Thursday, June 07, 2007

Goodnight, Cap'n

Sad news to report today. Cap'n Crunch, our beloved Sultan of Cereal, has sailed off into the sunset.

Well, in a manner of speaking. Quaker Oats has most certainly not killed off the character, and the breakfast cereal is still being sold (Heh - can you imagine the outcry if the good Captain were to get killed off in a television commercial? American children would be forever scarred... and it would probably do something about the obesity epidemic in this country, but that's besides the point.) Sadly though, the woman responsible for the flavor behind the cereal, Pamela Low, died last Friday in New London, New Hampshire.

From the Boston Globe:

"'Grandma would make this concoction with rice and the sauce that she had; it was a combination of brown sugar and butter," Ms. Low's brother William of Westerville, Ohio, said with a chuckle. "It tasted good, obviously. They'd put it over the rice and eat it as a kind of a treat on Sundays."

Three decades later, Ms. Low drew on the memory of her grandmother's delicacy to create the taste that made Cap'n Crunch a popular breakfast cereal. Taking a job at Arthur D. Little, she became a flavorist, a scientific connoisseur of the artificial tastes that tempt consumers to return for more. She tinkered with flavors of products such as Almond Joy and Mounds, but her biggest achievement came when Quaker Oats developed a new cereal.

"I developed the flavoring, the coating," she told UNH Magazine in 2002."

As a kid, there wasn't a meal to be had that would satisfy me more than a big bowl of Cap'n Crunch. I can remember seething with anger when my cousin Brian would brazenly help himself to serving bowls full of MY cereal on summer family vacations spent in New Hampshire (he has since apologized tenfold.) That cereal was heavenly stuff. I couldn't even be bothered with the many variations they packaged in it's wake. Crunch Berries? Peanut Butter Crunch? Nuh Uh! It was the straight and simple, red-boxed original Cap'n Crunch for me. (And now, they apparently have even more abominations on the market. Cap'n Crunch's Oops Choco Donuts?!? Please. That's repugnant.) Anyway, I apparently have Miss Low to thank for my many moments of childhood bliss, and I just thought I'd take a few moments and a blog post to do so.

And for those of you that are game - a few fun facts about our favorite Breakfast Cereal Naval Hero:
  • His full name is Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch.
  • It first appeared on the market in 1963. Crunch Berries would follow in 1967, and Peanut Butter Crunch debuted in 1969. The four or so other varieties that aren't even worth mentioning all made their appearance in 2002 or later.
  • The name of the ship he sails on is the S.S. Guppy, and the dog that used to sail with him was, aptly named, Seadog.
  • Famed animator Jay Ward originally created the Cap'n and all his pals. Ward was also known as the genius behind Rocky & Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right, George of the Jungle, and my favorite, Sherman & Mr. Peabody.
  • And, if you're REALLY interested - the Cap'n Crunch Wikipedia page and the post from Boing-Boing where I stole all this from, and which contains even MORE links - many of them classic finds (look in the "Update" section.)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

you always did get worked up so easily when we were little. come visit me in TX and I'll buy you your VERY OWN BOX!!! of Cap'n Crunch.


4:00 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

Really? They sell Cap'n Crunch in Houston?!? How does it work? Am I supposed to pour oil over it?

9:24 AM  

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