Cap'n Crunch is a sweetened corn and oat breakfast cereal manufactured by Quaker Oats Company and introduced in 1963. Pamela Low, a flavorist at Arthur D. Little and "the mother of Cap'n Crunch," developed the flavor from a brown sugar and butter recipe that her grandmother had served over rice.
- Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries A Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries version of the cereal was created in 1967 and also contained spherical pieces in red, intended to represent berries, and a mascot was introduced called the Crunch Berry Beast. In the ’90s, additional colors of the Crunchberries [blue, purple, green] were added to the mix. All are flavored the same, regardless of color.
- Peanut Butter Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch would follow two years later in 1969, with a large elephant named Smedley as its mascot; according to sales charts, this version was the most successful at the time.
- Punch Crunch, Vanilly Crunch, Cinnamon Crunch Three more editions were issued in the early ’70s -- Punch Crunch, Vanilly Crunch, and Jean LaFoote’s Cinnamon Crunch -- but were later discontinued. Punch Crunch was fruit-flavored cereal rings, and the mascot was sailor-clad hippopotamus named Harry.
- Choco Crunch In 1982, a variant called Choco Crunch, featuring the mascot "Chockle the Blob", was introduced. This version contained the yellow corn squares, plus chocolate flavored pieces similar to Crunch Berries. Recently, the "Choco Crunch" brand was reintroduced, but this time consisting of chocolate flavored corn squares, unlike the original version, which was a mix of yellow corn squares and chocolate puffs.
- Christmas Crunch A special edition named Christmas Crunch was first released for the 1988 holiday season and contained Cap’n Crunch with red and green Crunch Berries in a green box with the Cap’n wearing a Santa Claus hat (originally also containing a toy or Christmas tree ornament inside the box). This variety is now only available currently in certain regions of the United States (and was recently changed to a gold box).
- Oops, All Berries First released in 1997 another special edition was “Oops! All Berries” containing nothing but the strawberry flavored Crunch Berries and none of the corn squares.
- Galactic Crunch Yet another version was “Galactic Crunch” featuring space shapes, which has also been discontinued.
Cap'n Crunch TV commercials
have aired since 1963. The first Cap’n Crunch commercials, featured four children and the canine Sea Dog, who sailed with the Cap’n on his ship, The Good Ship Guppy
. The crew was tasked with keeping the cereal safe from the Cap’n’s nemesis, Jean LaFoote
, the Barefoot Pirate. The characters also appeared in a comic book
included in Cap’n Crunch cereal boxes.
Jay Ward is credited with the creation of the Cap’n Crunch character and his Jay Ward Studios produced the first Cap’n Crunch commercials. The commercials have historically used basic cartoon animation; however, Vinton Studios produced a claymation ad during the ’80s.
In May 2007, Cap'n Crunch's full name was revealed as Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch. It is also revealed on Cap'n Crunch's own baseball card (Cap'n Crunch's Home-Run Crunch cereal) that he was "young" in 1963, but according to the picture, old enough to have white hair and mustache.
Daws Butler was the original voice of the Cap’n and continued in the role until his death in 1988. Other characters in the original ads were voiced by Ward Studio veterans June Foray, Bill Scott, and Paul Frees.
In modern TV ads, Cap’n Crunch is often seen riding his ship through a wall as the whistle blares. He often comes in the middle of a predicament and uses his cereal to solve the problem at hand by “Crunch-a-tizing” it. Another reference to the cereal’s crunchiness, a regular theme used to feature Cap’n Crunch battling off the evil “Soggies” who attempted to “sog out” the taste of his cereal. In a recent ad, Jean LaFoote returns, this time trying to steal the Captain's cereal recipe.
Cap’n Crunch was the most popular children’s cereal from 1965–1971 when Post released its fruit-flavored crispy rice cereal known as Fruity Pebbles. It took 6 years for Crunch to dominate the segment again, releasing a new flavor of the crunch berry ingredient, grape.
The Soggies were a fictional race of white, blob-like, wet beings with the power to prematurely dampen breakfast cereals
. During the eighties they were the frequent adversaries of Cap'n Crunch
, and would often attempt to dampen his cereal while children ate it for breakfast. The Soggies haven't been seen for a number of years, but at their height they were even featured in a Spider-Man
/Cap'n Crunch crossover promotion, in which the Soggies purportedly had captured Spider-Man, and concerned citizens could call a hotline
to help "save" Spider-Man.
References in popular culture
- In the 2008 Movie "Meet Dave" starring "Eddie Murphy" the main character refers to himself as the "Captain of Crunch" when he is asked to specify what kind of captain he is.
- In the Futurama episode "The Series Has Landed", Cap'n Crunch has been promoted to Admiral Crunch.
- In the Friends episode "The One Where Joey Moves Out", while eating Cap'n Crunch, Joey says "Man, this is weird. Ever realize Cap'n Crunch's eyebrows are actually on his hat?" Chandler replies " That's what's weird? Joey, the man's been captain of a cereal for the last forty years."
- In the movie Epic Movie, when Edward goes with Captain Jack to a pirate ship and the other pirates do a rap video, a Cap'n Crunch box appears and disappears along with other "sea food products" (ex. Captain Gorden's and Chicken of the Sea).
- In the movie Benny & Joon, Joon mixes a breakfast drink out of peanut butter, peanut butter Cap’n Crunch, and milk.
- In the movie The Breakfast Club, Allison Reynolds makes a Cap’n Crunch sandwich.
- In the movie RoboCop, Murphy refers to his cat Licorice as a "Cap'n Crunch Guy".
- In the Broadway musical RENT, during the beginning of the song "Today 4 U", Mark and Roger sing "...a box of Cap'n Crunch would taste so good!"
- The dispute over the cereal cutting peoples’ mouths was referenced in the "Wasted Talent" episode of Family Guy; Cap’n Crunch was seen asking a don to whack#verb Count Chocula saying, “That son of a bitch has been spreading lies! My cereal does not cut the roof of your mouth!”
- In the TV series Queer as Folk it's Michael and Hunter's favourite breakfast.
- Singer Melissa Etheridge has mentioned the cereal several times during concerts, including proclaiming “it’s the kind of love that makes you sustain your life on Cap’n Crunch and orange juice!” and, in reference to ended relationships: “Aww, there’s the Cap’n Crunch we ate together! Boohoo!”
- Christian rock band Newsboys reference Cap’n Crunch in their 1996 song "Breakfast": “When the toast has burned and all the milk has turned, and Cap’n Crunch is waving farewell…. When the Big One finds you may this song remind you that they don’t serve breakfast in Hell.”
- In Chris Rock’s HBO special and comedy album Never Scared, he finds a similarity between Cap’n Crunch and Michael Jackson.
- In Neal Stephenson’s 1999 postcyberpunk novel Cryptonomicon, over 11,000 words are used to describe a character's Cap'n Crunch eating habits. The actual name of the product is never revealed during this part of the story, though.
- The cereal was recently featured in the Mother Goose and Grimm comic strip, where Grimmy turns into Cap'n Crunch from eating so much of the cereal.
- In the movie Hoot, a boat that Roy Eberhardt and Mullet Fingers pass while talking on the dock is named Cap'n Crunch.
- In the Motion City Soundtrack song "Antonia" from the album "Even If It Kills Me", a lyric reads "She's always eating Cap'n Crunch"
- In the 1974 country hit single by Ronnie Milsap, 'Pure Love', the chorus goes "Pure love, baby it's pure love. Milk and honey and Cap'n Crunch with you in the morning."
- In the 5th book of Captain Underpants series, the second comic notes Captain Underpants was named Captain after the old folks favorite cereal.
- A running gag in the VeggieTales "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" sub-group is a reference to how the Captain (Pa Grape) looks like Cap'n Crunch.
- A Cap'n lookalike character appears in Drawn Together episode "Breakfast Cereal Killers"; curious resemblance to the Colonel in the film Boogie Nights.
- On NBC'S hit series Law & Order Special Victims Unit, season eight episode "Philadelphia", Detective Olivia Benson's half-brother Simon Marsden offers Cap'n Crunch as a choice whilst quizzing her about her preferences on various items. It is mentioned again later in the episode also, Olivia Benson: "Being cute with Cap'n Crunch isn't going to make a difference."
- The band AFI released a song called "Cereal Wars" on their album Answer That and Stay Fashionable. A line of the song mentions Cap'n Crunch as follows: "The soggies will never get Cap'n Crunch, I guess I'll have Crunch Berries for lunch."
- Don Henrico, a pirate captain who works as a chief and a main franchise mascot of Don Henrico's, a pizza restaurant in the Philippines was a parody of Captain Crunch.
- In the show "Robot Chicken," in the episode "The Sack," Cap'n Crunch appears as one of the employees of the Stix Rabbit facing down the police, and as he shoots, he utters the line, "Their bones will stay crunchy, even when soaked in blood!," which is presumably a spoof on the original phrase for Cap'n Crunch cereal.
Relation to hacking culture
In early 1971, a Vietnam War veteran named John Draper (later nicknamed Captain Crunch, Crunch or Crunchman) discovered with his friend Joe Engressia that a toy whistle that was, at the time, packaged in boxes of the cereal could be easily modified to emit a tone at precisely 2600 hertz, the same frequency that was used by AT&T long lines to indicate that a trunk line was ready and available to route a new call. This would effectively disconnect one end of the trunk, allowing the still-connected side to enter an operator mode. This resulted in, among other things, the ability to place free phone calls to anywhere in the world and operator-like control over the phone system. Experimenting with this whistle inspired Draper to build blue boxes, electronic devices capable of reproducing this 2600 Hz tone. He was sentenced in October 1971 to five years’ probation for toll fraud.