The Untold Truth Of Count Chocula

Count Chocula is so much more than a Halloween breakfast cereal to so many adults, young and old, who grew up eating the beloved cereal year-round. Like so many wonderful things, Count Chocula was born out of the 1970s. It was a time when sugary cereals for kids were the norm, along with monsters starring in reruns of TV sitcoms (The Munsters, The Addams Family) and movies (Godzilla, Frankenstein, The Creature from the Black Lagoon), too (via History Daily).

It was pretty natural for General Mills to dream up a kid-friendly monster cereal. "My boss, Tony Jaffe, gave me the assignment," said Laura Levine, a former copywriter for the Dancer Fitzgerald Sample advertising agency. "At the time, Cap'n Crunch was very popular, and Tony wanted something funny. The whole concept was monsters, but monsters who were scaredy cats," she said. "They'd act tough, and then they'd be terrified by the sight of a little kitten," (via Mental Floss). Count Chocula was one of the first two monster cereals to be created by Levine.

The cereal debuted in March of 1971, made of puffed corn with marshmallow pieces. Plus, the cereal was so chocolatey, it would turn the milk into chocolate milk.

Count Chocula got a makeover

The original Count Chocula, whose first name is Alfred, was loosely based on horror actor Bela Lugosi. You're probably familiar with Lugosi's portrayal of Count Dracula in the 1931 film (via Bela Lugosi). Instead of saying "I vant to suck your blood," Count Chocula became known for saying, "I vant to eat your cereal." The tagline stuck with the Count from his beginning in 1971 until 2010, according to Cereal Guru.

Unfortunately for those who are nostalgic for the cereal, General Mills discontinued year-round production of the monster cereals, including Count Chocula, in 2010. Instead, they became seasonally available Halloween cereals. In 2014, however, Count Chocula got a pretty epic makeover. The artists who recreated his limited-edition look were Terry and Rachel Dodson, who worked on DC and Marvel characters like Wonder Woman and Spider-man. Though the new look was still kid-friendly, it was certainly edgier and more menacing than the original cartoon count.

Count Chocula was one of the longest-running cereal characters

Count Chocula endured one of the longest runs as a pop culture cereal mascot. Levine left for another agency before the cereals hit shelves, but she was very proud of her work: "I do the New York Times crossword every day and remember being very excited when Count Chocula was one of the answers" (via Mental Floss). Not to mention she is frequently praised for her creation, a pop culture icon that's lasted for nearly half a century.

Since the discontinuation of year-round production in 2010, the cereal has seen plenty of relevant action. Some fans have stocked up on boxes just to resell them on eBay. Other fans have made unauthorized Count Chocula craft beer, which nearly bankrupted the local town's Count Chocula supply. Later, when the 2016 election heated up, you could even vote for the Count in a promotional contest sponsored by General Mills. By 2018, the cereal company had reached out to creators in Hollywood to try to source ideas for a movie, short film, or video to feature the monster cereal's characters.

Keep your eyes open. Though the cereal might only be available a short time during the year, the Count still has quite a presence and just might resurface in unforeseen ways. He might try to eat your cereal, too.