Photo by LittleWierdos.net
The 70s were a strange time for breakfast cereal. All the energy that would later be put into toyvertisement cartoons was put into pressing the same sugary slurry into new shapes and coming up with a bizarre concept around it. For example, there was for real a cereal called “Grins and Smiles and Giggle and Laughs” in which the storyline was that a grumpy machine made the cereal only when it laughed, so a company made up of the titular individuals was in business to amuse the machine. My dad referred to it as “Grins and Giggles and Snorts and Farts” which to this day I think is hilarious. It was also a time when the cereal box toy surprise was definitely a thing to consider when buying cereal. The companies put their A game into these premiums. Naturally I got this cereal, even though it tasted exactly like every other cereal, because there was a cool toy inside.
Another cereal from the same mid-70s era was Freakies, and its concept was that seven bizarre creatures with distinct personalities lived in a tree and ate cereal. I don’t remember too much about these guys, but I know that they game out plastic, inch-and-a-half tall figurines of the characters. I know this because I still have one (or not, more on this in a moment).
This character’s name is Gargle. A Freakies fan site says he’s the brains of the bunch. He’s moved with me in a box of miscellaneous toys for years, and on mine the tail is chewed up a little from when a dog (probably Pepper) got hold of him. He’s one of the only cereal premiums I kept, though I know we also had a magnet of another Freakies character, Goody Goody, and possibly other figurines and magnets as well.
When did I get it? The Internet says Freakies were sold from 1971 to 1977. I would be on the later side of that, probably around 1975 or 1976 (I was a pretty devoted Count Chocula and Boo-Berry fan before that.)
Do I still have it? When I was looking for items for this feature I knew I was going to include this, but alarmingly, I can’t find him. He’s not in the box of stuff I “rescued” from The Big Nerd Box. I suspect that he went into that box and got lost in the shuffle and is now in the undoubtedly lesser appreciative hands of the guy who bought it. But who knows, it’s a charming little figure and maybe he or his kids have taken a shining to the freaky guy.