The Forgotten Fourth Member Of The Rice Krispies Mascot Group

Whether it's an anthropomorphic tiger with a love for sports or a leprechaun who relies on marshmallows for his magic powers, the world of cereal mascots is one that is as colorful as the boxes they adorn. Although these cartoon characters are used to get some little kids to eagerly toss them in their parent's grocery cart, the history of cereal mascots goes a little deeper than what you usually see on the store shelf.

The first "modern" cereal mascot is credited to "Sunny Jim," a top-hat and a cane-carrying gentleman who promoted the Force brand of cereal back in 1901 (via Mishpacha Magazine). With the success of Sunny Jim, it would be no surprise that other cereal companies realized such whimsical characters would do a better job of singing the praises of their breakfast cereal than some guy on a street corner. But as some cereal mascots promoted the nutritional and wholesome values of their cereal, one company, Kellogg's, decided that it would instead focus on marketing the "sounds" its cereal made. In the 1930s, according to the National Museum of American History, Kellogg's introduced Snap, Crackle, and Pop, little cartoon elves named after the "cackling" noises Rice Krispies make when milk was added.

For many years, this trio of elves has proudly proclaimed the delicious virtues of a morning bowl of Rice Krispies. But what if there was a fourth elf, one hidden in the depths of history like the prize at the bottom of the cereal bag?

There was a fourth member named Pow

While you can understand where the names of "Snap, Crackle, and Pop" come from, where does the name "Pow" come from? In fact, just who is this mysterious fourth elf?  According to Hella Entertainment, Pow only appeared twice in a handful of TV commercials way back in the 1950s. Unlike the simple style Snap, Crackle, and Pop had, Pow was decorated as a  cross between a futuristic superhero and astronaut, presumably a combination of American science-fiction and the association of the onomatopoeia "Pow!" in comic books at the time. 

Pow, whose name was short for "Power" instead of any sounds the cereal made, was advertised as a family friend to the elves, who represented the nutritional benefits that eating Rice Krispies supposedly gave to the consumer (via Smithsonian Magazine). But like any fourth character added to a famous trio in an attempt to "shake things up," Pow simply didn't stick in the mind of the public and, following those brief appearances in the '50s, Pow faded out of the public consciousness like a strange fever dream after one too many bowls of sugary cereal.

Pow isn't the only mascot to have been shelved from the memory of the general public. Lucky Charms briefly introduced a new mascot character to replace Lucky the Leprechaun back in the 1970s. "Waldo the Wizard," as AtlasObscura explains, stayed around for a year and, perhaps out of financial incentive by General Mills, magically disappeared once again.