Corn flake contentment

Apr 16th, 2009 | By | Category: Personal Columns

Do you remember the days when you would cut figures out of cardboard, and hang accessories on them with tabs, and think that this was something great to have?

Perhaps it was much more a girl’s thing, cutting out models from comics and dressing them in different outfits, but there must, at one time, have been a market amongst boys.

The makers of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes obviously believed that there was interest amongst small boys in cutting things out of card, because in the late 1960s they ran a series of pictures of knights in armour on the backs of Corn Flakes packets.  The knight was besuited in his battle armour and dextrous fingers were meant to cut out weapons to be attached to the figure with folding tabs.  A shield for the left arm, a belt and sword for the waist, a lance to attach to the right hand; strips of card below the figure could be cut out and inserted at right angles into slits at the bottom of the figure so that he would stand up.

How many thousands of these boxes did they print?

Probably a large number.  Own brands would have been rare in those days and there was (and still is) only one brand of corn flakes that tasted like Kellogg’s.

Despite the huge volumes of each figure that must have been printed; there seemed to be one of the knights that was very hard to find.  One could have any number of Black Princes, but one of the lesser known characters was very rare.

Staying with my grandparents on their farm was always a special treat.

Breakfast was a dietician’s nightmare; cereal was immersed in milk scooped, still warm, from the top of the churn.  A number of Jersey cows added to the richness of the milk from the Friesians, and along with the warm fresh milk, there would have been a pink Tupperware bowl from which to spoon cream over the top of the plentiful sugar that had already been sprinkled on the corn flakes.

One summer’s morning, having poured a mountain of corn flakes into the bowl, with the necessary amounts of milk, sugar and cream. I sat back on the wooden chair, the bright light of the August day coming through the kitchen window behind me. I turned the corn flakes box to read the back (do people still read cereal packets?) and there it was – the missing knight.

The delight of that moment still remains.  Who he was, I have no idea.  Greens and browns on his armour remain in the memory, but a search of the web provided no clues.  Kellogg’s seem not to have an archive of old corn flakes boxes, perhaps there would be little demand for such information.

There have been many times since when I would have wished to have recaptured such a moment – such an unalloyed innocent delight in something so commonplace and simple.

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  1. Oh, the joys of the old cereal packets!

    I vaguely remember the knights, but the ones that stick out [pun??] are the animal heads that seemed to be there for years. But none of them compared to the little plastic toys that used to be included in the boxes. It was hard to beat the excitement of seeing that little package clatter into the cereal bowl.

  2. Hard to bear the excitement?! Anyone would think that Ireland was a country that had only one television channel and banned detective stories!

    Kellogg’s ‘Frosties’ used to be great for the plastic toys – dinosaurs and space monsters. Weetabix was always a bad bet – there was never space for anything in those efficiently packed boxes.

  3. I was with you until the mention of the warm milk! I could smell it and my tummy did a somersault…. I’m away to dress my paper dolls.

  4. Ian, another nostalgia trip loved this one it took me back, I too cut out the knights, I remember them well, and up to a few years ago they were still pinned to the wall inside my Mothers woodshed, where I kept my collection of Beanos from 67-73 (which I still have!!!!) They were 3d in 67 now we pay £1.25 for The Beano for George. And cream…..mmmmm I can remember my Gran scalding the milk them taking the cream off the top when it had cooled…….Keep the memories coming…..

  5. Aww I love it when you do these reminsiscent posts. I remember (now that’s how old I am) both the paper cut-out’s and getting little glass figurines out of cereal boxes. I can’t remember which cereal but I had a regular glass managerie . Oh and a swag of Robertsons gollywog badges (can I say that here?).I think the best we can do these days is Kinder Surprise . .kids love ’em.

  6. The fresh milk made the old gold top bottled milk look thin. You would wonder how people lived so long. Maybe it was more exercise and less food with additives.

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