Tuesday, July 10, 2007

He's The Host of Which We Boast!


I know I'm showing my age here, but the other day after reading L.A. Daddy's cereal post, I was immediately reminded about this cartoon created by Post cereals - which immediately brought back a flood of childhood memories.

Linus the Lionhearted was one of those Saturday morning cartoons that were created specifically for the sole purpose of promoting breakfast cereals. Back in the early '60s this was a common practice, until the FCC ordered them all off the air in 1969 after they decided it was illegal to broadcast "brand-sponsored" cartoons because the
kids couldn't distinguish between the cartoons and the commercials.

Linus, of course, was a lion who ruled his kingdom from a barber chair - and he was indeed the king. In fact, according to the theme song, he was also "the biggest, the greatest, the sweetest, the most!" And who can forget his diverse cast of friends such as Sugar Bear, Lovable Truly, Billie Bird, Rory Raccoon, Granny Goodwitch, C. Claudius Crow, So-Hi and many more.

But not to worry... in case you have forgotten, here is a clip of the intro sequence.



This cartoon contained a star-studded cast of voice talents including Sheldon Leonard, Jonathan Winters, Ruth Buzzi, Carl Reiner, Jerry Stiller (and his wife Anna Meara), Sterling Holloway and Gerry Mathews as the voice of the infamous Sugar Bear - the spokesbear for Sugar Crisp. This was of course back before it was supercharged and re-released as Super Sugar Crisp or eventually downsized to the less desirable Super Golden Crisp of recent times.

Sugar Crisp was just one of four products represented in this cartoon, including the still available Alpha-Bits as well as the ill-fated Crispy Critters and the politically questionable Rice Krinkles, which was of course hawked by a little Chinese boy - because who else knows more about the crispy goodness of rice?

And even though the cartoon was ultimately designed to promote these tasty treats, it was their commercials that were really throwing the sales punches. Here's the classic pitch of Sugar Bear demonstrating how the Mafia didn't stand a chance against a bear hopped up on sugar.




So thank you for taking this little trip down memory lane with me. Linus happened to fall right into the most vulnerable cereal yearning years of my childhood, between the ages of 3-8, so you can understand why I'm a little nostalgic toward this memory. I mean what kid wouldn't fall for these truly lovable characters, or be a sympathetic sucker for this morose ending sequence?


20 comments:

Hilly said...

I don't remember Linus but I do remember Sugar Bear! These videos make me go into my crotchety "back when days were simple" mood ;)

yellojkt said...

I don't remember Linus at all. I was a big fan of BooBerry.

Harmonica Man said...

hilly - That's probably because Sugar Bear has stood the test of time and is still on the Golden Crisp boxes. As near as I can tell, he's somewhere in his 50's about now.

yellojkt - That's too bad. What were you doing in the 60's?

rick said...

Maybe you don't remember this, but you sent in for the "Linus the Lionhearted" L.P. record. It had lots of singing and some convoluted plot. Sugar Bear had the best singing voice, but I never knew it was "The Beaver".

Harmonica Man said...

rick - Oh yeah, I remember the record vividly. Now, sing along with me... "When Lovable Truly brings the mail hurrah, hurrah..."

Nice try on the beaver thing.

rick said...

I just remembered there was a character named Billy Bird who sang "Won't You Come Home Bill Birdy", and Claudius Crow sang "Rory Cracked Corn, and I Don't Care". It's all comming back to me. I think the plot was about Linus was missing, and there was a power struggle about who would take over.

Ba Doozie said...

you are speaking to me swahilli...I know not of what you speak. If you talk about diarhhea, I will be all over that

Mooselet said...

Linus was before my time (born in '69), but I remember Sugar Bear! "Sugary vitamin cereal" indeed. Diabetes in a bowl is what is was.

I think the Blob was voiced by Ted Kennedy, especially that final sentance. And I kept expecting that creature doing the mop-up in the second one (bird or a frog - I couldn't tell) to scratch his backside Carol Burnett style.

Heather said...

Before my time, I'm afraid! But thanks for making me feel all young and stuff!

deborah said...

Yep, I remember Sugar Bear. but I think he was in color when I saw him. Can't say I saw Linus. You must be MUCH older than me!

Diesel said...

The amazing thing is how s-l-o-w paced these cartoons are. I guess kids hopped up on sugar crisp had longer attention spans back then.

Mom Thumb said...

Wow, that is a trip down memory lane. Sugar Bear made my skin crawl when I was a kid, too oily. He was probably a child predator. And now I want a bowl of Crispy Critters.

Stepping Over the Junk said...

And WHAT year was this exactly? (ha ha) Because I didnt know about this...

Harmonica Man said...

rick - I bet somebody has that record for sale on eBay. It would be worth checking out!

doozer - I will not talk about diarrhea. Today.

mooselet - I know, I thought the same thing. But since Carol Burnett didn't start until 1967 I'm guessing she ripped off Linus. I smell a law suit!

heather - No problem, glad I could be there for ya.

deborah - That's true. At some point in my childhood everyone on TV graduated to color. Very strange.

diesel - The attention span of kids today is mere milliseconds. But then you know that from the readers of your blog.

mom thumb - Boy, you lost me on the whole "oily" thing. But I do remember eating Crispy Critters though.

stepper - It ran from '64 to '69, so you'll need to be at least 40 something to stand a chance of having seen it.

Whit said...

I remember a little leprechaun and some rabbit. Man, that makes me feel old.

Carla said...

My step daughter just went to Phoenix where a friend of her's is taking her to a ceral restaurant. Groovy eh??

neva said...

W-A-A-AHH! that's the saddest cartoon show ending ever.

that said, i'm thinking it was the clever fashion in which producers tried to "calm" down their hyper audience, in hopes moms 'n dads would let us watch again, the following week.

since i'm even older than YOU are, i'm guessing you don't remember when SUPERMAN HAWKED FROSTED FLAKES. sigh. good times -- not to mention bad teeth. d'oh! but hey, that's another post about goofy toothpaste commercials, better left for another day, right? right! ; ) xox

Leo Pusateri said...

You and I must be from the same age group!

I remember this show, just like it was yesterday ;-)

Sandy said...

Man, commercials were so much better when we were kids, huh?

I always wanted Sugar Crisp, but my mom refused to buy it! Damn that advertising!

Ima said...

Great!