I don't know if Claude will be interviewing them or not. That was a little bit about my story.
Now the competition within breakfast cereals was strong. People would call them sugared fortified breakfast cereals, or whatever. Frosted and flavored. Let's just put aside any judgments about those things and just talk about that it was a competitive business, and you wanted the children consuming your cereal, if you were the cereal maker. One of the ways you did it is not only with brilliant partnerships with people like myself, Franken Berry, Boo Berry, and some other affiliated characters, but also including not just … People talk about branding nowadays. They don't know what it was like in the glory days of branding, and visual marketing. You needed boxes, you needed colors. You needed things for kids to look at, because they didn't have a tablet or whatever, a device.
So each box needed to tell a story, and the story being told was of a happy child. This is just the truth, too. The child was getting joy from the cereal. You might have reaction to that, but maybe you did have reaction of joy, because each cereal normally had activities on it, and probably a premium toy within it, or not so premium a prize inside, much like your Cracker Jack before us. To justify not only the price point of the cereal, but to make it stand out, and to keep you coming back. These may seem strange to you in your modern age. But it really isn't. It wasn't asking for much, a cheap toy really went a long way. You might sit in judgment. But when you were the one unpacking it, or anticipating unpacking it, or looking at it and wishing for it … Claude, that was something I really took pride in is at least being involved in the decision-making, and trying to influence the toys and the box design.
Okay, Count. One thing about your cereal. It was a bit like you had chocolate marshmallows shaped like you? And then frosted cereal like circles with a cross in the middle, is what I remember. Well Claude, we'll just take this story one step at a time. Okay, so Count, tell me about … I want you to close your eyes, I want you to think about a 12 ounce box. I wanted you tell me, what is one of the first toys that comes to your mind? Maybe with you on the cover. Maybe also well-themed. Well, you're talking about the doorknocker. You're right that that was … That was a good one, holy cow. Was that one of the bright days, is when we had a doorknocker. Now it was plastic and for children's bedroom, but it was my … It was a chocolate-colored doorknocker with my face on it. It really felt like that got the mood for … That this is for kids, and that it seemed very much like you'd find in Transylvania, where … I probably lived in Chocovania, I forget. Some times have passed.
Okay, Count, well that is good. Now another one I want to think of. There was a time where there was a lot of parachute toys, and basically what it was was a plastic bag with string, and then an action … Not a action figure, but a figurine. I remember a lot of those things, they would work … Sometimes you'd have to throw them up, and they wouldn't work. You'd have to drop them from a height. Does that ring any bell … Oh, yes. We had the puff chute, it was called. Oh boy, was that a good time. Now ours had some advancements that fit in right where you're talking about. One, we had a tube that you would shoot it out. You'd blow that out. Two, it was … We had a parachute frame. There was a figure of myself standing proudly, my cape around my shoulders, my hand at my chest. Then there was … instead of having rope or string, we had plastic attachments to the parachutes.
They were rubbery, which gave us the chance to pack it all in the tube, and then launch it out of the tube without some of the difficulty of what you're saying. Now you always wanted your parents, or the adult figures in your life, to help you as you went along. We did have those with other characters as well. Okay Count, now do you ever know … Did you ever have any crossovers with other brands or other companies? Oh, Claude you're thinking of maybe our Harlem Globetrotters tee-shirt offer. I don't know the years anymore, that all runs together, but it was only $1.50, and one box bottom. Now this was during the cartoon version of the Harlem Globetrotters TV show. They were popular as both a basketball team appearing on television live action shows, as well as animated shows. And yeah, you could just send in a box bottom and for only … just $1.50, you could get your own tee-shirt. Quite a deal, I think, at the time. Very exciting.
Now this is interesting, Count, because this is like a throwback and throw-forward. Nowadays they have these things called bath bombs, where you put it in the bathtub and it fizzes, and it puts some salt and some refreshment in the air. But you were at the cutting edge of that a long, long time ago. Could you tell us about that? Oh, yes. This was a time … It was very good days. We had a three pack, it was … It was Bathtime Fun Sets, so that you could take a bubble with myself, or Boo Berry, Franken Berry, or our [Wolfiepoo 00:29:27] friend. It came with a soap figurine, so you had soap to clean yourself. Again, this was a little bit more of a cartoon version than the parachute version of me. Then you had a washcloth that said Count Chocula on it, and a picture of my lovely face. Then a package of scented bubble bath. All those together, for … Again, for just $1.50, and a box top, you could get all of those things.
Wow, that's amazing, and who knows what it would cost to get that on eBay, huh? Probably a bunch of dough. Yeah, probably would Claude. And yeah, made it for fun, for everybody. Getting clean, and having fun. Now, you didn't just have fun in the bathtub, but you had fun outside in the world. Do you ever remember one for your bike? Oh yes, Claude, I do. It was a spinner, and it was a bit like a … what are those things called … a pinwheel, for your bike. Your buddy Count Chocula … Again, this was back when Wolfiepoo … We had Boo Berry and Franken Berry. It would make riding your bike even more fun. This one came right in the box, just like the parachute set, right inside. You probably had to do some digging around, and I know people like Scooter, as soon as … If there was ever a toy in a box of cereal, Scooter could find it first before his siblings.
But this was something you would … clipped onto your handlebar of your bicycle. It looked like a bit like I was in an airplane, flying an old fashioned airplane, and smiling, and really enjoying it. It was durable, made of plastic. And again, you could get all four if you could get to the store, get your parent to go to the store and buy all those boxes of cereal. Okay, so Count … By the way, we're using a cereal price guide over on Blogspot for a lot of these trips down memory road. What about anything that offered a chance for disguise?
Oh boy, did we have that. Yeah, that was a good one. It was an iron-on. You had an iron-on shirt, that you could iron on to a tee-shirt. For a while, these were big things. You could put it on your shirt and it would make you look a bit like the character … your favorite character. Mine had me dancing kind of, and it said Count Chocula. Then it came with ears. I have ears that look a bit like … Some people would say they look a bit like … what is that … a Vulcan, or an elf. Then something to put on your eyebrows, so you have eyebrows like mine. And a set of teeth for tasting all that good, good chocolate.
Oh wow, that is exciting. That is exciting. Your friends, you could also get ones like your friends as well, is that what you're saying? Yeah, those were the good days. Oh boy, were those glory days. Now we're working our way through the '70s right now, so even … A lot of listeners weren't even around then. There was even a secret agent pen at one point. That must have been cool. Yeah, I didn't want that one because I felt like it wasn't branded to me and the team, so that was one I was not a fan of.
Okay, so then we'll move on. The next one, staying in the '70s, was called a surprise. This one has a bit of a cartoon. I'm not sure if it has anything to do with all of you, called the golden valley. This was when we had random … Inside of those boxes were three possible surprises. A toothbrush holder, Count Chocula-themed. Which would cover the bottom half of your toothbrush, would hold it up, upright. About three inches high, with myself on there. A wiz ring, Count Chocula-themed in some sense. A bit like Frisbee. Or a mini-figurine of myself. I was in the middle of a stride. Those were pretty good toys.
I liked the fact that they offered the children randomness in the option. Randomness in the option to get that. What about … There was also times where there was cut-out things. Oh yes. That one went a little far. It was just a cut-out, M-A-S-K of me. It said, “Fool your friends,” which I guess it was a … It was a cartoon version. It was face size, that you were supposed to cut out and put a string on. Cut out the eyes so you could see it. It was a great disguise, but I don't know if it would fool anybody, actually.
Then as the '70s, Count, came on, you started to do some crossovers with the Star Wars films, correct? Oh yeah, we did. We had, first it was Star Wars stick-ons, which were like a sticker. But you could also do a mail-in. There's scenes from the movie Star Wars. One of four, so again, you'd want to try to get all four. There was an X-Wing versus Vader. There was the team on … It was different cool things. These came in a variety of cereals, not just me and my friend's cereal.
But you could also get refunds on Star Wars toys when you bought them from Kenner, who used to make those toys. You could keep your proof of purchase from your cereal, and your proof of purchase from the toy. You'd get a 50 cent or dollar refund. If you had an X-Wing or TIE Fighter, you could get a dollar back. Wow, that is truly exciting, eh? Now, in the next year, you had … What did you have? Oh, we had cards, trading cards. One of six. I remember there a C-3PO … Or, it's one with C-3PO and R2-D2. I think there was one just of R2-D2. Little close to the other ones, I believe.
But yeah, that was a good one. I think there was even an offer for a special card case on that one. But yeah, I don't exactly remember, but we were getting a little too heavy in my opinion to the crossovers. But they wouldn't cease. Oh but the next year, you had a record out. Not just one record, Claude, but three. You could get one of three records. Three different records in the box. There was the Monsters Go Disco, Count Chocula Goes to Hollywood, and Monster Adventures in Outer Space. They were fun records. They were short, they only had a few minutes of playing time. But in each box, and the records had a … Oh records, you mean that Claude may need to … Before there was tapes or CD's, they call them vinyl now. You could play those on a record player, and yeah, they were pretty cool.
They were colored. They had beautiful cartoons or drawings of all of us themed to the record. Very [inaudible 00:38:33], very good branding. Those were one of my favorites, to be honest with you. Especially in this dearth of crossovers. Because then the next one, what you could order, you could get a Battlestar Galactica Adventure Card, again. Or there was also you could mail in for a space station. Then not long after that was a Star Wars motion picture crossover, which again had collector close-ups. Again, cards that you could win, or cards you could get. You could also order a Star Trek light beam, which was basically a flashlight, for just a dollar with proof of purchase. There was one of Spock … Which I'm surprised they didn't do more crossovers with just Spock and I.
Again, not long after that, it was a … Now this is, talk about timely. It would love to get you in with the Marvel characters now. But this was, you could get a Marvel superhero sticker, huh? Yeah, I believe there was The Hulk, Spiderman, Captain America, and Spiderwoman. But oh, a [Forest Friend 00:40:00] man and Forest Friend woman, Scooter, because you got to change … Oh, you're right. One of eight Marvel superhero stickers. Then there was also … With proof of purchase, you could get Marvel Superhero Presto Magic X dry transfer games. Those basically like an iron-on, but on the paper. They had ones where it was vinyl stickers that you could play with. But these ones you would actually just … They're dry transfer pictures, so you'd rub it with your pencil, like an iron-on, and it would be on the paper.
A bit like stickers, but pretty fun. Well Scooter, I don't think you ever had any of those. Maybe he's seen his classmates with those. That was another crossover we did. What about this one, how do you feel about this? There was one time on the back of it where it said, “Which has more sugar, an apple or a bowl of Count Chocula?” And it said an apple. You know, Claude, we all have times that our voice wasn't heard, and that was one for me. Yet, I don't look back at that in a positive way. But moving on the '80s, you had paper dolls. Character cut-outs you called them, where you could cut it out and stand it up, and play with it. Yeah I liked that, because I always like it when I'm dancing with joy. You know on covers of some of the Count Chocula cereals is my head. But on other ones it's me pouring … dancing and pouring the milk in with joy. That's real joy.
Now this is something I really wish I could have had. I remember going to kid's houses that had things like this. Now you could do this repurposing with a cardboard box. But what was it? Scooter, it was a … On the back, you could order a mansion, which looked a bit like a castle where all of us lived together. Franken Berry, Count Chocula, Boo Berry. And it was our mansion. It was like a hideout. Yeah, a bit like a washing machine box, but painted. It also had things you could stick on there, like a window, a door. Four feet tall, corrugated cardboard. Easily assembled in about five minutes. It was $12.99, plus two UPC codes from the cereal, and you sent it to Monster Mansion, Box 1629, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Wow, what an age that some people got to live in, that you could just order … I guess 12.95 is not exactly cheap back then either, but pretty cool.
It was pretty cool, and I never got my own sample to play with. But I would have loved to. Okay next up, now this is the '80s. There was Walkmans, which were portable tape players and radios. But then there was even a portable handheld TV, which now seems like … It was pretty cool, and Sony made those. You had to give away a game card inside, where a thousand people did win Sony Watchmens. Yeah, that was a time, Scooter, that the dream was starting to come true that wouldn't be realized until now, where people were really … This is went into these more games. It was a big sweepstakes era. Then the next … I remember this well, Claude. We had the Money Machine game. This was trying to pitch parents. You could win up to $100,000 instantly.
It used game cards. Again, they said “Well, what if we get rid of the toys, and see how that does.” But then it wasn't long before we went … The next feature I remember was Super Bubble bubblegum. Four pieces inside a cereal. They even had a picture of myself blowing a bubble, which would be tough with my teeth. I have rabbit-like teeth. Or actually straw teeth that I use to drink my chocolate milk. We had Franken Berry and Boo Berry holding the Super Bubble bubblegum. It was another crossover. Then we tried bigger marshmallows. Now the marshmallows, as you indicated, were shaped like my head. We tried to put in these bigger marshmallows. Because we had a lot of marshmallow competition back then.
Another thing that was big in the '80s were stamps. We had stamps of ourselves. Those were cool. You needed three proofs of purchase. This was a mail-in one, which sometimes people got frustrated with, because they thought the stamps would be inside. I wonder, the children that did end up following through on these mailing-ins, and they had the wherewithal to do that, they're probably … Maybe they were running things the past 20 years. I don't know, Count, because I only know Scooter was not mailing anything in. He was just complaining, probably. Those three stamp set of Boo Berry, you, and Franken Berry, huh? Yeah, very cool. Self-inking stamps, by the way, which they acted like they invented those, but they were around for a while.
Then we had another thing with the Super Bubble bubblegum, which was America's first twist-wrapped gum, by the way. Along with another pitch for the castle we had. Then we went back … I don't know if they discovered more, because of the … This one was another … It was 3.50 at this point, with two UPC codes, but it was another bath kit. But you got three soap figures for 3.50. Franken Berry, Count … myself, and Boo Berry, and then three sponges of all of us. And talk about fun. How do you get more fun than that? Especially with the soap figurines. They were really, really well done.
This was before 3D printing. If you were to look at those designs, you'd say that the soap was really crafted … I guess this was a glory time for shaped soap. Then we did a promotion for Wacky Wafers that I remember. Wacky Wafers were like a Sweet Tart-type candy, fruit flavored. Very well-flavored, a Wonka product, Willy Wonka product. A pack of, I don't know if it was three or four, came inside. Oh, six of them, actually. Oh, I was wrong. So two packs of three, and then also came with a coupon for free … That was a really good deal. You could bring the coupon into the store and get a 2.06 ounce tube, much like your Sprees come, of Wacky Wafers.
I don't know if they're still available today. Then this was late '80s, I think, when there was a great personalization of shoes. These were shoe taggers, which you could personalize, with just three UPC symbols, free just with those. You could get your name embossed on these, or … And you could put them on your shoes, so people would know … One for each foot, two personalized name tags. Didn't really have to do with us, but it was popular then. Now this was a time I wish they had branded us, because this was when Matchbox Cars and other cars … In our case, Stomper 4×4's. There was a free sticker inside the box, and then you could order your own 4×4, with two UPC symbols. But they weren't branded myself or … So I wasn't too happy about that.
I preferred myself to be in there. Then we had a special one with extra Boo Berry, but not Boo Berry, G-H … We changed some of the cereal shape, from the circle to G-H-O-S-T, like Boo Berry Caspers, I guess you'd say. I liked this cover of the box, because I was standing over it kind of doing it. But new cereal pieces, you could also … Again, there was a chance to order your stamps, and you [inaudible 00:49:53] extra G-H-O … Casper stamp. Then it was a chance to get a free stamp of Casper, and then for 1.50 extra, you could order the other three of us as stamps.
That was good. Then, again, another one that was only kind of themed, it was Wacky Wax. This was like where you could have a mustache, or lips, blue lips or mustache. Or a bit like my lips and teeth, but not a Count Chocula version. They said it was chewing gum, but it was more wax, flavored wax. But they didn't do any branding with us, and again, this was when they stopped listening to me. Again we went back … I don't know if it was a new company, Super Bubble, was that the original company? Yeah, but they had three pieces of Super Bubble. It was Super Bubble that had tried to expand to more flavors from the original just uni-flavor.
In there they had cherry, grape, fruit, apple, and tropical punch, and not just bubblegum flavored. Then we had another chance with a classic Count. They had disguise stickers you could order, that you could put on yourself to peel off. But they were actual stickers. You could also order a classic Universal … The characters from Universal that are similar to us. Another one that was just disappointing to me was … It was for the Halloween season, but it was just a straight, 100% Starburst promotion on all boxes, not themed to us. It was Tropical Starburst, which came inside, and then there was a coupon in back. Again, another time I wasn't happy.
Then we did a cross-promo with Universal Studios Hollywood. This came with a mystery drawing disk, which was fun. Then an ad for Universal Studios. But we were included, at least in the advertising, looking on like we wanted to go. For some reason, Boo Berry was excluded from this. We had another friend, [Mum Mum 00:52:36], who was involved. But this was when Universal Studios Hollywood was expanding, I think, and trying to get more people to visit. Then, let's see what else we had. Then we had a re-invention. I got to think. Claude, what year was this? Let me see your research here. 1988, Count. Yes, sir, 1988, they really tried to reboot me, and redraw me. They put a bedroom sign that said, “Don't look in by bedroom.” Which was a sign to put on the door.
It also had the ability to put my eyes from the front in a little bit of a 3D way, which was fun. But that was like when they tried to draw me a little bit differently. It wasn't long they went back to classic. They had a coloring book offer, with a sweatshirt. But it was like a … I think it was like around $15. And there was a coloring book, and a sweatshirt, but not themed towards … just towards us, other things we worked with. In '89, we did B-A-T marshmallows, and then we had a notebook cover, which was cool. It was of us running around a house. That was a fun one. You could you use motions. That was 3.25, you could order that. It was called the Spooky Trail notebook cover. Again, a good time. Good time was had by all.
Then we started to lose the regular appearance of toys. This one was an activity, connect the dots. It was Franken Berry and I in the forest, and we had found a Sasquatch. If you connected the dots on the back of the box, it was a Sasquatch. Again, this was a more modern drawing of me. Maybe at that time is we got rid of my popularity, because I was standing over the marshmallows with my [inaudible 00:55:03] look face, with my arms spread. But we still had some time … We had a fun one which was a Spooky Shape Maker. I think that was the late '80s, early '90s. Which was like where, it's like a … What do you call that, where you put a piece of paper over it and you run a crayon across it, and then it embosses it on there.
Those were fun. There was me. There was one with my face, there was one of a B-A-T. There was one of a C-A-T. One of those was inside the box of cereal, which was nice. Then we had another one without a prize inside, which was a memory challenge activity. Then this one, instead of a prize, we had … At least it was cool. It was a glow in the dark surprise, which was me, glowing in the dark on the back of the box. That was a classic. Then we tried a B-L-O-B marshmallow, along with the B-A-T. There was supposed to be … Introducing other sidekicks for me, these B-L-O-B's. They had a little maze on the back of one of the boxes.
That was in the '90s. Then we had bolt marshmallows for a brief time, which were interesting. Again, trying to redo the marshmallows. You could order a Betty Crocker catalog, and another maze built in to my tower. Then a crossover, that at least they branded the back, glow in the dark Band-Aids. I think you got two of those inside. They had cool designs. They glowed in the dark. You know, make kids happy. At least that was on there with the kid saying, “Wow,” which I appreciate. I appreciate getting on the boxes, it's one of the things I love.
You know, Count, we're getting down to the time here. We don't have that many more boxes to go. Please, this is all I have, Claude. Okay, so where do we leave off? Then we had … Another one looking for hidden pictures. That one I didn't even appear in the center of the box. They had a B-A-T that you could cut out with wacky eyes. I was just on the top of the box. Obviously, I wasn't happy about that. Then they kept a lightning bolt promotion going, then we had one where, again, they tried to redo me again. They had a lot of puzzles on the back, geared up for chocolate, because they had … There was magical marshmallows in that one that would appear. That was … I don't know, as soon as you added milk. Then we went into full reboot mode. Changed my box to purple. They started putting me in the background.
There was a gummy forest friend there, and a fake mirror on the back for radical reflections. That was the '90s. I went neon. They changed me around. They gave me a dog with sunglasses. Then I started getting smaller and smaller. The next box, in '94, the dog was even bigger than me. They did make a comeback with a CD that was in the box. That was cool. I think that was in the mid-'90s, with music and sounds. This was when the box was fully purple. '97, you could order your own watch, which I think was a cool thing. But again, you're having to order it, along with a bunch of other things you could buy. Watch was 10.50. It did glow in the dark. There was a tee-shirt that said Count on it. So they were trying to brand me a little bit more.
We had fun games on that one. But again, I was checked out at this point. They had moved away from everything that's close to me. Then we did a movie, crossover with the movie Casper, with Casper-shaped marshmallows. That was when he came out on video. You could also get a Casper lunchbox for 8.99. Not exactly high points in my career. Then Lost World Dino Spoon, which again I like the movie, but I don't know what it had to do with me. Just was full crossover era. We did another one … You can see at this point I was a bit disillusioned. We did a crossover with Hershey's. Now we were really made with Hershey's Cocoa. Then a crossover with Casper and the direct-to-video movie, with Wendy, and more games, a couple of crossovers with that. A crossover with Goosebumps. 2000. A crossover with Dairy Queen. You already know what … Then a crossover with Inspector Gadget.
Now this was cool, it was a mini-projector flashlight with A Bug's Life, so we were even into the Pixar era. We did a crossover with Shaggy-shaped marshmallows, along with Scooby-Doo, the new Scooby-Doo cartoon. That's kind of it, almost. '99 … I just stopped. I can't even remember what it was. Couple more crossovers with Scooby-Doo. At this point, I said, “Who am I?” They had bobbleheads. Then that's when they … I think for a while shut down. But if you look, there's like … I don't know. It's not easy, is what I guess I'm saying. It's never been easy. But as you see, it was a lot of joy in there. A lot of things to talk about.
Well, it's good we had you on. I thought this would be a boost for my career, Count. But it sounds like it was more a boost for putting toys back in cereal. If anything we could agree on, it could be that. Yeah, or that just talking about, this is kind of sleepy, so I appreciate it. Appreciate you caught me on … Good night. Good night, everybody.