Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Whitman Kid

Whitman Publishing

Kids from the '70s and '80s especially should recognize this logo from Whitman Publishing Company. Without knowing if this guy had a proper name, I'm just going to call him the Whitman Kid.

The Whitman Kid ruled over the kingdom of children's books, box puzzles, frame-tray puzzles and comic books produced by Whitman Publishing Company. He appeared prominently on those products from 1968 until approximately 1990. Their "Tell-A-Tale" book series was one of my personal favorites.

The Whitman Kid is a friendly looking kid, always with a big smile and that trademark W atop his head. What I enjoy about the design, besides the beauty of its simplicity, is the fact that the colors often changed. The Whitman Kid was a chameleon of sorts with the logo colors changing to match other colors in the book or puzzle cover.

Here's a custom logo that I put together for fun. I scanned in the logo from an old book and then cleaned up and colored it in Paintshop Pro.

Whitman Kid

Some historical information:

Hammerung-Whitman Publishing Company, as it was originally named, began in Chicago and was bought in 1915 by Western Publishing Company. "Whitman Publishing Company" then became a subsidiary of Western Publishing Company, which later also acquired the popular Little Golden Books line. The Whitman Publishing name was basically gone in the early 1990s in favor of the Golden Books brand name. More on the wacky company history can be found here: Western Publishing Company.

Now back to the good stuff!

Prior to the Whitman Kid's arrival circa 1968 (or possibly late 1967), Whitman puzzles, books and such had this simple logo.

The Whitman Kid is one of those cool character logos that probably many people find familiar, though placing him in context might not be easy for the average person. I think he's just one of those logos that we've all seen on products we enjoyed as kids. I'm just hoping in this blog post to give him a little more visibility and credit for being there for us kids in the '70s and '80s.

I don't know if he was used extensively in other promotions or premiums, but I was thrilled to come across this "Happy Helper" metal tab button in a box of assorted vintage toy "parts" I acquired last year.

Whitman Button

YES! I want to be a Happy Helper, too!

As I mentioned, in my research I've found the Whitman Kid on products from 1968 through 1990. So far, I'd say he disappeared along with the Whitman name in the early 1990s. He had a good 20+ year run!

Well that's about it. This is my homage to the Whitman Kid. Please contact me if you have more information about him, including pictures, alternate logos and especially other premiums.

PS -- There is still a Whitman Publishing Company which focuses on Coin Collecting. It was indeed part of Western Publishing company too. Another group bought the coin division from Western and then assumed the Whitman name since the children's division was going with the Golden Books brand name. Confusing, eh?

Until next time, I'll leave you with a few more of my custom creations of our good friend. Let's all be Happy Helpers out there!

Whitman Kid

Whitman Kid

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Commercials of Sir Grapefellow and Baron Von Redberry

I just love old commercials. There are so many "lost" commercials that I've been looking for for many years. Two such commercials have just come to light, courtesy of OldTimeSportsNet2 on YouTube.

Here are the first commercials of Sir Grapefellow and Baron Von Redberry cereals that I've seen in over 30 years!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Updated Waffle Whiffer

I just made a few design updates to the blog, most noticeably a new picture of Wallace the Waffle Whiffer.

The old picture was a screengrab from a commercial on a VHS tape. I enlarged it, then painted over it using PaintShop Pro, giving the Waffle Whiffer a fresh new look.

Here are the old and new pictures.

Waffle Whiffer

Waffle Whiffer - New Buddy Icon

I also am displaying less previous blog posts on the main page to make it load faster. But you can always see previous posts in my blog archive.

You can read more about Wallace the Waffle Whiffer here in my blog archive.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Honeycomb Creeping Monsters

Hey everyone. Sorry I haven't posted anything new to the blog in a while. I've got plenty of ideas that I'm working on, and hope to have some more detailed posts again soon.

For now, here's a super cool Honeycomb cereal box with the Creeping Monsters promotion from late 1976 (expires August 1977). I have one of the two monsters, shown below.

Honeycomb MonstersHoneycomb Monsters

Honeycomb Monster

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Kellogg's Bike Stickers 1977

Here's a Sugar Smacks cereal box from 1977, featuring Dig'em the frog on the front and the Cartoon Bike Sticker premiums on back.

Sugar Smacks cereal

Sugar Smacks cereal

And here are half of the premiums from this set.

Kellogg's Bike Stickers

Kellogg's Bike Stickers

Kellogg's Bike Stickers

Kellogg's Bike Stickers

Sunday, July 15, 2007

H.R. Pufnstuf Cereal Promo

Here's a Froot Loops cereal box back and side panel from 1970. It features Krofft's H.R. Pufnstuf and the free fun rings that came inside. The side panel has the mail-away offer for a Freddy the Flute instrument.

Too bad it's not a complete box, but I'm not really complaining...

H.R. Pufnstuf

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Trix Cereal Bicentennial

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

Today we'll celebrate our Independence Day with a look back at our bicentennial year of 1976.

This is a Trix cereal box from General Mills from 1976 with that Silly Rabbit on front. In line with the celebration we were treated to the Revolutionary Hero Badge stickers. Collect all 4!

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

And here are two of the four stickers from the set.

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

Let's all be thankful today (and always) for the freedoms we have in this great country. God bless the U.S.A.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Honeycomb Hideout - 1976

Kids from the 1970s will remember this box front with the smiling Honeycomb kid. This box of Post Honeycomb cereal was from late in 1976 with an expiration date of June 1977.

The featured premium is for Super Lite-Up Stickers, which most of us promptly stuck to our wall or door, only to upset our parents.

On the back side of the box we get a rare glimpse of the kids-only Honeycomb Hideout.

[ click to see larger pictures ]

Honeycomb Cereal

Honeycomb Cereal

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mission Orange Sun

I found this advertisement for Mission Beverages in a magazine from 1952. Their orange drink gives you that "California Sunshine Flavor". Sounds pretty good, eh?

I like the little Sun character, smiling while enjoying a tasty orange beverage. It should be memorable enough with that expressive face and wreath of oranges adorning its head.

The ad was well before my time. I did some web searches and cannot determine if Mission Beverages or their product line are still around. It appears that they are not.

In my searching, I did turn up some more ads from the same era with the same Sun character, assuring me that it was no one-trick-pony.

While I've not found the name for this Sun character, if it even had one, I thought it deserved a home page of sorts on the internet. So from now on, Mission Orange Sun -- this page is just for you! Hopefully some friends of this allegedly fine beverage will be able to share more information about you and your beverage of choice.

This next ad gives us a chance to win the California Jackpot -- like your own California orange grove, sports car and pony! All you have to do is complete the last line for their new jingle:

Mission Orange tastes just right!
Drink it morning, noon or night.
This sunny California treat
(insert your line)

I'm certainly eager to know how the contest went and what the winning jingle was. If you know, or have a good final line of your own, let us all know!

Well hopefully more information will turn up about the Mission Orange Sun, but until then this page shines bright in its memory.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

King Ding Dong (& 40th anniversary!)

This year we celebrate the 40th anniversary of one of America's favorite snack cakes -- Hostess Ding Dongs!

Originally launched on March 18, 1967, this delicious treat is basically a hockey puck-shaped chocolate cake, with creamy filling and a chocolate-coated shell. In the old days they were individually wrapped in foil, but they switched to plastic years ago. The Ding Dongs name came from the sound of a ringing bell, which was featured on the original boxes and TV commercials.

By 1970, from the creative mind of animator Don Duga, Hostess gave us a character to represent these cakes. A snack cake himself -- complete with mustache, crown and scepter -- the honorable King Ding Dong arrived with the customary pomp and circumstance to rule over Ding Dong Kingdom.

[ Jeff Pidgeon did this great redraw of my iron-on patch. Thanks, Jeff! ]

Let's take a quick break here to watch this vintage Ding Dongs commercial.

For a brief time in the '70s there was an orange-flavored Ding Dongs variety, featuring an orange King on the box. I don't remember the orange variety, but I'm sure they were tasty. I bought this repro magnet on eBay to show as an example.

As for the standard chocolate variety, here's a box I have from 1978 showing the good King doing his thing.

Hostess Ding Dongs, 1978

In my years of collecting and devouring snack cakes, I've not come across many premiums or promotional items of the King. Besides the actual cake boxes, some items I've seen include:
  • cut-out finger puppet (1970s)
  • plastic cup? (1970s)
  • iron-on (1981)
  • t-shirt (1980s)
  • 2 different pogs (1994)
  • lip balm (2005)
Some cool plastic character cups were made of other Hostess characters, probably in the late '70s. I've not seen one with King Ding Dong, but would guess they were made, too.

While I've seen many promotional signs featuring other Hostess characters, it seems that the King just wasn't used as much in advertising. If you know about other items, please let me know.

King Don

You may be reading this thinking about a similar cake by a different name. Hostess had three different names for the same cake at different times and in different regions. In the West and Mid-West they were called Ding Dongs. In the East, to avoid confusion with a competing product, they were called King Dons and had the same King but named "King Don". In other regions the cakes were called Big Wheels and had a different character named Chief Big Wheels.

While the product naming is confusing, Hostess eventually ditched the others and consolidated under the original Ding Dongs name.

Here's a pog from 1994. Notice here he's named King Ding Don. This may have been a printing error; otherwise that's the third name they've used for him.

King Ding Dong

King Ding Dong is no longer used in Hostess advertising, which is a royal shame! I believe he was exiled from product boxes by the late 1980s. He previously had a nice page at the Hostess Cakes website, but even that disappeared around 2004. It's safe to say that the good King is now retired.

Before I get out some foil and wrap up this snack cake memory, I'll leave you with one more Ding Dongs commercial.

Wouldn't it be great if the good folks at Funko made a Wacky Wobbler of King Ding Dong? Certainly that would be a crowning achievement, to say the least! Hopefully someday...

"A chocolate-flavored world in every bite!"

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day from Sugar Bear!

Happy Earth Day!

Today we celebrate Earth Day and remind everyone to do their part to recycle, conserve energy and help preserve our environment.

Sugar Bear and Super Sugar Crisp cereal did their part in 1971, offering kids the Sugar Bear Ecology Club kit. Here are some pictures from my collection.

Sugar Bear Ecology Club Certificate

Ecology Flag sticker:

Happy Earth Day!

On the back of the membership card, Sugar Bear reminds us:
  • Clean up your world
  • Litter hurts everyone
  • Each member must do his share
  • Animals are our friends
  • Nature belongs to all of us

Happy Earth Day!

Sugar Bear Ecology Club Fun Book

Here are two scenes from the Fun Book. Sugar Bear stops Blob and his big pollution machine.

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Raiders of The Lost Snacks

I've started a new photo group on Flickr, dedicated to snack food characters. It's called Raiders of The Lost Snacks.

I'm finding there are plenty of cool folks out there who love this kind of stuff too. Please join and contribute if you can.

If you don't know about Flickr, it's a Yahoo photo sharing site. You can get a free basic account which allows you to post up to 200 pictures, join groups and comment on other people's photos.

[ My other favorite group on Flickr is the Sugar Frosted Cereal Museum. ]

Snack away, cyber friends!

Note -- You may not be able to see all of the photos unless you've logged in to Flickr.

King Don
[ King Don, also known as King Ding Dong from Hostess Ding Dongs ]

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Return of The Frito Kid (a promising trend)

Time to muncha buncha Fritos Corn Chips!

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of that salty, crunchy goodness known as Fritos, we have been treated to a revival of none other than The Frito Kid.

I picked up this single-serve bag of chips at my local sandwich shop.

The Frito Kid was a bit before my time. (Now W.C. Fritos is another story, uh, for another day). Frito Kid represented Fritos from 1952 until 1967 when he was replaced by the infamous Frito Bandito.

I really love it when that often suppressed nostalgic side of companies slips out into public view. How cool it is to see classic advertising characters and packaging revived, even if just briefly!

Some other examples of this trend in recent years:
  • 2006-2007, Quaker brought back the barefoot pirate, Jean LaFoote, in Cap'n Crunch ads.
  • 2001, Hostess brought back Captain Cupcake for a Golden Cupcakes promotion.
  • Recent years, Burger King brought back the magical Burger King, though a bit creepy in a molded head.
Well, I sure hope this trend in advertising continues.

Back to the Frito Kid -- After some research on the web, I've found that there was (or still is?) a "Casa de Fritos" restaurant at Disneyland. I've never been to Disneyland, but Casa de Fritos sounds like my kind of restaurant, for sure!

While he became the official Fritos mascot in 1952, he had been featured in a cookbook in the late 1940s.

As the Frito Kid will likely be riding off into the sunset after the 75th anniversary celebration fades away, I'll leave you with a few pictures I found on the internet.

Happy 75th Anniversary, Fritos!

If you've got memories of The Frito Kid or even some information about Casa de Fritos, please post a comment here. I will be enjoying a Frito Pie in the meantime.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Uncle O'Grimacey wishes you all a very Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Enjoy a Shamrock Shake today in honor of our furry green friend.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Friday, February 23, 2007

Stretch Monster Cereal?

I made this fantasy cereal box in honor of Stretch Monster Week over at Neato Coolville. Be sure to check out his blog and join in the fun!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sea Host Restaurant

Several years ago, I was thrilled to uncover some push puppet toys of these fun little sea creature characters. They are dated 1969 and marked "Sea Host". After scouring the web for information on Sea Host, I turned up virtually nothing.

Here's the first push puppet. His name is Ossie Oyster. He seemed like a happy enough little fellow, so I kept him. Then the quest began to find out more about Ossie and this "Sea Host" entity.

Since information regarding Sea Host is very sparse, I'll throw out what I know and hope that others can share information and piece together the mystery.

Here's what I know -- Sea Host was a seafood restaurant chain, locally owned and nationally franchised. It was a subsidiary of Proteus Foods & Industries.

The only dated materials I've located are the push puppets which are dated 1969. Was Sea Host around before 1969? How long after 1969 did it remain in business? Are there any Sea Host restaurants still around? I'm plagued with more questions than answers.

I'll add the fact that I've never seen a Sea Host restaurant, never dined in one and have no fond memories of it at all.

Now, on to the fun stuff! Sea Host's crowning achievement was not their lobster bisque, but rather their legacy of fun but obscure spokes-creatures. In fact a group of six characters represented the restaurant chain, led by a fish named Sylvester C. Host.

  • Sylvester C. Host -- a fish in a chef's hat and leader of the gang
  • Ossie Oyster -- a tiny oyster who wore a beret
  • Mr. Big The Shrimp -- an older shrimp with a large mustache
  • Turtle The Turtle -- a turtle with the least imaginative name
  • Smiley The Crab -- a blue crab who wore glasses
  • Clem The Clam -- a happy clam who wore a rain hat

A full set of six push puppets was created, and here they are.

The Smiley The Crab push puppet is quite spectacular, though I'm partial to Clem The Clam as my favorite Sea Host character.

The next and last find was this give-away comic book which is undated but probably from the late 1960s.

As the comic story goes, Ossie asks Sylvester to help find Clem who they think has been "clam-napped". It turns out to be a ruse to bring Sylvester to his surprise birthday party.

I'll have to wrap up the Sea Host story with that. I've not found any other memorabilia or information about the chain. I do know that Sea Host, Inc. was located at 477 Madison Avenue in New York City.

Blog Readers -- Let me know what you think about these characters and please contribute any information you have about the restaurant or other collectibles. Which of the six sea creatures do you like the best?

Gotta run! A few more pictures are on my Flickr site here.
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