It's 1958 and you're one of those organization men in the grey flannel suits working in the advertising biz for Ogilvy & Mather or Sterling-Cooper or another one of those Madison Avenue ad agencies, and your assignment this week, apart from digging out from under the massive hangover your brain insists upon presenting you with after an evening entertaining clients at "21", is to come up with a way to get those damn kids to eat that tasteless horse feed they call "breakfast cereal." And you're thinking, what do kids like? I have kids. What do they like? They like to stay the hell out of my way when I've had a few, let me tell you! But seriously. What do they like? TV, jet planes, rocket ships.. outer space. They like outer space. What if we come up with some spacemen to sell Nabisco's cereal? Spacemen. What's the angle. Spacemen... cereal... milk... bowls... spoons... spacemen... spoons... I'VE GOT IT!
And so we see the birth of the Spoonmen, three little spacemen dressed like drum majors who fly through outer space on rocket-propelled spoons, extolling the virtues of NABISCO'S SPOON SIZE SHREDDED WHEAT JUNIORS. Their antennae vibrate with vitamins, their heads are oval just like the Nabisco logo, and below the waist they're nothing but a couple of vague oblong shapes, just as they should be. This is the 50s! Hey, I wonder what it would be like if Harvey Comics ran two-page double-truck advertising supplements starring NABISCO SPOON SIZE SHREDDED WHEAT SPOONMEN in issues of their popular Little Dot comic? It might go a little bit like this.
Blasting through a vague amalgamation of fairytale Europe and baby-boomer America, the Spoonmen come across a disturbing parade of hypnotized children being led astray by none other than Howdy Doody. Er, I mean the Pied Piper Of Hamelin.
Dammit, this child-hypnotizer is some kinda homespun amateur! He's not representing ANY breakfast food or consumer product, whatsoever! This kind of communist inspired non-profit pinko socialist nonsense cannot be allowed to infect the youth of America - not for another ten years, anyway!
Thank goodness for Nabisco and their three space-travelling spoon-riders. They've managed to whip up lots of SPOON SIZE SHREDDED WHEAT JUNIORS -AND the enormous amounts of milk, honey, bananas, peaches, strawberries, toast, jam, bacon, and eggs necessary to turn it into some semblance of a balanced meal!
You can enjoy delicious JUNIORS every day for breakfast - as long as you ASK YOUR MOM TO GET SOME TODAY. Do it now!
Parents - your children will never leave home if you keep plent of NABISCO SPOON SIZE SHREDDED WHEAT JUNIORS on hand! You won't be able to get them out of the house with a crowbar! Girls, college, the army, careers - all pale in comparison to SPOON SIZE SHREDDED WHEAT JUNIORS! (note to artist - give me a huge closeup of some kid's wide open mouth about to inhale a giant spoonful of some unidentified mush. MM-MM good!)
And even the Pied Piper falls under the seductive spell of SHREDDED WHEAT! Remember to save those boxtops for the Rin Tin Tin Magic Ring! It's just like the ring Rin Tin Tin wears! And of course ASK MOM TO GET YOU NABISCO'S "SPOON SIZE" JUNIORS TODAY!! Or just throw some in the shopping basket when she's not looking. Works every time.
So whatever happened to the Spoonmen? Like most kitschy cereal mascots they vanished into the soggy, milk-logged mists of time, banished to the Lost Island Of Advertising Characters. But the collective unconscious of mankind refuses to allow powerful Jungian archetypes such as these to lie fallow for long, and the mystical influence of the Spoonmen continues to appear in the unlikeliest places; for instance on the side of this Toronto diner circa 2008.
Evidence of the power of forgotten cereal mascots to move us in ways we never thought possible? Or proof somebody else out there has a stash of old Harvey comics? Only Munchy, Crunchy, and Spoon-Size know the truth!
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