October 3, 2008

Frankenberry

Animator and Graphic Designer Bob Renzas brings the goofy cereal mascot Frankenberry a full, frootloop circle back to its inspirational origins. The illustration is based on a 1931 photograph of makeupman Jack Pierce and his assistant transforming Boris Karloff for his signature role. Now, instead, they are serving the Borisberry Monster his breakfast.

With porthole-rimmed eyes, antenna ears and a pressure gauge sticking out of its big marshmallow head, the most shocking thing about Frankenberry was its hot pink complexion.

Launched at Halloween, in 1971, the character was cover boy and pitch man for a “super sweet” strawberry-flavored cereal, part of a monster-themed group of kid’s breakfast confections created by General Mills. Fun Fact Of The Day: The recipe was changed when a dye used in the original formula caused children’s poop to turn pink!

A generation of sugar-fueled kids fondly remember the animated TV commercials featuring Frankenberry and his counterpart, Count Chocula, voiced as Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi by Bob McFadden and Larry Kenney.

McFadden also did Milton The Monster for ABC in the late 60s, and he voiced Baron Frankenstein, the Frankenstein Monster and Igor in a 1972 Rankin-Bass animated TV Special called The Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters.

Nearly fifty years on, the exuberantly silly mascot has survived, outpacing its foodstuff roots as a cult figure. Frankenberry merchandizing includes bobblehead banks, toy cars, pillows and an adult-size Halloween costume.


See more of Bob Renzas’ lively work on his blog, and a couple of websites: Art Wanted and Animal Qwakers Productions.

YouTube carries a number of vintage Frankenberry TV commercials.


18 comments:

Bubbashelby said...

Awesome Illustration. The Strawberry nipples are an inspired addition!

Rozum said...

What bubbashelby said.

I think I've found my Halloween costume for next year.

Pierre Fournier said...

Found your costume? John, you're a braver man than I.

Booksteve said...

61? I would've sworn nearly a decade later. Was it regional at first?

Pierre Fournier said...

Thanks for picking up on the typo, booksteve!

1971, of course.

Shawn Robare said...

I just don't know how to process those berry nipples. Strange, yet I agree, inspired!

Cory Gross said...

I have a friend that didn't bother with the costume seen in the post... He shaved his head, painted himself pink, grabbed some suspenders and a whopping bowl of Frankenberry cereal!

Scar Stuff has also preserved some of the flexi-records once included with the cereal as a promotion. They're at: http://scarstuff.blogspot.com/2006/08/count-chocula-frankenberry-boo-berry.html

Todd Franklin said...

Good ol' Frankenberry. Nice to see that Pierce made-up Frankeberry for all those commercials back in the 70's!

Frederick said...

I'm still wondering when we'll see a big-budget CGI movie with all three monster cereal mascots?

Pierre Fournier said...

They DID make a movie with Frankenberry, Count Chocula and Fruit Brute. It was called "Van Helsing".

Karswell said...

Hahaha... man this is CLASSIC. Never really thought about it before until just now but I do believe it's possible that someone at General Mills named the wrong monster "Fruit Brute."

rob! said...

love it! next up: Count Chocula working with Ed Wood?

silvano said...

This is incredible ! If I saw only the illustration without reading the feature , I'd swear it was Mitch O'Connell , or Coop ...
By the way , I'm Italian , and never had the chance to see any of those "cereal monsters" ...

Jay Amabile said...

...i want pink poop.

EVIL CLOWN said...

Great illustration.

Nasty, nasty, nasty cereal.

I was more of a Quisp evil clown.

Animal Qwacker said...

Thanks everybody! And thanks for the featured post!

Max the drunken severed head said...

A year before, by coincidence, I posted a VERY similar image:

http://drunkenseveredhead.blogspot.com/2007/03/meet-cereal-killer-boris-karloff.html

G. W. Ferguson said...

There's also this.