After the runaway success of Cap’n Crunch, Quaker Oats wanted another new original character cereal to market. Inspired by the popularity of the U.S. space program, Jay Ward productions (of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame) delivered Quisp to Quaker Oats– and the world at large– in 1966. The result – a breakfast cereal so beloved that it was resurrected to much applause, decades after its original demise.
Quazy energy was what the deliriously happy pink alien with the propeller-head was after. Quisp was from another planet that enjoyed advanced technology but suffered from an apparent breakfast cereal shortage. He had taken a shine to Earth, and was hanging around in low orbit, presumably having as much fun in Zero G as inhumanly possible while he taunted his earthbound rival. Quake, Quisp’s less popular companion cereal icon, was a strapping coal miner from the hills of Kentucky (seemingly) who industriously chiseled tiny chunks of oat and corn-sweetened goodness from the earth and delivered them to your breakfast table.
From the start, Quisp had the clear advantage. He had a tiny flying saucer, he was clearly insane, and he had a propeller-head which allowed him to hover. Quake, on the other hand, was a blue collar union man. Sure, he was strong, but he clearly worked for a living, and that whole Malthusian Work Ethic just didn’t float the average ten-year-old’s boat.
Realizing that Quake was in danger of going under, Quaker reinvented the character as a globetrotting adventurer who wore a white cowboy hat and a cape. On one of his adventures, Quake even brought back an orange kangaroo by the name of Simon. Simon was briefly granted icon status for the short-lived Quangaroos, an orange-flavored spin on the Crunch formula.
Clever animations, memorable premiums, such as gyroscopes, mini-SST racers, rubber band-driven propellers, balloon cars and even propeller beanies drove Quisp (and Quake by proxy) to new heights.
Then, in 1972, Quake faced his greatest challenge: a vote. The Quisp vs. Quake campaign rolled out, and Quisp won by a landslide. Quake, like Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern before him, conceded with dignity and went back to work in the private sector, presumably at the Quisp factory.
But all good things must come to an end. For Quisp, victory was corn-sweet, but short-lived. By the end of the decade, the space program was not as buzz worthy as it had been for the previous generation of kids. Quisp ads became scarcer, and the little pink guy called it a day and went back to his home planet.
Fast forward to the 1990s. Quisp returns to earth with great fanfare and becomes the first “internet” cereal. Quaker harnessed the power of the online world to resurrect one of the most unique and best-loved icons of the 20th century. Quisp is back in limited production, available at quisp.com, as it should be, because it’s hard to keep a quazy alien down for long.
If you have fond memories of eating this beloved breakfast cereal from yesteryear, we’d love to hear all of your recollections in our comments section. Meanwhile, a tip of the hat to Quaker Oats for bringing an old intergalactic friend back to visit.