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A box of the Cap'n Crunch breakfast cereal, featuring the Cap'n Crunch character.

Cap'n Crunch is a product line of sweetened corn and oat breakfast cereals manufactured by Quaker Oats Company and first introduced in 1963[1].

Contents

Development

Pamela Low, a flavorist at Arthur D. Little and "the mother of Cap'n Crunch," [2] developed the original Cap'n Crunch flavor from a brown sugar and butter recipe that her grandmother had served over rice.[2][3]

Others credited with contributing to the development of Cap'n Crunch include former Quaker Oats food scientist turned winemaker, Chaim Di Arie who invented the flavor extrusion process used to put the flavors from Pamela Low's recipe into the actual cereal. In 1965 the Quaker Oats company awarded Robert Rountree Reinhart Sr the Fredus N. Peters Award for his leadership in directing the development team of Cap'n Crunch. [4]

Cap'n Crunch was one of the first cereals to use oil in its recipe as a flavor delivery mechanism — causing problems during the cereal's development.[4]

Variations

The Original Cap'n Crunch Cereal
  • Cap'n Crunch The original Cap'n Crunch cereal is made of sweetened, yellow, square-shaped corn and oat pieces. The cereal was launched in 1963, bolstered by a successful advertising campaign created by noted animator Jay Ward introducing the cereal's longtime naval mascot, Cap'n Crunch[5].
  • Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries Cap’n Crunch's Crunch Berries cereal was introduced in 1967 and contained, in addition to the yellow pieces found in the original Cap'n Crunch, spherical red Crunch Berry pieces. The Crunch Berry Beast mascot was introduced alongside the cereal. There are currently four Crunch Berry colors: green (introduced in 2002), blue, and purple (both introduced in the 90's). All the berry pieces are flavored the same, regardless of color.
  • Peanut Butter Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch was first released in 1969, with a large elephant named Smedley as its mascot; according to sales charts, this version was the most successful at the time.
  • Punch Crunch, Vanilly Crunch, Cinnamon Crunch Three more editions were issued in the early ’70s -- Punch Crunch, Vanilly Crunch, and Jean LaFoote’s Cinnamon Crunch -- but were later discontinued. Punch Crunch was fruit-flavored cereal rings, and the mascot was sailor-clad hippopotamus named Harry. [6]
  • Choco Crunch In 1982, a variant called Choco Crunch, featuring the mascot "Chockle the Blob", was introduced. This version contained the yellow corn squares, plus chocolate flavored pieces similar to Crunch Berries. Recently, the "Choco Crunch" brand was reintroduced, but this time only consisting of chocolate flavored corn squares.
  • Christmas Crunch A special edition named Christmas Crunch was first released for the 1988 holiday season and contained Cap’n Crunch with red and green Crunch Berries in a green box with the Cap’n wearing a Santa Claus hat (originally also containing a toy or Christmas tree ornament inside the box). [7] This variety is now only available currently in certain regions of the United States (and was recently changed to a gold box).
  • Deep Sea Crunch A version of the cereal introduced in 1993, which featured Crunch Berries shaped like sea creatures. This version was discontinued but returned in 2009.
  • Oops, All Berries First released in 1997, “Oops! All Berries” contained nothing but the strawberry flavored Crunch Berries and none of the corn squares.
  • Halloween Crunch A version of the cereal introduced in 2007. This includes green crunchberries in the form of ghosts.
  • Galactic Crunch A discontinued version which featured space-related marshmallows.
  • Choco Doughnuts A discontinued version which featured chocolate flavored doughnut shaped cereal with candy sprinkles.
  • Home Run Crunch A limited edition version of the cereal which featured baseball-related marshmallows. It has the flavor of Berry Crunch but the pieces of the cereal are shaped as bats and balls.
  • Cap'n Crunch's Mystery Volcano Crunch Red and yellow fruit flavored berries with "'free' packet of lava rocks that pop in milk!"
  • Cap'n Crunch's Oops! Smashed Berries Oops! All Berries cereal with flat berries that the kids smashed.
  • Cap'n Crunch's CoZmic Crunch Star shaped berries with "'free' orange space dust that turns milk green".
  • Polar Crunch A version of the cereal in which the crunchberries change color to blue when milk is poured.

Advertising

Cap'n Crunch TV commercials have aired since 1963. The first Cap’n Crunch commercials, featured four children (Alfie, Brunhilde, Carlyle, and Dave) and the canine Sea Dog, who sailed with the Cap’n on his ship, The Good Ship Guppy. The crew was tasked with keeping the cereal safe from the Cap’n’s nemesis, Jean LaFoote, the Barefoot Pirate. The characters also appeared in a comic book included in Cap’n Crunch cereal boxes.

Jay Ward is credited with the creation of the Cap’n Crunch character and his Jay Ward Studios produced the first Cap’n Crunch commercials[8]. Author Philip Wylie wrote a series of short stories, "Crunch and Des," beginning in the 1940s, which featured a similarly named Captain Crunch Adams.[9] The Cap'n Crunch commercials have historically used basic cartoon animation; however, Vinton Studios produced a claymation ad during the ’80s. [10]

In 1999, an advertising campaign starred Cap'n Crunch travelling to the center of the Earth after learning that the main ingredient in Cap'n Crunch cereal, known as crunchium, was being stolen by "The Crunchium Thieves." Cap'n Crunch turned for help to the creatures that live in the center of the Earth, "The Crunchlings." During this campaign, a PC game known as Cap'n Crunch's Crunchling Adventure was released with the cereal to raise a Crunchling and train it to defeat the leader of the Crunchium Thieves in a skateboarding, jumping or throwing contest.

In May 2007 Cap'n Crunch's full name was revealed as Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch.[11] It was also revealed on Cap'n Crunch's own baseball card (Cap'n Crunch's Home Run Crunch cereal) that he was "young" in 1963 but according to the picture, old enough to have white hair and mustache.

Daws Butler was the original voice of the Cap’n and continued in the role until his death in 1988. Other characters in the original ads were voiced by Ward Studio veterans June Foray, Bill Scott, and Paul Frees. Currently the voice of the Cap'n is Chicagoan George Adams

In modern TV ads Cap’n Crunch is often seen riding his ship through a wall as the whistle blares. He often comes in the middle of a predicament and uses his cereal to solve the problem at hand by “Crunch-a-tizing” it. Another reference to the cereal’s crunchiness, a regular theme used to feature Cap’n Crunch battling off the evil “Soggies” who attempted to “sog out” the taste of his cereal. In a recent ad, Jean LaFoote returns, this time trying to steal the Captain's cereal recipe.

Cap’n Crunch was the most popular children's cereal from 1965–1971 when Post released its fruit-flavored crispy rice cereal known as Fruity Pebbles. It took six years for Crunch to dominate the segment again, releasing a new flavor of the crunch berry ingredient, grape.

The Soggies

The Soggies were a fictional race of white, blob-like, wet beings with the power to prematurely dampen breakfast cereals using their mystical powers. During the eighties they were the frequent adversaries of Cap'n Crunch, and would often attempt to dampen his cereal while children ate it for breakfast. The Soggies haven't been seen for a number of years, but at their height they were even featured in a Spider-Man/Cap'n Crunch crossover promotion in which the Soggies purportedly had captured Spider-Man and concerned citizens could call a hotline to help "save" him, but because they didn't get enough calls, Spiderman was reported gone for good. During the "Where's the Cap'n?" promotion it was revealed that the Soggies leader was named Squish the Sogmaster. Squish was a Soggie in battle armor and had a milk cannon on his arm with which he soggified cereal.

Nutrition

A report released in 2009 by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale gave Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries the worst nutritional score of any cereal marketed to children and families [12].

Relation to hacking culture

Cap'n Crunch Bosun whistle CA 1971.

In early 1971, a Vietnam War veteran named John Draper (later nicknamed Captain Crunch, Crunch, Crunchman, or Mr.Crunchtastic) discovered with his friend Joe Engressia that a toy whistle that was, at the time, packaged in boxes of the cereal could be easily modified to emit a tone at precisely 2600 hertz, the same frequency that was used by AT&T long lines to indicate that a trunk line was ready and available to route a new call. This would effectively disconnect one end of the trunk, allowing the still-connected side to enter an operator mode. This resulted in, among other things, the ability to place free phone calls to anywhere in the world and operator-like control over the phone system. Experimenting with this whistle inspired Draper to build blue boxes, electronic devices capable of reproducing this 2600 Hz tone and other tones required to control trunk lines. He was sentenced in October 1971 to five years’ probation for toll fraud.

Litigation

On May 21, 2009 Judge Morrison England, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California dismissed a complaint filed by a woman who said she had purchased "Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries" because she believed "crunchberries" were real fruit. The plaintiff, Janine Sugawara, alleged that after four years of purchasing the product she had only recently discovered to her dismay that said "berries" were in fact simply brightly-colored cereal balls. The judge commented "In this case,... it is simply impossible for Plaintiff to file an amended complaint stating a claim based upon these facts. The survival of the instant claim would require this Court to ignore all concepts of personal responsibility and common sense. The Court has no intention of allowing that to happen."[13]

References

  1. ^ Shea, Stuart (2006). The 1960s' most wanted. Dulles, Virginia: Potomac Books. p. 60. ISBN 1-57488-721-1.  
  2. ^ a b "Pamela Low; kin's treat inspired creation of Cap'n Crunch flavor". Boston Globe, Bryan Marquard, June 7, 2007. http://www.boston.com/news/globe/obituaries/articles/2007/06/07/pamela_low_kins_treat_inspired_creation_of_capn_crunch_flavor/.  
  3. ^ Gregg, John P. “Love the Guilty Pleasure of Cap'n Crunch? Thank New London's Pam Low”, Valley News, 2007-06-03, p. 1, Retrieved on 2007-06-10.
  4. ^ a b "Bob Reinhart, Inventor of Captain Crunch, Dies at Age 84". Thomas Umstattd.com, November 7, 2008. http://www.thomasumstattd.com/2008/11/bob-reinhart-inventor-of-captain-crunch-dies-at-age-84/.  
  5. ^ Jorgensen, Janice (1994). Encyclopedia of Consumer Brands. St. James Press. pp. 99-101. ISBN 1558623361.  
  6. ^ "Cereal of the Eighties, Punch Crunch". In the 80s. http://www.inthe80s.com/cereal/punchcrunch0.shtml. Retrieved 2008-06-27.  
  7. ^ "From the Cap'n To You! Christmas Crunch". X-Entertainment. 2003-12-12. http://www.x-entertainment.com/articles/0853/. Retrieved 2008-01-06.  
  8. ^ "Cap'n Crunch FAQ" (PDF). Quaker Oats Company. http://www.capncrunch.com/pdf/FAQs.pdf. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  9. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=2X4FAQAAIAAJ&q=big+ones+get+away+wylie&dq=big+ones+get+away+wylie]
  10. ^ Vinton Studio Commercials
  11. ^ Capn Crunch's first name revealed - megnut.com
  12. ^ http://www.cerealfacts.org/cereal_nutrition_advanced_search.aspx?l=b
  13. ^ http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/strange/offbeat_dpgo_Judge_tosses_Crunchberry_lawsuit_fc_20090608_2498223

External links








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