eBay is a hell of a drug.
Let’s back up.
A few months back, I heard about an interesting tome called The Great American Cereal Book. I ordered it as soon as it became available because I love any sort of weird or highly specific pop culture ephemera. The book is great. I even felt compelled to write a review of it on my infrequently updated and oft-forgotten about catchall side blog.
While the old timey 19th century cereals were fun to thumb through, for me, the real gold came in the section dedicated to the years between 1981 and 2010. That is where all of the TV and movie tie-in cereals got to shine in all of their marshmallowy, sugar-coated glory.
Flipping through the book one late evening, iPhone in hand, I started perusing eBay listings for some of the cereal boxes featured in the book. I noticed a few listings for unopened cereal boxes! Recalibrating my search formula, I added “unopened.” Then I filtered out “Wheaties” because I could give a Care Bear’s stitched butt crack about professional athletes.
I learned some things through my new search query:
#1 I want to start collecting cereal boxes.
#2 People have no idea as to the value of things.
#3 I think my mom held too much purchasing power in my home, and as a result, I feel I squandered my prime childhood cereal eating opportunities.
I thought to myself, “Gentlemen! Let’s broaden our minds.” I decided I needed a box of old cereal to eat for the blog. Then I quickly became lost in a fantasy about a series of escalating vintage cereal reviews involving my fellow junk food bloggers that would ultimately end in one of our deaths. No that’s not a dare. It’s a double dare!
I saw a few boxes from the 80s that were totally awesome and that I would have LOVED to own, but I just couldn’t bring myself to spend hundreds of dollars for them…yet. If anyone would like to discuss an Indecent Proposal style trade of some kind, I am up for anything (anything).
I settled on this box of Batman cereal (featuring a creepy sticker-faced plastic coin bank) from the 1989 Tim Burton movie. It was made my Ralston, who was the undisputed king of pop culture cereal stuffs (Ghostbusters, Transformers, Bill & Ted, and Urkel-Os to name a few). The Great American Cereal Book lists the production years of this cereal from between 1989 and 1991. We’ll date it to 1990 just to be fair.
My wife, ever the buzzkill and The-Sky-Is-Falling-ite, told me I would probably die if ate 22-year-old cereal. I gave her a rousing speech about tyranny and freedom (not unlike Mel Gibson in Braveheart). Then I did a little research and concluded that if the cereal was kept adequately dry, I’d probably be ok.
When the box arrived, everything looked great. There was no visible damage and the whole thing was sealed in shrink-wrap to keep the bank attached. I love the design work (including the origin story that runs down one side). Who doesn’t have fond memories of that bat symbol? It was everywhere. The box is an awesome artifact.
So how does Batman cereal hold up after 22 years? Just like its film counterpart, it’s a little dated.
I was hoping for some kind of honey nut aroma remnants upon opening the bag. Sadly, the villain in this issue is The Plastic. He has taken over virtually all of Gotham. The thick plastic inner bag held up perfectly (take that Earth!) and did a great job of keeping the cereal dry and crisp, but the air inside was thick with chemicals. And not the kind that would put a cool maniacal smile on your face.
The Plastic co-opted the cereal’s taste as well. It laid waste to all of the little yellow multigrain bat symbols.
You can taste the sweetness, but the original honey nut flavor is barely recognizable. It’s there, but it’s not worth diving into this vat of toxins to get to. The plastic tang is quite powerful and lingered in my mouth for quite a while until I was able to defeat it with a little help from the always helpful sidekick, A Spoonful of Peanut Butter (Jif Wonder?).
I added a little milk and things only got worse. Giving The Plastic a liquid assault vehicle with which to wreak havoc was a bad idea. It sort of felt like suckling on the end of a caulking gun. I stopped after a few bites, as I was convinced I could feel the bat days being torn from the end of my bat life.
I can’t say I am surprised by the outcome, but deep down, I was really holding out hope. Think of the cereal experiences that would have been opened up if this experiment had worked! But once again, we must wait patiently for the invention of time travel to enjoy our favorite things. I mean I’d stop all the wars and stuff, too. I’d just eat the cereal after that. Probably.
Sadly, I guess it’s back to the storage shed and the pallet of High School Musical cereal I’ve been hording.
Have you ever danced with Zac Efron in the pale moonlight?
Awww, you blew Nostalgia Week out of the water! Damn, man, good hunting!
Wow, props to you for eating a 22-year old cereal (in the name of detailed investigative/blog reporting, of course). Also, the stormtrooper poses were hilarious. One day, you should do a blog post on a “day in the life of…” Of the stormtrooper though, not you. 😉
He definitely leads a more exciting life than I do.
You just created so many future bidding wars between us. Where are you displaying that masterpiece?
So far, above the computer desk
I hope not. Why would people want to read about you guys eating things that don’t taste all that great with some possible health consequences?
22 year old cereal is no big deal, hit some of the Pakastani markets in Brooklyn if you want old food.
Thank you setting off at least a week of regret about how I’ll never dine on my beloved Ghostbusters cereal again… there must be retribution for this most excellent post.
Amazing. I used to eat this stuff like mad.
Bravo Steve. This is perhaps the single greatest accomplishment in cereal eater history.
I’ve often thought about stashing cereals for a Cerealapocolypse, if you will, and I suppose they’ll taste something like this after 60 years of sitting in my pantry. Oh well, it won’t stop me from hoarding my two boxes of French Toast Crunch and Waffle Crisp should the horrer come to pass. This whole experience begs the question though if untouched boxes of Oreo O’s or Sprinkle Spragle exist. Perhaps laying untouched in some third world warlord’s holdout, the result of some misplaced attempt at foreign aid gone wrong from something General Mills or Post thought would never sell in the USA.
So freaking sad.
Haha, thanks. Someday we’ll find the big one.
Wow cereal 22 years past its sell by date! Brave hehe! I’ve been looking to buy that cereal book for ages! Think I may have to go ahead and order it now!
i remember eating this as a child and being not too impressed.
Now the Addams Family cereal with the free inside FLASHLIGHT toy, well that obviously left an impression. ❤
It’s not a good morning without Lurch.
Duuuuuuude, you should totally read http://www.x-entertainment.com. He has tried many an old cereal and candy!
I know! I found his cereal stuff a couple of days after I posted mine. Here I thought I was all original.
Eh, who cares about being original! The fact that you did it at all impresses me.
Nicely done, and congrats on being Boing-Boinged. The Batman cereal was a total favorite of mine, sort of a mix of Honey Nut Cheerios and Cap’n Crunch. I wish there was still something like it out there, but perhaps some things are better left in the past (though articles like this one wouldn’t be around if we lived by that adage).
There shall only ever be one summer of ’89.
Thanks! I appreciate it.
Yum fun! What was that “sell by” date: April 1st?
Haha no! There’s no fooling about how gross it was. (rimshot)
The bigger question is why did you try “a few mouthfuls”, then? Wouldn’t someone sane have stopped after a cautious nibble on one bit?
Well I couldn’t do a dry run only and skip the milk!
‘Hoarding’ not hoarding. But darn this made me grin. Especially the picture of your storm trooper prostrating himself before the Batman.
Sorry, pedant caught. ‘hoarding not hording’.
I’ve had a box of this sitting on my shelf for 8 years and not a day goes by I don’t wonder what it tastes like. Thanks for taking one for the team.
The liquor store/deli around the corner from my house recently replaced the floors (for the first time in 40 years) and found an old can of oysters from 1972! Maybe it’s because it’s 2012, but I think these kinds of tests are very important for general knowledge purposes!
That sounds like a dare!
Not the first time nor the last in which peanut butter will be used to fight evil.
I remember getting a box of this (bank included) for Christmas in 1989. My mom wouldn’t buy it for me on a regular basis though. For the record, it tasted like Cap’n Crunch.
I remember eating that stuff as a kid, it was pretty bad then too…
Nice title. Since when does a Carebear have a stitched butt crack?
Poetic license! It seems like they should have one.
Moichandising! Moichandising! Where the real money from the movie is made!
That’s the ticket!
I was recently thinking about the time I had this cereal back in 1990 when I was 7, so I googled it to & it brought me to your blog 🙂
This cereal (when fresh) was absolutely AWFUL! There wasn’t much to it, but that’s not why it was bad. I personally have always hated soggy cereal & what disgusted me the most about it, is that after only 5 minutes this stuff gets COMPLETELY SOGGY and tasted like bat-shaped-sponges.
Why do I remember this? This was the one and only cereal that sat in front of me for 2 hours….. Absolute Torture! I kid you not, I think it must have taken 6 months for me to finish the box! I remember one particular day when my friend invited me to the theater to see the “teenage mutant ninja turtle” movie with her, and my father said I could go if I ate the Batman Cereal that was in my bowl. Guess what? I didn’t see the movie!!! LMAO!!
Periodically, my father brings it up…. “you remember that batman cereal you hated?”
My box didn’t come with the plastic bank that yours did. I know, because I spent 6 months starring at the box instead of eating it, lol, Like you said, this cereal is not sweet; it’s very plain, which wouldn’t have been so bad if it didn’t get soggy so quickly. It sounds and looks like your cereal was very well preserved!
Thanks for the blog & the pictures; brought back so memories! 😀
Haha, that’s an awesome story! Hope the memories weren’t too traumatizing.
That cereal was absolutely epic. One of the best ever.
The ‘Batman Returns’ cereal was even better. Dark Chocolate for the Dark Knight. Awesome.
I don’t think I’ve seen the Batman Returns cereal!
Batman Returns cereal. Boo ya!
So…. a recent neighbor threw out TONS of free stuff on the curb and in its midst was 3 cases of cereal, Captain Crunch, Fruit Loops, and Raisin Bran. All unopened and many in individual serving boxes. I ate some fruit loops and they were stale but tasted the same with almond milk, and haven’t tasted the others. Now you’ve gotten me worried, I despise plastic. “take that earth!” lol. But You’ve encouraged me to try a little curb diving trash eating experiment and maybe even blog about it. Mad respect for your enthusiasm. PS a little context, this isnt a first, Im an avid dumpster and curb diver, even scored some press on the news and on the front page of the Charlotte Observer. But…. I’ve never eaten cereal that is 11 years old. Itll take half the guts youve got and Im up for the challenge.
I would love to see those posts!
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http://www.sydlexia.com/batmancereal.htm he also tried that cereal (and many others), perhaps you two should compare notes? 😉
Holy crap, where has that website been?! Good stuff
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hey i just got a factory sealed 1989 batman cereal!! i want to taste that goodness all over again, but many tell me including ur post that i shouldnt.
It is not good. Keep it sealed!
I want this cereal so bad I’m craving it already cx they should start selling the Batman cereal again c: I want Batman Cereal!!!!! Cx