The Real Reason Cap'n Crunch Was Created

To be a brand ambassador for Big Cereal is to trade in the dark underbelly of the food mascot marketplace. Deals are forged in nutritional value, reputations staked on delicate mountains of frosted flakes, careers won and lost like a silly rabbit being pulled out of a hat. Hey, it's all part of a balanced breakfast, right? Look closer, dear reader: here, there be dragons. (And large, domesticated tigers, who assure you that everything is just "grrrrrrrreat.")

But, is everything grrrrrrreat? Did Chef Wendell quietly choose a life in back-of-house, as sentient toast squares happily assumed his position up front, or was something more sinister afoot? When a leprechaun insists that kids are "always after his lucky charms," is it a tagline, or a cry for help? And why was a toothless captain in the U.S. Navy stripped of his ship, his dignity, and the middle three letters in his title? When it comes to the truth behind Cap'n Crunch, we may have more questions than answers.

A mission to save cereal

According to Today, Cap'n Crunch, whose real name is Horatio Magellan Crunch, has a complicated past. Produced like a Saturday morning cartoon character, designed by the team behind Rocky and Bullwinkle, cereal mascot Crunch experienced mostly calm waters on the S.S. Guppy, sailing the Sea of Milk and evading that pesky pirate, Jean LaFoote. Quaker insists that Cap'n Crunch cereal was simply a response to the youth of America's desire for a cereal that didn't go soggy. So why has its mascot become a subject of controversy, maligned by the public and defended by the U.S. Navy?

There were rumblings about whether or not the captain was still seaworthy after this takedown piece from the L.A. Times in 2011. And the rubber met the road in 2013, when Crunch's rank was allegedly called into question by a blogger on Foodbeast. According to ABC News, the writer noticed that Crunch's uniform bore three gold stripes, indicating, in naval terms, that he holds the rank of commander, not captain. The old seadog took to Twitter to defend himself (while Quaker stayed suspiciously quiet), but the damage had already been done. Crunch has been fighting an uphill battle against his detractors and soggy cereal ever since, leaving us to wonder if, perhaps, he was really created to show us all how to navigate the stormy seas of life.