Cereal du Jour : Kix, America's Favorite Cold War breakfast treat!
History : There is nothing at all interesting about the history of Kix. No,>"/>
History: There is nothing at all interesting about the history of Kix. No, seriously--nothing. Its background information (which all involves the technological cereal-making apex of 1937 and the desperate attempts of General Mills to get kids excited about puffed grain products and extruding dies) is as dull as the cereal itself, and the only interesting thing about it is that it was the relative banality of Kix itself which eventually led to the creation of Cocoa Puffs (as discussed a couple weeks ago in my takedown of that annoying bird mascot, Sonny).
But really, that's it. There's nothing else interesting to say about Kix.
Oh, wait. Except for maybe one little thing . . .
In 1947, just months after the U.S. dropped their atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, General Mills thought it would be cool to do some sort of giveaway. And what better promotion than a KID'S RING IN THE SHAPE OF AN ATOMIC BOMB.
No, for realz. From what I can tell, the thing was a red plastic and aluminum model of an atomic bomb mounted on a brass ring, which some sources (mostly Wikipedia) claim was also able to detect radiation.
The price for this prize back then? 15 cents plus one Kix box top.
Current price for this weirdly horrifying piece of Americana today? $150 for one in pretty good condition.
And that, my friends, is how you get your dull extruded-grain cereal branded permanently into the American subconscious. A little lesson in nightmare marketing for all of us.
The Box: Corn, puffs, and the motto: "Kid Tested, Mother Approved." This is a cereal box that doesn't try to overpromise.
The Product: If you've ever eaten a bowl of Cocoa Puffs, imagine them without any sugar, any chocolate, or any flavor. Voila! Kix.
Best Feature: A footnote in the history of American advertising regarding the atom-bomb ring, which reads: "No one should ever try any kind of shit like this again."
Worst Feature: Everything about the cereal from 1947 until today.
Is It Better or Worse Than Apple Jacks?: Worse, of course, but if you are a believer in the Many Worlds hypothesis, then there is probably a reality out there somewhere in which nuclear weapons fell on American soil. And if reading WAY too much Golden Age sci-fi has taught me anything, it's that when those bombs did fall, there was some towheaded Midwestern farm boy out there, wearing his Kix radiation detector ring, who was able to warn his entire community about the coming fallout just in time for them to get below ground, where they lived for 50 years, completely cut off from the horrors of the nuclear war that raged on the surface. Those people are now the only humans left not turned into horrible atomic mutants. That boy is now mayor of Undergroundsville, USA. And someday soon, someone is going to open the door to the surface for the first time in generations and peek outside . . .
So yeah, in that world, Kix is better than Apple Jacks. But in this world, it's no contest.
I still kinda want one of those rings, though.