Friday, December 3, 2010

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Dinersaurs Cereal

I'm going to admit something that I'm not proud of. As a kid, I was not into cereal. It seems sacrilegious to me. Eating heaping spoonfuls of sugary cereal seems like a quintessential part of being a suburban American kid. But the thought of little chunks, flakes, nuggets, and rings floating in milk, steadily getting soggier and soggier until all that was left was sweet mush repulsed me. I've since gotten over this madness, and now often indulge in the stuff. I can't help but think that I might have avoided years of shame had I been introduced to this staple breakfast food with this week's dip into the history of dinosaur pop culture, Dinersaurs cereal.

As Mr. Breakfast writes, it was a "fruit-flavored dinosaur-shaped cereal with five friendly dinosaurs on the box - four in chef's hats and one poor guy - who still managed to flash a smile - whose body was hollowed-out and converted into a diner." Sure, I was 11 when it was introduced in 1988, and my aversion to cereal was deeply embedded in my psyche by then, but I think the presence of my favorite extinct archosaurs would have been the nudge I needed. And I might have won a Nintendo Entertainment System, for crying out loud. Winning an NES from a box of Dinersaurs would have been a childhood accomplisment so undeniably badass that it would deserve a prominent place on my CV.

Here's what the box looked like, thanks to Flickr user Jason Liebig. Put on your 3-D glasses for a trippy experience!
Ralston - Dinersaurs cereal box - 3-D adventure - 1988

Here's another photo of a Dinersaurs box from John Gavula. It's low res, but I'm intrigued by the offer of 12 trading cards. I want them. You know how badly Stallone wanted custody of his son in Over the Top? That's how bad I want those trading cards, and I'd go to even further lengths. After the arm-wrestling tournament, I would have done a badminton tournament.

Dinersaurs

Here's a set of promotional stickers for the cereal, courtesy Waffle Whiffer, who contributed the Grimace trading card featured yesterday. It's been a week of hard science here! I apologize to NASA if I stole the thunder from their arsenic-loving bacteria.

Dinersaurs Cereal Stickers

Also worth checking out is this page, which features artwork from a Dinersaurs commercial with a short description from an artist who worked on it. In looking at more than three sites with information about Dinersaurs cereal, I think I just accidentally became the world's foremost expert on the subject.

You're welcome, mom and dad!

5 comments:

  1. When I was little it was only "healthy" cereals for me, Kix was as sugary as my parents would allow (you can forget the Berry Berry stuff). Maybe I was generally satisfied with this, and if I'd made a fuss more often my childhood could have been a speedy gateway to diabetes, but the only times I ever made the effort to convince my parents that I might die if I didn't get some sugar-based breakfast products was when it was paired up with specific brands, like Ninja Turtles, Nintendo, and yes, "Dinersaurs."

    More often my morning cravings for Dinosaur-related breakfast content were met by Western Family, who was putting cutout cardboard Dinosaurs (and maybe some educational "facts?") on the back of the boxes of their generic cereals. I can't seem to find any pictures of them online. :(

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  2. I did eat this cereal, and as I seem to recall, it was pretty unimpressive flavor-wise. I only asked mom to buy it because of the shapes. I never did tread into the world of Chef Boyardee's dinosaur pastas, though. Never acquired a taste for his brand of mushy noodles, ketchup and sand-like meat packets.

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  3. I was able to substitute a whole range of unhealthy breakfast foods for cereal. I especially loved custard-filled bismarcks from the Glen Park Bakery. And I remember pigs in a blanket... ON A STICK! Somehow that was acceptable to my palate while cereal wasn't. Hmm. Thanks for tipping me off to the Western Family dino cards... another item to track down.

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  4. BL - I'm continuously amused by the ability of cheap canned pasta to be reshaped and market anew with every fad that comes out. I do think I've indulged in a few dinosaur-shaped pasta products from time to time.

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  5. I have nothing to add to this except thank Raptor Jesus that somebody else remembers this cereal. I used to think it was the best-tasting cereal ever made... and then it dawned on me that Nintendo Cereal System (ah, the late '80's) tasted almost *exactly* the same.

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