If you were a kid in the late 1980s, you may have had a well-meaning parent inflict Morning Funnies cereal on you at the breakfast table. From the various accounts I find around the web, this cereal was pretty awful — way too sweet, and the ‘laughing face’ cereal pieces were apparently so ludicrously big they were hard to get in your mouth. Lucky for me I was well beyond the age of wanting novelty cereals by 1988 when Morning Funnies debuted. I think the ad above, with an unusually high-value 65 cent coupon, tells us how desperate the Ralston folks (yes, the makers of Dog Chow) must have been to get some of these to move off the shelves.
I’ve never actually seen a box of this stuff in person, but evidently there was a fold-out (“secret”) panel so lots of comics could fit on the package. Based on this ad, the line-up was Tiger, Hi and Lois, Dennis the Menace, Funky Winkerbean, Marvin, Hagar, Beetle Bailey and Luann. I’ve also seen late packages claiming Popeye as well, and early packages offered the rather obscure What a Guy. The question I’d love to have answered is whether the comics used on the packages were special material produced for them, or if they just reused existing strips from these features.
The cereal lasted on the supermarket shelves for two years or less, and during that time at least 10 different numbered boxes were available. Enough were saved by collectors that I think you could purchase a set of them on eBay if you keep a watch for awhile. But who would want to? I dunno. I suppose if the material was original to the boxes, that might be appealing to all those Hi and Lois completists out there.
Seriously, though, these were mostly comic strips that appealed primarily to grandmas, even in the halcyon days of 1988. Did Ralston really think any kid would scream at his mom to buy this stuff so he could read a Beetle Bailey strip? Okay, okay, Funky Winkerbean and Luann had a little teen/pre-teen appeal, but geez, how about a little Bloom County or the like?