capncrunchretro capncrunchretro
Cartoon Culture

Cap’n Crunch Retro

As we mourn the seemingly non-stop multilation of the beloved cartoon characters of our youth, let’s stop to applaud the decision by the fine folks at Quaker Oats, who have just started selling a line of Cap’n Crunch cereals with the original appealing Jay Ward box designs (pictured above right). It’s a limited edition set of Retro Crunch that come with collector cards in each box. They’re out now, I just saw them at the supermarket today. I’m not one to push sugared cereal on anyone, but I admire the guts it took to reverse course and finally do something right. Coincidentally, Mark Evanier just recently posted about the first Cap’n Crunch commercial from 1963.

(Thanks, Mark Arnold)

  • Rooniman

    Now thats the way to do it.

  • Scotty A

    where’s the chrome-like air brushing?? how could this possibly catch my discerning consumer eye?
    I hope Tony Tiger is next!

  • Jay Sabicer

    Now, can we see some funny, non-shaded, non-live-action integrated commercials with a decent VO artist doing the Cap’n? Going retro is one thing to attract baby-boomers in the grocery aisle, but Quaker should go further to remind that cereal can be eaten by someone over 12 years old. They did a decent attempt with a Quisp rollout several years ago, employing Spümco to produce some flash animation. Who knows, maybe the Waffle Whiffer could make a comeback.

    • JP

      Haha! I love those Wallace the Waffle Whiffer spots! Good call :)

    • You made me think of the Waffle Whiffer for the first time since the spots were originally on TV. Hit my brain like a whiff of ammonia. And I curse you for it.

      • Jay Sabicer

        It’s what I do. I make people nostalgic for days gone by.

    • Isaac

      The Quisp retro flash animation didn’t strike me as aiming to an older demographic. I recall a bunch of jerky flash-y animation and a lot of screaming.

      You know what works on me? Product placement. Honey Nut is engraved in my memory ever since I saw that one The Wire episode.

  • Jerry, not sure if you were aware of this post from my ComiCrazys blog. It’s a Cap’n Crunch Giveaway Comic circa 1965.

    I have all 6 of these Cap’n Crunch comic giveaways that I plan to post eventually.


  • I’ve been griping about cereal boxes for years…this makes me so happy

    • Chris Sobieniak

      And none of that “Crunchatize Me Cap’n!” BS! This is the true Cap’n at his roots. I feel grateful I managed to see some of those Jay Ward ads at the very end of it’s run in the 80’s.

  • fishmorgjp

    The retro boxes are infinitely better-looking than the current one… where the Cap’n looks like he’s on crack.

  • JP

    If I’m not mistaken, I’ve seen some retro Trix, Lucky Charms, and Count Chocula boxes here recently as well. The Cap’n, however, is my favorite.

    Did Jay Ward “invent” the whole “stealing cereal” gag with Cap’n Crunch (and nemesis Jean LeFoot) that’s been repeated in just about every major cereal commercial since ’63?

    • Most of these retro cereal boxes have been circulated at Target for the past couple years.

      The earliest “stealing cereal” bit I can think of is the ever-famous Trix Rabbit from the late 1950’s.

      • JP

        Ah ha… I’m a Target shopper. That explains the familiarity.

        Btw… Joe Harris’ story behind his invention of the Trix Rabbit is an interesting one. I want to say he came up with that “Trix are for kids!” slogan on the spot.

      • Perhaps this is what you already heard, but Joe Harris gave an interview regarding his Trix Rabbit and other creations:

  • Every time a health, consumer, or government entity proposes some change to the nutrition labeling on junk food like this there are shrieks of hysteria from the manufacturers, claiming the cost of changing the package design is just too onerous.

    But if a focus-group of portly 12-year olds tells them they need to airbrush some shadows on Cap’n Cruch the change it ASAP.

    And when a focus-group of portly 40-year-olds tells them they preferred the flat Cap’n Crunch they somehow manage to survive the expense of designing not one, not two, but three new packages.

  • Bryan

    (here’s my chance to shine…)

    This may or may not be partly because of me. I have some ties with PepsiCo and gave them this exact idea. Whether they listened to me or already had this in the planning stages I’m not sure.

    I also thru my contact there told the FritoLay division to ressurect Tex Avery’s “FRITO BANDITO”, but that would take some more pulling.

  • Mike Kazaleh

    No more speed freaks with airbrushing! My wife and can finally enjoy eating Cap’n Crunch without having to hide the horrible looking box.

    The link to Mark Evanier’s embed of the “Breakfast on the Guppy” spot gives us a chance to give a shout to one of animation’s living legends. Let’s hear it for Bill Littlejohn who provided the hilarious animation for this commercial!

  • Ben K.

    I literally just saw these at the supermarket. Very cool stuff! Unfortunately I have to stick with Cheerios…

  • Squall

    Is everyone serious here? Cereal box elitism? Is this how far the internet has sunk?

    • fishmorgjp

      What makes it “elitism”? The preference for better design?

    • Cereal companies rarely do anything interesting with their products or their mascots anymore. General Mills ignores the surviving baker that’s still used to advertise Cinnamon Toast Crunch. They use a lame mascot for Cookie Crisp. Some cool cereals (Waffle Crisp, Alpha-Bits) are either hard to find or discontinued. Other still-existing cereals (Smacks, Sugar Crisp) haven’t been advertised for years.

      I’d like to think these retro-boxes are throwing a bone to those who still remember when cereal advertising used to be fun.

  • Ridd Sorensen

    YES. About friggin time!!!

  • I was surprised to see this, and earlier, the “retro” Coco Puffs packaging! There must be a trend going on! :)

  • uncle wayne

    Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, DAWS!!!!

  • Mattieshoe

    Huh. I emailed then about this very thing a few months ago.

    Maybe the corporate fat cats are finally being logical.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Years ago I talked to the late Bill Scott about the Quaker Oats(Cap’n Crunch,Quisp and Quake) commercials. He said they had in writing that if at anytime they did not have fun making these commercials they could walk out of the contract. A fun clause. Now that’s cool.

  • Bob Harper

    Jay Ward Studios was the single biggest influence why i wanted to get into animation. This makes me really happy and will buy a box tomorrow!!! If I had a time machine I would go back during their heyday and do whatever it took to work for them!!!!

  • Straight from the “Isle of Lucy” !!

  • looks like it’s time to destroy my teeth and start eating sugar cereal again!

  • Scarabim

    Aw, man, SEADOG!!!! I remember him especially. Yeah, the Jay Ward commercials were great. Did Ward do the Linus the Lionhearted ones too? Why can’t commercials for kids be clever anymore, instead of just loud and stupid? Oh yeah, that old bat Peggy Charren wouldn’t approve – that’d be mixing entertainment with commercialism, and such a sin got Linus the Lionhearted TV show cancelled. Tragic. Thanks for posting those commercials. They were stellar.

  • Soooo beautiful. I don’t have a problem with the “modern” ones, but these are just so much better!
    Let’s hope the same happens to Tony Tiger!

  • I love retro packaging! Check out the retro Mountain Dew with the moonshiner character on the case!

  • Kyle Maloney

    Bought a box of this today. With throwback versions of Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Dr peper next to it, the shopping cart was looking pretty darn retro today, haha.

    I think they should bring back the old pringles design.

  • I was just thinking about Cap’n Horatio Crunch over the weekend. This is a sign!

  • Michelle

    I got a box of the crunch berries last week. Nowhere on the box did it say it was a limited edition.

    I only wished they could have gone retro on the actual crunch berries themselves. (They used to come in pink only, but now they are all technicolor.)

  • The 2011 artwork of three of the most-popular varieties of the “Cap’n Crunch” breakfast cereal line will each feature an image of the character of Cap’n Crunch himself, except that he’ll hold up to about five pieces of each Cap’n Crunch cereal next year, because orange-flavoured “crunchberries” will be added to the existing four colourful fruity flavors of crunch berry cereal puffs.

    Beginning in early 2011, Cap’n Crunch’s “Crunch Berries” breakfast cereal will combine sweetened corn squares with five colourful fruity flavors of “crunch-berries” in pieces. Also, the 2011-2012 edition of Cap’n Crunch’s “Oops…All Berries!” breakfast cereal will contain nothing but five colourful fruity flavors of “crunch-berries” and none of the sweetened corn squares.

  • Cole Johnson

    The story of the Cap’n Crunch commercials are another example of where our popular culture has gone. Back in the 60’s, the idea was to present something witty and fun enough to be memorable to kids, the various characters interacting in little 60-second stories. Now, the ads are propaganda about how “Cool” you kids are, as you and your cartoon avatars crash through walls in full assault upon the most vicious stereotypes of parents and teachers, so clueless and un-cool as to need to be put in their place. –And hideously redesigning the characters as well.

  • Mark Dillman

    For decades I have watched the cereal box art of Cap’n Crunch slowly drift away from the original Jay Ward Studio design. This is nice.

    I’d like to see an authorized DVD release of Jay Ward-produced TV commercials.

    • Vince M.

      I’m all for a release of the old commercials (maybe the Cap’n Crunch website?), which were often better than the shows they were sponsoring. When you use Gilbert & Sullivan in an ad, you’re really not talking down to anyone.
      My favorite was a parody of the Timex ‘torture test’ ads with John Cameron Swayze. It stands on its own even if it helps to know the context.