Back in the glory days of breakfast cereal, it was a no-brainer to include the word “sugar” in the name, at least if you wanted to capture the attention of the kiddies. Given a choice, no red-blooded American youngster was going to pick Special K or Grape Nuts over something as enticing as Sugar Pops or Super Sugar Crisp. And, while many in recent years have grown up with a cereal called Honey Smacks, or simply Smacks, legions of baby boomers would prefer these morsels of sweetened puffed corn be called by their rightful name, Sugar Smacks.
Introduced by Kelloggs in 1953, Sugar Smacks were almost an immediate success, thanks in part to a steady string of popular mascots who used words like “Satis-Smack-tion!” to proclaim their supreme yumminess. In the early years, a clown named Cliffy and a seal named Smaxey served as their spokes-creatures. Hanna Barbera’s Quick Draw McGraw took over the role in 1961, followed by an assortment of odd characters, until 1971, when Dig ‘Em Frog first appeared. Clearly their most popular mascot, his commercials are the ones most often remembered. He would eventually be replaced, only to return by popular demand in the 80s. To date, his face still graces every box.
But while the 80s return of Dig ‘Em Frog might have given fans a reason to rejoice, they would soon be forced to recognize a different, more socially acceptable moniker. As an increasing number of parents became less willing to allow a product on the breakfast table that sounded as if it was akin to a sucrose IV, manufacturers acted quickly, and soon America’s beloved Sugar Smacks, became the less offensive Honey Smacks, then eventually just Smacks. Perhaps it was because Sugar Smacks just happened to tie Super Sugar Crisp (a virtually identical product made by Post) as having the highest sugar content of any cereal on the market – a serving being the equivalent of eating a glazed donut.
And so, the Sugar Smacks of yesteryear no longer exist, except in the memories of kids who grew up munching a bowl of these sweetened nuggets while watching Saturday morning cartoons and following the adventures of a frog pitchman of few words. Yeah, Honey Smacks have their followers, but those lost souls missed out on the glory years, when breakfast meant an abundant serving of sugar.
If you have fond memories of munching a bowl of Sugar Smacks before heading out to the bus stop, we welcome all your recollections in our comments section, as we harken back to a simpler and sweeter time in breakfast cereal history, here at Retroland.