Waging war against illiteracy, one bowl at a time, Alpha-Bits are the alphabet soup of the breakfast table. Introduced by Post cereals in 1958, they quickly won the hearts of kids everywhere who loved the sweet taste, not to mention the ability to spell words in their cereal bowl.

A man named Thomas M. Quigley invented Alpha-Bits while working for Post Cereal back in the 50s. The father of seven children, he knew a few things about what kids liked, and created the corn-based cereal shaped into all the letters of the alphabet, then coated with a sweet, sugary glaze. The product caught on immediately and Post had a new winner on the breakfast cereal aisle.

The cereal remained the same for many years, but the mascots were numerous and changed frequently. First, there was an animated postman named “Loveable Truly,” who could also be seen on the CBS Saturday morning show, Linus the Lionhearted in the 60s. As the next decade rolled in, Michael Jackson and his musical kin, the Jackson 5, hawked the product.

The 80s introduced Alfie, the Alpha-Bits Cereal Wonder Dog to television audiences, but it was time to bring some new life to the product, which occurred in 1990, with the release of Marshmallow Alpha-Bits. Borrowing from the success of Lucky Charms, the colorful marshmallow bits represented all of the vowels, including the oft-maligned letter “Y” – reminding kids that, yes, it is sometimes considered a vowel.

As the new century arrived, consumers became more health-conscious and sugary cereal was falling out of fashion. Alpha-Bits responded with a sugar-free version in 2005, although it wasn’t nearly as tasty as the original.

The following year, Post removed Alpha-Bits from their cereal roster, much to the shock of the cereal’s fans. Thankfully, they had a change of heart and returned the popular product to stores in 2008, complete with that sugary glaze that made them popular in the first place. If it isn’t broken, folks …

Were Alpha-Bits a part of your nutritional morning breakfast as a kid? Did you prefer the original or Marshmallow variety? We’d love to hear all of your childhood Alpha-Bits memories in our comments section below, as we tip our hats to one of the foods you were allowed to play with as a kid, all in the name of education.

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