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In late 1988, Ralston took on its
most ambitious licensed-cereal. Partnering with King Features Syndicate, they brought
several of the comic strips they represented to breakfast with Morning Funnies.
The cereal’s name came from the term “the funny
papers,” which was often shortened to “the funnies,” describing the comics section
of the newspaper. The cereal itself consisted of large smiley faces of various
colors. In keeping with the name, the front of the box was designed to resemble
the panels of a comic strip featuring characters from Marvin, Tiger, Dennis
the Menace, The Family
Circus, Hi and Lois, Beetle Bailey, What a Guy!and Luann.
The front and back of the 1st edition box.
But, it didn't stop there. The most unique aspect of
the cereal was the back of the box. Ralston took it to the next level by making
it able to open up like an actual newspaper into several pages for a total of
eight different comic strips. The strips themselves were reminiscent of their
Sunday editions; featuring more than one line of panels and in brilliant color.
However, unlike the newspapers, the comic strips weren’t updated with the same
frequency. When they were it was indicated in a word balloon on the front with
what number “edition” the box was part of. The 9th edition of the
cereal saw the addition of Popeye, Hagar
the Horribleand Funky
Winkerbeanto the line-up.
Some editions also featured a subscription for Young American, “America’s newspaper for kids.”
Comic book ad for the cereal.
While Morning Funnies’ box earned an award for innovative
packaging, the cereal itself proved to be a flop. Not only was the cereal a
far as taste, Ralston overestimated
the appeal of comic strips to their targeted juvenile demographic. Not to
mention the time between new content on each box defeated the purpose of giving
diners something to read as they ate. By 1989, the cereal was off the shelves.