Retroville: Freakies

Welcome to another installment of Retroville, where we take on commercials and advertising characters. Today we’ll be chronicling the mascots of Freakies cereal.

Freakies was a brand of sweetened breakfast cereal produced by Ralston and sold in the United States. The cereal was Ralston’s first major venture into the presweetened RTE (Ready-to-Eat) cereal market. The Freakies were made up of seven creatures named Hamhose, Gargle, Cowmumble, Grumble, Goody-Goody, Snorkeldorf and the leader BossMoss. Why was BossMoss in charge the Freakies? Why, because he spoke with a John Wayne sound-alike voice, of course. And also because he beat the last guy who tried to challenge his authority to death with an electric mace, skinned him in front of everyone and now drinks root beer from his empty hollowed out skull. Bottom line: don’t screw with BossMoss.
The seven Freakies went in search of the legendary Freakies Tree which grew the Freakies cereal. They found the Tree, realized the legend was true, and promptly took up residence in the Tree which then became the backdrop for all the TV spots and package back stories. A Cocoa version of the cereal called “Cocoa Freakies” was available in 1973 and a fruit version titled “Fruity Freakies” was available in 1975-1976. Here’s an ad:
Freakies cereal entered the marketplace in 1972 and was taken off the shelves in 1976, when they were forcibly evicted from their tree by the thugs from Keebler, who wanted the tree as their latest base to expand their ever-growing cookie empire.
“We were completely in the right to kick out the Freakies. You see, Mother Nature hates freaks. Besides, they were making this tree smell like feet!”

The Freakies bummed around for a bit in obscurity after that, only resurfacing briefly for some odd gigs. Snorkeldorf started jazz noodling with Wynton Marselis’ band for a time, but an unfortunate backstage incident involving pineapples (don’t ask) prevented him joining the band full time. A new TV series starring the tribe entitled Freakies Universe was planned, but for some reason the show’s initials (F.U.) didn’t test well with audiences. BossMoss and Grumble strong-armed their way into a Hollywood press agency and hired a publicist (it’s amazing what a ton of complaining and a set of brass knuckles can accomplish), and In 1987, a new Freakies cereal was made, depicting the characters as aliens from another planet. (The publicist was a huge sci-fi nut who thought that anything involving aliens would sell.) Boss Moss and Grumble kept their original names, but the other characters were given new identities, and were renamed Hugger, Sweetie, Tooter and Hotdog.

“Hot Dog”?? That’s a stupid name for an alien!”
“Yeah, real stupid!”
Unfortunately, this move proved to be a War of the Worlds kind of deal; the campaign resulted in the Freakies getting captured and detained in Area 51, where they’re said to be residing to this day.
However, this may not be the end of the Freakies story. Rumor has it that Gargle has been studying and learning how to use the alien technology at Roswell (maybe he is a smart guy, after all), and there have been stories of a particular text message circulating around the web, reading:
“Oh, crap.”
Karma’s a bitch sometimes.

One thought on “Retroville: Freakies

  1. What you forget is that the first ad, at least, was narrated by Burgess Meredith (!), four years before “Rocky” reignited his career, and 2 before narrating Korg: 70,000 BC. As for BossMoss sounding like John Wayne, I can't think of who was capable of that other than Rich Little back then……


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