In 1982, theater audiences were introduced to a loveable critter from another planet, affectionately named E.T. in the blockbuster Steven Spielberg film of the same name. At that point in movie history, it was the most financially successful film to date, and captured the hearts of millions of children. As a result, the marketing floodgates opened. Perhaps the biggest benefactor was Reece’s, whose new Reece’s Pieces were prominently featured in the film as the cuddly alien’s favorite candy. And as packages of the peanut butter flavored morsels flew off of store shelves, it seemed only natural to give the extraterrestrial his own breakfast cereal.
Two years after the film’s release, General Mills introduced E.T. cereal, a two-grained crunchy concoction that was peanut butter and chocolate flavored. After all, the big guy with the glowing finger had already proven his fondness for this flavor combination. Of course, a memorable cereal needs a unique shape to match its flavor, and rather than make the cereal resemble little alien creatures, the manufacturers simply shaped the cereal pieces into the letters “E” and “T.”
Unfortunately, with few exceptions, breakfast cereals that are derived from something that is currently popular tend to lose their luster once the public moves on to something else. And a little over a year after the cereal made its debut, it was headed to the ever-expanding breakfast cereal graveyard. Let’s not feel too sad for our interstellar friend though. The movie has remained a beloved film long after its original release, and the candy it spawned still sells by the truckload. And who knows – perhaps on his home planet, E.T. cereal still sells like hotcakes – but on our planet, it sadly remains little more than a fond memory.
If you poured a few bowls of E.T. cereal back in the 80s, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this chocolate-peanut butter breakfast treat in our comments section.