What You Never Knew About Kellogg's Oldest Cereal Mascots

There was a time when watching Saturday morning cartoons went hand-in-hand with viewing a steady barrage of cereal commercials. And every flake, grain, circle, and a miniature bale of wheat had its very own mascot. General Mills had the market cornered on characters from the crypt with Boo Berry, Count Chocula, and Franken Berry. Quaker brought us Cap'n Crunch, and Post boasted the famed faces of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble on its Pebbles breakfast foods. The most beloved of all cereal mascots, however, was brought to life by Kellogg's.

They were responsible for BuzzFeed's favorite cereal spokesanimal, Dig 'em Frog of the Honey Smacks ads, which was chosen for his cool factor. Retro Pond's number one breakfast mascot, Tony the Tiger, is also part of the Kellogg's team, which he thinks is "Grrrr-eat!" Add in Toucan Sam's finely-honed proboscis, Cornelius Rooster's tendency for punctuality, and Raisin Bran's Sunny with his penchant for sunglasses, and you've got an impressive collection of advertising icons. But who holds the auspicious title as the very first Kellogg's advertising mascot? Prepare to be shocked.

The very first Kellogg's mascots were Snap, Crackle, and Pop

It turns out that the oldest food mascots to grace the Kellogg's brand are Snap, Crackle, and Pop. And their rise to fame makes a very interesting story. Food, for the most part, is silent. Sure, your stir-fry may sizzle on its scorching hot plate as the waiter delivers it to your table. And your bacon may offer an impressive collection of spitting noises before it reaches optimum crispness. But once these meals have made it to your placemat, they usually sit there silently, uttering nary a peep. Rice Krispies, however, are different. They're unafraid to speak up and keep diners entertained — even if their vocabulary is limited to snaps, crackles, and pops.

It is this unique characteristic that led to the first Rice Krispies slogan, "Listen to the fairy song of health, merry chorus sung by Kellogg's Rice Krispies as they merrily snap, crackle, and pop in a bowl of milk. If you've never heard food talking, now is your chance" (via Retro Planet).

Not exactly the snappiest words ever strung together, but the promise of chatty cereal appeared to woo radio audiences to purchase this rice-based breakfast food. Yes, Americans have been listening to their cereal bowls since 1928, when Kellogg's Rice Krispies made their first public appearance (per Kellogg's). It truly is a breakfast favorite. But how did this cereal's distinctive noises morph into three pointy-eared spokespeople?

Snap, Crackle, and Pop were originally gnomes

It turns out that the jingle mentioned above had a profound effect on at least one person. According to Retro Planet, in 1932, artist Vernon Grant was compelled to create a trio of gnomes — one for each Rice Krispie sound. Yes, they were originally gnomes. And not particularly attractive ones either.

Grant pitched his idea to the cereal maker, and Snap, Crackle, and Pop sprung to life. Pop Icon continues that Snap was the first to grace cereal boxes in 1933 and that his brothers would enter the spokesperson realm in 1941. And in 1949, they transformed from gnome to elf by getting more size-appropriate headwear, losing several years of their age, and adopting more colorful attire.

While the trio was likely thrilled to appear on the small screen for the first time in 1955, they knew they had truly made it when their likenesses were transformed into 1-foot-tall stuffies and shipped to excited small children across the country. The Kellogg's site says all that was required was a cereal box top and 15 cents. There is no denying that when a mascot becomes the equivalent of an action figure, it has truly become a cultural icon.

The Rolling Stones once did a Rice Krispies commercial

Over the years, the trio has undergone a few further cosmetic changes. In 1979, their eyes became larger, rounder, and closer together. They each received some subtle and not-so-subtle wardrobe changes. And in 2008, their image entered the modern era with digital enhancements. Meanwhile, their careers evolved as quickly as their appearances.

But did you know that there is an unexpected connection between the Rolling Stones and Rice Krispies' mascots? In the 1960s, the Rolling Stones performed a Rice Krispies commercial that featured each one of their names (per Journeyman461's YouTube channel). And that's not all. As this video compilation on YouTube shows, this talented threesome has proved that they are more than just pretty faces by forming their own rock band, mastering the art of race car driving, tackling bowling and baseball, and staring down a giant guinea pig.

There is no denying that these elfish little men have led full lives over the decades. And, mysteriously, with every year that passes, they appear to get a little younger. So it would seem that in the realm of cereal mascots, a bowl of Rice Krispies is the equivalent of the fountain of youth.