Whenever Halloween season rolled around, and I would see Franken Berry, Count Chocula and Boo Berry in the cereal aisle, I’d have mixed emotions.
Sure, it was comforting to see them. As long as Frankenberry and friends are sold, the world is safe for democracy. But traditionalist that I am, I was always a bit irked by the modernization of the characters’ looks. Frank, Choc and Boo would regularly be updated to reflect current tastes in animation, and the artwork executed with a polish made possible by advances in graphic technology.
So I’m thrilled that the three cereals are now out in their (more or less) original packaging, to mark the 50th anniversary of Frankenberry and Count Chocula. (FYI, Boo Berry came along later.)
Then I learned that all three cereals — plus Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy (who have been on hiatus) — would be gathered in the same box in an all new, limited-edition cereal called Monster Mash. This is great news for fans of monsters and sugary cereals. (That’s me.)
Anyhoo, I found and purchased the “new” Franken Berry, Count Chocula and Boo Berry cereals, and I dug in. My post about Monster Mash, the cereal, will soon follow.
The ‘new’ cereals
All three varieties have the same “base” cereal in shape, consistency and crunch. But the color and flavor change depending upon the variety. Franken Berry cereal is an orange-y pink color. (I would prefer outright pink.) The flavor is best described as “artificial strawberry.” As for the cereal shape, I guess it’s meant to look like … ghosts? Skulls? To be honest, they look more like Pac-Man ghosts than anything else.
The cereal is accompanied by several colors of marshmallow, including pink, white and blue. Shape-wise, I detect a ghost and a lightning bolt. Maybe a storm cloud. Beyond that, you tell me.
Then there’s Count Chocula. Flavor-wise, Count Chocula cereal reminds you of Cocoa Crispies (remember them?). Tellingly, the type on the box calls it a “chocolatey,” not a “chocolate,” cereal.
Count Chocula does it right: The marshmallows are one color, a light pinkish brown that complements the chocolate-brown cereal. I’m pretty sure some of the marshmallows are supposed to be bats. (It all goes back to Bram Stoker.)
The Boo Berry cereal is more purple-ish blue than blue per se. (Outright blue would be an improvement.) The flavor is best described as “artificial blueberry.”
Boo Berry contains pink, blue and white marshmallows that look like … clouds? Ghosts? I dunno.
Here are some boxes from the recent past that show the character modifications that I complained about earlier. Nice professional job, gang, but it’s just not my taste.
More 2021 monster cereals
Frankenberry and friends aren’t the only spooky cereals of 2021. See also Froot Loops with cover boy Cousin Itt from “Addams Family 2” (and Toucan Sam making like a vampire bat); Apple Jacks with Wednesday Addams; Chocolate Frosted Flakes with Lurch; and Cap’n Crunch’s Halloween Crunch, with “ghosts” that “turn milk green.”
Above is a commercial from, I’m guessing, 1971, when Franken Berry and Count Chocula were new to supermarket shelves. In a way, it almost looks like an old horror film. The voice artists are clearly imitating Karloff and Bela Lugosi. (Boo Berry, who does not appear in this commercial, was of course voiced to sound like Peter Lorre.)
Parting shot: Below are the cereal boxes stacked in my modest kitchen.