Vintage television

Vintage TV: Freakies

It was a sugar-sweetened cereal for kids. But the cartoony characters that advertised them connected with young viewers in new way, at least for the early 1970s. My mom was not usually a sucker for TV commercials aimed at kids, but she fell hook, line, and sinker for the Freakies. And so we ate Freakies until they were coming out of our ears. I remember them being “good,” in the way any young child finds pretty much any sugar-sweetened cereal to be good. But more than that, the Freakies had a backstory, narrated by no less than Burgess Meredith.

These were the days of toys being packed inside the boxes of cereals aimed at kids. All kinds of crazy stuff came packed in cereal boxes. I remember one cereal — was it Cap’n Crunch? — giving away reflectors to attach to bicycle spokes. Frosted Mini Wheats gave away trading cards of the Presidents of the United States. I had a complete set of them for years. I didn’t eat all those Mini Wheats; Mom sent a dollar to Kellogg’s and they sent a whole deck. But once again the Freakies were different: they gave away only toys related to the Freakies characters.

I had the plastic Freakie figurines and the Freakie refrigerator magnets, complete sets. The figurines didn’t survive childhood, but the magnets lasted into adulthood. When my wife divorced me, they were on our refrigerator. She kept them.

Snorkeldorf was my favorite Freakie. He’s the one with the long, elephant-like snout. The rest of them were Hamhose, Gargle, Cowmumble, Grumble, and Goody-Goody, led of course by BossMoss.

I wish I still had my Freakies magnets.


Vintage TV is an occasional series. See all of them here.

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17 thoughts on “Vintage TV: Freakies

  1. Wow, I have absolutely zero memory of this, even after watching the clips. Of course, I was an adolescent so I probably ignored them because I found them completely lame. But it surprises me that I have no recall of them at all.

    Toys in cereal boxes sold a lot of food of dubious value at my house too when I was growing up.

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  2. I too am surprised that I never heard of this cereal. I was a teen by then, however back in those days of no internet and just a few networks it was pretty hard to avoid being exposed to whatever was being promoted.

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  3. Oh, man, does that take me back. I particularly remember that musical commercial for Freakies; I came across it myself on YouTube a couple-few years back. Funny, I always remembered it as being about aliens, not monsters. I was five or six when it aired on Saturday mornings. For me, it’s kind of a bittersweet thing because it represents one of those products that just never made it across the border… at least not to where I lived. For all I know, it’s possible kids in Maine didn’t get it, either (while maybe kids here in Toronto did?), but it definitely wasn’t on the shelves in Nova Scotia. Some of the more interesting cereals advertised on ABC or NBC on Saturday mornings just weren’t. I think it’s interesting that of the ones that weren’t, they mostly came and went, but the ones you could get back then, like Sugar Crisp and Cap’n Crunch, are still around. It’s made me wonder if the commercials didn’t have a wider airing than market representation, just to generate demand, and maybe some of them never left their test markets.

    But I do remember intensely wanting to buy into the Freakies, and how it sucked never seeing it when we pushed the cart up and down the aisles. I suppose it’s just as well it didn’t last that long; the tormenting was brief. :)

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    • Were you watching American stations to get your Saturday morning cartoon fix? Because I can well imagine some cereals were deliberately not sold north of the border until demand could be proved. A lot of cereals came and went during the 70s. Do you remember Super Orange Crisp, which was Super Sugar Crisp with orange-flavored Os added? Those came and went in about 20 minutes in about 1975.

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      • Heya Jim. :) Oh, absolutely. The American channels were where the Saturday morning action was. Geez, even a lot of what meager Sunday morning action there was (“Animals, Animals, Animals”, anybody?). We got ABC, NBC, and PBS; in addition to our own couple of CBC channels and CTV. The big bummer for me was we didn’t get CBS. Either Bangor didn’t have a CBS affiliate back then, or the cable company in Halifax wasn’t picking it up. So I missed growing up with Captain Kangaroo, and by the time we moved to Ontario and could get it, I was 12 and had moved on. :) We couldn’t even pull in any UHF frequencies in Nova Scotia. Even with cable, everything was on the VHF dial back in the 70s. Even so, I felt lucky to share the language. A bit smug about what French Canadian kids had for options. Crap like “Lucky Luke” and a handful of strange, kind of disturbing cartoons from France broadcast by the French language network of the CBC. Kids like me could press our noses up against the Yankee glass and peer inside, at least, and dig on the Superfriends and Scooby Doo; Hong Kong Phooey and The Funky Phantom. :)

        Super Orange Crisp? Wow, no, that one completely slipped under my super maple radar. :D I’m hardly surprised to hear that one didn’t catch on with the kids. Sounds more like it was aimed at mollifying guilty moms!

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  4. A day in which one does not learn anything is a wasted day, I am wont to say, and you have redeemed this day, verily early in the morning. Though I had breadsnappers who are your contemporaries I believe I had never heard of Freakies. Doesn’t reflect a lack of sugar-coated cereal, though. Think Apple Jacks and Fruit Loops.

    I do wish you still had your magnets. Isn’t nostalgia wonderful?

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    • I’ve always thought that the value of what one learns is as important as learning that daily thing. I’m not sure learning of this long-lost cereal clears that value bar! But who am I to talk; I wrote about it anyway.

      Apple Jacks was my favorite when I was small. Today, it’s Cocoa Pebbles. Cocoa Krispies are inferior.

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  5. Sorry you lost the Freakie magnets in the divorce. I’d send you mine, but the Freakie’s were apparently an INDIANIA thing. In TEXAS we never heard of the Freakie’s. And thank goodness. They sound frightening.

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