Saturday, September 30, 2006

Burger King's Magician? (circa 1973)

It's really fun finding things, thinking they might be "something" and trying to identify them and perhaps recapture some lost memories.

This yellow plastic motorcycle toy had been around the house since childhood. It has a gyro wheel and should have a zip cord to make it go. The character seemed vaguely familiar, enough so to make me think it was not just a generic toy. I had been wondering for several years who it was.

There's a crown on the side of the bike and a bearded man at the wheel with a long nose and double pointed hat. His long beard runs down the side of his arm to his back, like it's blowing in the wind as he rides.

I have another similar cycle of Simon the kangaroo from Quangaroos Cereal, made in the early 1970s. Possibly related, I thought mine might be King Vitaman, another Quaker cereal character back then. Here's the Quangaroo.

Well the design, size and material are similar, so I assumed at least that these were made by the same company and that mine was likely from the early 1970s, too. At the time, that was the best I could do.

The proverbial fog started to lift on September 1, when I saw this amazing vintage fast food prize on Neato Coolville's blog. Todd turned up one of the coolest items I had never seen. This is the old cartoon King from Burger King, and he's riding his Royal Motorcycle! Needless to say, I need to get myself one of those!

[The cartoon King represented Burger King from about 1972-1976. More about him on a future blog post. ]

I started to see the similarities with mine -- same crown on the side, same wheel spokes and same headlight. So I was thrilled to assume that mine was also from Burger King, but a different character. A character who I did not remember. Mine was clearly not the King.

From that point, the quest continued. Sadly, very little information was available about the cartoon King, and certainly nothing about any secondary characters in that BK ad campaign.

Finally, I found this vintage Burger King commercial with the cartoon King, circa 1973, on YouTube! (Click to play the commercial within this page.)

In the commercial, we see a man with a long beard, long nose and double pointed fast food employee hat. He's working the counter at Burger King. The King himself identifies the man as "my former Magician"!

I feel pretty certain now that my motorcycle is indeed the Magician from Burger King, an obscure secondary character, who may be a little less obscure now.

Thanks to Todd at Neato Coolville and whoever found and posted that glorious commercial to YouTube, finally I think the mystery is solved!

Please post comments to let me know if you think I've got this right, and if you know any more information about this Magician or perhaps other motorcycles given away in this Burger King promotion.

Hopefully more vintage Burger King commercials and toys will surface to reveal more.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Problems posting comments?

Since switching to the Beta Blogger template -- which, by the way, I really really like -- I've discovered that there are problems posting comments.

If you have a Blogger account but have not upgraded to the Beta, you may not be able to post comments to a Beta blog like mine. The opposite also appears to be true, as I've not been able to post comments to some non-Beta blogs with my Beta account. Hopefully Google/Blogger will get this all worked out.

*** Update 09/23/06 -- The beta bug is fixed. Everyone should be able to post comments now. ***

Monday, September 04, 2006

Pizza Hut Pete

The man with the floating hat is none other than Pizza Hut Pete. As far as I can tell, he started making pies for the pizza giant around 1965 and virtually disappeared in the mid-1980s.

[While he was named Pete, I've also seen him referred to on Pizza Hut paper items simply as "Pizza Man".]

The bag puppet shown here was probably given away in the early 1970s. I love how he is simultaneously giving kids the "thumbs up" and the "OK" sign to assure us that all is well at his pizza joint.

Pete's design caught my attention at an early age; most notably his floating hat, which usually hovered just above his head, and of course the fact that he had two eyes on the same side of his nose. Yes, Pete was always a beacon for classy pizza and good times.

I fondly remember having family meals out at the Pizza Hut in the 1970s and working the activities on the back of the kids' placemats. Here is one such placemat in which Pete shows the steps to make the perfect pie.

Here is the second edition of the Pete bag puppet from the late 1970s. Pete has a more refined or cleaned-up look here.

I've tried to compile a list of Pizza Hut Pete premiums and collectibles that I've seen over the years. Here's what I've come up with so far:
  • Bag puppets (2 different)
  • Coleco toy oven
  • Pizza Hut kids playhouse
  • Pete plastic bank
  • Stickers (at least 4 different)
  • Matchbooks (at least 4 different designs)
  • Server set (toy dishes)
  • Key ring
  • Playing cards
  • Glasses & mugs
  • Pinback buttons (2 different)
  • Uniform patch
  • Pete enameled pin (newer/retro)
  • Pete plush doll
  • Paper placemats (various, with activities on back)
  • Postcards (Pete featured on store sign or roof)
  • Swizzle stick
  • Store "Closed" sign
  • Pocket menu
Here are a few of the above-mentioned items.

Pete seems to be another advertising icon that is being lost to history, though he'll make an occasional appearance in an eBay auction. Pizza Hut doesn't seem to acknowledge him anymore, and there's not really anything written about him on the web... until now!

But Pete does live on, certainly in the memories of many kids of the '70s who, like me, remember gathering the family around a pepperoni pie, doodling on placemat activities and pondering the laws of gravity and that funny little pizza man under the hat.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

New Template

I'm testing out the new beta templates and design features here on Blogger. So far so good. The beta allows for much more horizontal space than before -- something that always bugged me.

I love the collapsible archive index over on the right side.

I'll be posting some more fun stuff again very soon.

Oh, and here's my new waffle symbol [:::]

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Big Yella from Corn Pops

Yee-haa! The man with the big yellow hat is "Big Yella", the cool cowboy from Kelloggs Sugar Corn Pops cereal.

For a relatively brief stint, Big Yella rustled up some tasty Sugar Corn Pops for kids of all ages. He was featured on the boxes and premiums from 1977 to 1980. Before Big Yella, there was a "live", unanimated cowboy character. After Big Yella in 1980 we were treated to Poppy the Porcupine for a few years.

The box pictured here is from late in 1977 and features the True West trading card premiums.

I have not been able to locate copies of any TV commercials with Big Yella, though I do remember them from the time. If anyone knows of some, please let me know!

Big Yella was created by the Leo Burnett advertising agency, who created many memorable commercial characters back then. I was fortunate enough to acquire an original piece of artwork of Big Yella. This drawing was done by Bill Mackley for "Jean" -- and I believe that both of them worked at Leo Burnett. This is one of several that I acquired -- the others being different characters created by that agency, all done for Jean. I can only guess that Jean was leaving the company and Bill gave these as a parting gift.

Cereal premiums featuring Big Yella are out there, and relatively in short supply it seems. Here's an incomplete list of prizes that I have or have seen:
  • "Bull Dozer Bike" Sticker
  • Notebook Tab Divider Stickers
  • Beach Ball
  • School Subjects Paper Bookmarks (at least 8 different)
  • Drinking Glass
  • Heat Transfer Glitter Iron-On
  • School Bus Pencil Box (with other Kellogg's characters)
  • Big Puzzles (at least 3 different, with other Kellogg's characters)
  • "I like everything Big & Yella" Poster
  • Music Poster (with Dig'em the frog)
  • Rub-Ons (at least 3 different, with other Kellogg's characters; Canadian)
  • Window Cling-On "Sticker" (2 different)
  • Yo-Yo
  • Light Switch Sticker
  • "Best Looking Of The Lot" Sticker
  • Bike Reflector (Stick Up For Breakfast promotion)
  • Tube Socks
  • T-Shirt (mail-away offer)
  • Bendy Figure
In my opinion, one of the best cereal prizes ever is this wonderful bendy figure of Big Yella.

Probably the oddest Big Yella prize has to be this pair of tube socks, which must have been a mail-away item.
Big Yella rode off into the sunset in 1980 and hasn't been heard from since. Happy Trails, Big Yella! We miss you.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Save Fruit Pie The Magician!

Fruit Pie The Magician has been removed from the Hostess Fruit Pie wrappers. This is really a shame.

Fruit Pie The Magician was created in 1973 by artist Don Duga to represent Hostess Fruit Pies. Hostess snack cakes had some great characters back in the '70s like Twinkie The Kid, King Ding Dong, Captain Cup Cake, Chief Big Wheels and more. Together, those characters made some memorable commercials.

Here's one of the last salvaged Fruit Pie wrappers with the Magician himself on it.

Check out the website to Save Fruit Pie The Magician. Maybe we can complain enough to get Hostess to bring him back.

As of 2006, the new Fruit Pie wrappers have a new design, and have just lost their magic.

Here's a t-shirt iron-on from 1981.

More talk about Hostess characters coming in the future...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Punchy from Hawaiian Punch

"How about a nice Hawaiian Punch?" --- A question that has been asked since the 1960s when Punchy hit the commercial airwaves pitching for Hawaiian Punch fruit drink.

I think it was always more of a statement than a question, because when he said that phrase, you knew the poor tourist sap was going to get popped.

Good times!

The Hawaiian Punch brand has been around for over 40 years. I believe Punchy arrived in the mid to late 1960s, and he's been around ever since -- appearing on commercials, powdered drink packets, drink cans and assorted premiums.

The "tourist", whose answer to the famous question was always "Sure!", was named either Oaf or Opie. (I've heard both). Anyway his main function was to take the beating from Punchy. I think the tourist has been gone since the 1980s, or so, when some sensitive types probably complained about the violence.

Hawaiian punch came in several different forms (juice, powder, flavor crystals) and flavors (regular, cherry, grape, lemonade, pineapple, etc.) over the years. Pictured above is an original animation cel introducing the pineapple flavor. Of course in the regular, traditional flavor of Hawaiian Punch "you taste seven kinds of fruit..." according to the old jingle.

Several premiums were given away over the years from Hawaiian Punch. Here are a few that I've seen:
  • Hawaiian Punch Board Game (1978)
  • Popsicle Molds (1970s)
  • Wristwatch (at least 3 different ones)
  • Punchy-shaped drinking cup (1980s?)
  • Yo-Yo (1990s)
  • Beach Towels
  • Frisbee
  • Punchy Radio (1970s)
  • Figural Punchy Keychains (1990s)
  • Pogs (1980s?)
  • Mr. Mixit Drink Dispenser (1970s)
  • Canned Wizzer Top (1970s)
  • Greeting Cards (1987)
  • Birthday Party Book (1976)
  • Plush Punchy Dolls (2 different: 1969, 1985?)
Here are a few more pictures:

The yellow Punchy figure above is a super-cool hard-plastic game piece that came with the 1978 board game. They came in 4 different colors (yellow, pink, orange and blue) to represent the different flavors at that time. I wonder if the figures were given away separately in addition to coming in the board game. Who knows?

Well, Punchy is alive and well today, and even has his own official website. Keep on punchin'! (Official Hawaiian Punch Website)

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Cheetos Mouse

The Cheetos Mouse made the scene around 1967, pitching for Cheetos chips. Actually they don't call them chips, rather "cheese flavored snacks", but we all know what they are. Anyway, they were called "Chee-tos" then (with a dash), and came in crunchy or baked puffs.

The Cheetos Mouse was a rather sophisticated, well-spoken mouse, who yearned for the crunch of his beloved Chee-tos.

In 1973 Cheetos gave away the wonderful pencil topper Mouse premiums in six-packs of single-serving bags. They came in several colors, shown here in green. This was the last in a series of pencil toppers from Frito-Lay (makers of Cheetos), following The Frito Bandito, The Fritos Muncha Bunch and W.C. Frito.

Yes, Cheetos -- "The cheese that goes CRUNCH".

Here's an actual commercial cel from the "Hail Chee-sar" Caesar spoof commercial.

There's a vintage commercial you can see on-line at Very cool.

Here are a few premiums that I've spotted here and there. In addition to the pencil topper, there was a plush Mouse, several different packets of vegetable or flower seeds (yes, really), and an odd Cheesy Rider belt buckle of unknown origin -- perhaps an in-house item.

There were also box panels to color, from the six-pack tray. I have one, and need to scan it in someday.

As far as I can tell, the Cheetos Mouse disappeared in the late 1970s. Frito-Lay created Chester Cheetah in 1986 to represent Cheetos, and he's been there ever since.

Well 30 years later, I still say: "Hail Chee-sar!" to the king of cheesy snacks.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Cocoa Freakies Box sold for HOW much??

I recently spotted a super cool, highly prized and very rare 1973 Cocoa Freakies cereal box on eBay.

It was way out of my price range, but fun to watch it fetch $1,302! Yes that's one-THOUSAND-three-hundred and two dollars.

Here's a link to the auction on eBay (eBay removes them after 90 days) . Cocoa Freakies auction.

The box shows all the Freakies characters gathered around their tree. Hamhose is inspecting a piece of cereal before eating it. Boss Moss sits in the middle of the tree watching over everything. Cowmumble is reaching out to pick some cereal from the tree, but I'm guessing she's about to fall. Great characters!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Kellogg's 100th Anniversary Website

I recently discovered that Kellogg's is celebrating 100 years in the cereal business. Over the years, Kellogg's has brought us such great characters and cereals as:
  • Tony The Tiger (Frosted Flakes)
  • Dig'em (frog from Sugar Smacks)
  • Shelly The Turtle (Corny-Snaps)
  • Big Yella (cartoon cowboy from Sugar Corn Pops)
  • Toucan Sam (Froot Loops)
  • Bixby Beaver (Crunchy Loggs)
  • Blu Gnu (Kellogg's Kombos)
  • ...and many, many more!

I was so excited to find that they have a special 100th Anniversary website that is filled with timeline, history, picture gallery and even cell phone ringtones. Here's a link to the site: Kellogg's 100th Anniversary.

The best part of the site is the gallery, which is filled with images from the Kellogg's archives. If you click on gallery pictures, you can get larger images and a text description. Very fun to see and read about some of the older characters.

TIP: On that site, click on a gallery image which opens the picture in a new window. Then click the Enlarge Image link to get a larger version. You can then right-click and save a copy of the picture. Stayed up way too late the other day downloading pictures for my archive.

Anyway, I really encourage you to check it out. Here are a few pictures I found on the site.

1974 poster celebrating the Chinese Year of The Tiger

Here's the bizarre Kream Krunch cereal from 1965

... and a 1970s Pop Tarts ad with Milton The Toaster.

The most interesting fact I found was about Kellogg's OKs and Froot Loops. Turns out that Froot Loops was created after OKs were discontinued. They needed to use the same equipment which made ring-shaped cereal, so they created those delicious fruity Froot Loops. I do still enjoy a bowl of Froot Loops every now and then.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Baron Von Redberry Cereal

Here's the follow-up to the previous post. Baron Von Redberry was the counterpart to Sir Grapefellow -- dueling World War One ace pilots for General Mills in the early 1970s.

The great Baron was German. "Achtung!" he would say (German for "warning!"), and "I'm der berry goodest!", as an answer to Sir Grapefellow's "I'm the grapest!"

The box here is from 1972 and shows the mail-away poster offer, collect all four.

I don't remember eating Redberry cereal like I did Sir Grapefellow, but it appears to have been similar to Frankenberry.

See the Sir Grapefellow blog post for a list of premiums, which includes Baron Von Redberry.

If you know of other premiums, TV commercials, or have anything else to share, please post a reply. I want this to be an open forum for cereal fans to share information.

Here are some iron-on patches of the good Baron.

Lastly, here's a newspaper ad from 1973.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Sir Grapefellow Cereal

Tally-ho! Who remembers Sir Grapefellow cereal? Here is a box from around 1972 or so.

Yes, GRAPE flavored cereal! This royal treat hit store shelves around 1972. Sir Grapefellow was a pilot and starred opposite of his foe, Baron Von Redberry. Both cereals were marketed together.

As you can see from the box, Sir Grapefellow enjoyed giving us the "OK" sign to let us know that everything would be OK. With the "Sir" title and the "Tally-Ho" phrase, we can safely assume he was British.

Nothing says "cool" better than a scarf and aviator goggles! Where have you gone, Sir Grapefellow?

I do remember eating this cereal, and it was very yummy. I can still remember the grape flavored marshmallows especially.

There were a number of cereal premiums given away insides boxes of Sir Grapefellow and Baron Von Redberry cereals. Here's a list of what I've been able to find.
  • at least 4 different square iron-on patches
  • at least 2 different round iron-on patches
  • balsa wood glider planes (mail-away)
  • Grapefellow's balloon-powered "Air Car" (3 different colors)
  • magic blow pipe and ball
  • coloring posters with crayons (mail-away, 4 different)
  • plastic planes with foam wings
  • propeller planes (box back cut-out)
If you know of other prizes, please post a comment and share your information!

I cannot recall any specific TV commercials for these cereals. I've purchased a few cereal commercial videos from eBay, but haven't seen any yet. If you're aware of any available, or just want to share memories of these, please post a comment.

Here are a few premiums from Sir Grapefellow which I spotted on eBay. (I'll post some Baron Von Redberry prizes in a future blog post).

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Waffle Whiffer Profile Pic

Here's my new blogger profile picture. I've attempted to convert the two Waffle Whiffer commercials from VHS tape to digital format MPEG. There are some bugs to work out for the process, but the result is some nice screenshots from the commercials, such as this one.

This picture just about says it all. The waffles are baked to golden brown perfection, popping out fresh from the toaster. A dazed looking Wallace is completely mesmerized by the smell.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Wallace the Waffle Whiffer

Let me start this blog with a picture of my blog's namesake, Wallace the Waffle Whiffer. Wallace was a hyperactive bird-like character created by Jay Ward and Bill Scott (of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame) for Aunt Jemima frozen waffles in 1968. Wallace would torment the other character, Professor Goody, until the kind professor had no choice but to share his delicious waffles with Wallace.

Several commercials were produced, though only a few have come to light in the digital age. One has Professor Goody hiding in a submarine eating his waffles, and another has him holed up in a bell tower. Wallace has a powerful sniffer and always finds his way to those scrumptious waffles. Wallace was voiced by Bill Scott (Bullwinkle, Super Chicken) and Professor Goody was voiced by Daws Butler (Quisp, Cap'n Crunch).

I am not aware of any product packaging or premiums ever made regarding these characters. Perhaps they only existed in the realm of TV commercials. If you have more information to share, please let me know.

The slogan for the commercials was "Is there a Waffle Whiffer at *your* house ?"

This picture shows Wallace and Professor Goody eagerly awaiting waffles to be served.

[:::] Thanks for visiting my blog. Older articles can be found in my Blog Archive.