Charles Phoenix’s Slide of the Week: Just a Spoonful of Fruit Loops, Somewhere USA, 1966 (Plus Pasadena DooDah Parade Info…This Sunday!)
A blue-breasted toucan watches a little pixie girl pose happily while spoon-feeding herself artificially scented, sweetened, and flavored morsels quickly getting soggy in pasteurized, homogenized whole milk. She might as well begin the day with desert. In case her cereal isn’t sweet enough, that’s not a problem; a sugar bowl is close by. If she wants a second cereal course a box of Sugar Smacks is open and waiting to be consumed.
I don’t know her name but I do know his. He’s my favorite spokes-creature-character of all time, Toucan Sam. He must be a big fan of Carmen Miranda because that fruit tower hat he’s wearing looks just like the tutti-frutti headdress that made Ms. Miranda a timeless icon of exotic-Americana. It goes so well with his black-tipped pink, orange and yellow beak. And that box he’s printed on has to be one of the best, if not thee best examples of cereal box graphics ever. That mod black and white positive-negative diagonal divide is nearly hypnotic.
In the background, an electric can opener and CorningWare coffee pot stand out among the old kettle and the two iron skillets asleep on the Caloric stove. The ’crushed velvet’ Formica tabletop and the chairs are Americana design classics of the highest order. That high-gloss vinyl trimming the backs of the chairs looks just like chocolate milk.
Kellogg’s, of Battle Creek Michigan, was already legendary for their Corn Flakes and Sugar Frosted Flakes when they introduced Fruit Loops in 1963. The original three color-keyed flavors were orange, lemon and cherry.
When I was a kid my mother would never let me have Fruit Loops. She claimed they had too much sugar. But she did let me have Captain Crunch, Apple Jacks and Lucky Charms, which I’m sure, had just as much!
Speaking of Fruit Loops, I hope you can make it to the DooDah Parade in Pasadena, CA. this Sunday morn. This cacophony of costumery and craziness begins at 11:30. I’m honored to be the Grand Marshall! That will be my DooDah Duty. If you want to be in the parade all you have to do is show up and get in line! Come on down! All the info here.
Here’s to eating Fruit Loops, Toucan Sam, and the DooDah Parade!
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THIS Sunday, January 18, – 11am
Thru the Streets of Pasadena, CA