Fruity Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute Rise Again!

This is a bit off-topic, but I can't help wanting to talk about this stuff. It's not exactly TV related, unless you count commercials, but it's Halloween nostalgia, all right.

We had a weird custom on Halloween in Des Moines - before saying "trick or treat," (which you actually did on Beggar's Night, Oct 30th), you had to tell a joke. Something along the lines of "Why did the man put his car in the oven? Because he wanted a hot rod!" We had to work for our treats, and we didn't complain, because we had values in those days. I was surprised to move South and find kids just saying "trick or treat" and expecting candy, like a bunch of mooching commies.

I remember one year I was trick-or-treating behind a kid whose joke was one he got off a box of Yummy Mummy, the newly-released monster cereal to go along with Count Chocula and Frankenberry (Boo Berry was already sort of hard to find by then). I don't remember the question part of the joke, but the answer was "Fruity Yummy Mummy." The kid carefully recited the joke at every house, and the people at the door, who probably didn't get it if they didn't follow the cereal world closely, smiled politely and gave the kid some candy.

I'm telling this story because it amounts to just about the full extent of my memories of Fruity Yummy Mummy, which never really got off the ground as a cereal. I remember having it and thinking it was okay a few times, though given the choice I probably would have picked King Vitaman over it. 1988 was an odd time to bring out a new monster cereal; they had already pretty much stopped advertising them on television by then, and I think they've given up on having cool prizes in the boxes for the most part. By the late 90s, I couldn't find any monster cereals at all, except for occasionally Count Chocula.

Tales of how good Frankenberry was became a part of my teenage suburban folklore. "I used to inhale that stuff," one friend used to say. There was a web page in the mid 90s devoted to the long-lost Boo Berry, lamenting how General Mills "never really gave Boo Berry a chance." Production art from a Frankenberry commercial was one of the first things I bought when I discovered eBay.

About ten years ago, the cereals started being easy to find at Halloween again, so I've always been able to get my fill of the three basic monsters, and never really found myself missing Fruity Yummy Mummy. Still, when they announced last month that Fruity Yummy Mummy was coming back, along with Fruit Brute, which was cancelled before my time, I was ecstatic. Yes! Bring back everything from my childhood! Let nothing be lost! My generation will not stop until we can get our Ecto-Cooler again. From a metal can.

So, with a song in my heart, I have been in a Target store just about every, just checking. I've hit grocery stores, too, but only Target is getting retro-style boxes. Just the idea of getting Count Chocula in a retro box was exciting to me, and the chance to try Frute Brute at last made me feel like I had a chance to fill a hole I never realized I had in my soul. In a way.

Today, they finally showed up in the Halloween department of the West Loop Target here in Chicago.  My memories aren't really strong enough to tell me if the flavor is authentic; word on the street is that they were both the same flavor originally, and the way to get the "authentic" version is to mix them. Here's my verdict:

A cherry-flavored cereal that tastes pretty much like any other red cereal, albeit with marshmallows. Tasty.

Now this stuff is tasty business. The orange-cream flavored cereal tastes like a creamsicle bar. Delicious.

Mixing them together makes things a bit too....crowded. Like a bowl of Fruit Loops, the individual cherry, orange and vanilla flavors sort of get lost in the shuffle. Perhaps the sort of guys who can taste twelve different flavors in their wine would appreciate it more, but I just don't have that good of a palette.

I'll leave you with this photo of how I'm using my boxes to help decorate my desk for Halloween, even though showing a pictures with records exposes me to the general risk of being called a hipster on Reddit. It beats being called a dudebro.

And a vintage Yummy Mummy commercial. Boo Berry was out of the ads by this point, and Frankenberry would soon follow, if I remember right:

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