“Fruity Yummy Mummy makes your tummy go yummy!”
Five decades (55 years, to be exact) after Boris Karloff brought Imhotep to the screen in Universal’s The Mummy, the legendary character underwent perhaps his most bizarre transformation of all. Released in 1987, General Mills’ Fruity Yummy Mummy re-imagined the horror icon as a colorful cereal mascot… but his reign of terror over the cereal aisle didn’t last very long.
To understand Yummy Mummy’s place in history, we must go back to the beginning.
In March of 1971, General Mills officially launched the soon-to-be-beloved Monster Cereals line with Count Chocula and Franken Berry, chocolate and strawberry cereals inspired by Universal icons Dracula and Frankenstein. Not only were the monsters lovable but the cereals were unlike anything else on the market at the time, so they became an instant hit with kids. And their success paved the way for a new character to be brought into the line. The blueberry-flavored Boo Berry was introduced in December 1973.
Of course, those original three Monster Cereals bring a blast of nostalgia back to the grocery store each and every Halloween season, but fans of the line know that Count and his Berry friends are not the only cartoon monsters under that banner. In 1974, General Mills brought Fruit Brute into the mix, a fruit-flavored cereal (with marshmallow bits, of course) that introduced a werewolf mascot rocking colorful suspenders. The cereal didn’t catch on like the others, and was discontinued in 1982.
Five years later, a new monster rose from the ashes of Fruit Brute’s failure. Taking up the mantle, Fruity Yummy Mummy made his debut in 1987; the goal was to essentially repackage Fruit Brute’s fruit-flavored cereal and try to make it a success with a new mascot. Wrapped in vibrantly colorful bandages, Yummy Mummy was given an advantage over Fruit Brute right off the bat: his unveiling was paired with a new gimmick dubbed “Monster Mallows,” which brought mega-sized mallows into all three cereals in the line at the time. What kid wouldn’t jump at the chance to enjoy even bigger marshmallows in their breakfast cereal?!
The admirable attempt at a remake just didn’t work, however. Yummy Mummy had an even shorter lifespan than its predecessor, as it was discontinued by General Mills in 1992. And it would be another 21 years before the goofy mummy was heard from again.
Thankfully, this story does have something of a happy ending.
For the 2013 Halloween season, both Fruity Yummy Mummy and Fruit Brute (renamed Frute Brute) were brought back from the dead as a special nostalgic treat, which meant that all five of the Monster Cereals were available on store shelves for the very first (and only) time in history. Since the original Yummy Mummy was essentially a remake of Fruit Brute, General Mills took the liberty to reboot both with new flavors as a way to differentiate them from one another and provide new flavor experiences.
Frute Brute became a cherry-flavored cereal, while Yummy Mummy’s reboot saw it re-imagined as a delicious orange cream cereal. In addition, both cereal mascots were given modern day redesigns (as seen above), with the retro-authentic original boxes available as Target exclusives that year.
It’s now been four years since Fruity Yummy Mummy made its triumphant return to the Halloween scene, but the character still lives on in the hearts of monster kids the world over. In fact, Funko just last week added Yummy Mummy to their line of POP! vinyl toys, so you could say that he’s never truly left us.
And who knows, with Universal’s Tom Cruise-starring reboot of The Mummy coming this year (June 9th), perhaps another return is only a matter of time.
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