Freakies cereal

Freakies Freakies was a cereal marketed by Ralston-Purina beginning in 1973. The cereal itself was all right - some people remember it as tasting somewhere in the Quisp or Quake neighborhood - but it was the characters on the box that got a nation hooked.

Boss Moss, Hamhose, Snorkledorf, Grumble, Goody-Goody, Cowmumble, and Gargle were created by Ralston-Purina copywriter Jackie End (who supposedly designed the characters after specific co-workers). The freakish beings, who cavorted in the animated television commercials around their beloved Freakies tree, were packaged in with the cereal in the form of little plastic figurines. Later promotions included T-shirts and refrigerator magnets.

Demand for the premiums was so strong that the manufacturers of the items sold millions of units; Freakies fan clubs sprang up around the country, and everyone from small children to fraternity members were clamoring to collect each Freakie in each combination. One of the draws of the items was that Ms. End wrote a small story to go along with each character in each premium, so that as time went on, a sort of continuity developed concerning the Freakies' weird world. Freakie magnets and other small items are available today for sale in music and similar stores as ironic pop-culture kitsch items.

Freakies Fact: The original 60-second Freakies TV ad was continuously shown at the Museum of Modern Art for several years.