While Kaboom cereal is no longer available in grocery stores, this vitamin fortified sugary breakfast cereal has had a clear influence in the United States with numerous cultural reference in television, movies, and books.
Learn a bit about Kaboom history, the crazy circus clown mascot, these cultural references below.
1. Kaboom was Originally Released 1969
Kaboom cereal first hit grocery store shelves in 1969. Produced by General Mills, this colorful breakfast cereal shaped like clown faces was initially marketed as “sugary oat cereal with marshmallow stars”. The cereal box also stated that it has “100% minimum daily requirements of vitamins and iron in 1 oz”.
2. General Mills Discontinued Kaboom in 2010
Kaboom remained available to purchase for 41 years until 2010 when it was discontinued by General Mills. This now defunct breakfast cereal is reminisced mostly by 70s and 80s kids which is when the cereal was most popular in the United States.
3. Kaboom Clown TV Commercial from 1969
A 30 second TV commercial from 1969 depicts a smiling clown introducing new Kaboom vitamin cereal. After introducing the cereal, the crazy circus clown initially exclaims “even the candy stars are vitamin charged”.
Also in the commercial, the clown finds a struggling ringmaster trying to lift an elephant. After feeding him a spoonful of Kaboom cereal, the ringmaster is able to throw the elephant high up into the air.
Obviously dramatized, the TV commercial makes an analogy that the vitamins and minerals in Kaboom cereal are supposed to make you strong like the ringmaster.
4. Kaboom in Don DeLillo’s Novel White Noise
The first chapter of Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel White Noise references Kaboom cereal along with Waffelos as one of many items packed into station wagons pulling into a college campus for move-in day.
THE STATION WAGONS arrived at noon, a long shining line that coursed through the west campus. In single file they eased around the orange I-beam sculpture and moved toward the dormitories. The roofs of the station wagons were loaded down with carefully secured suitcases full of light and heavy clothing; with boxes of blankets, boots and shoes, stationery and books, sheets, pillows, quilts; with rolled-up rugs and sleeping bags; with bicycles, skis, rucksacks, English and Western saddles, inflated rafts. As cars slowed to a crawl and stopped, students sprang out and raced to the rear doors to begin removing the objects inside; the stereo sets, radios, personal computers; small refrigerators and table ranges; the cartons of phonograph records and cassettes; the hairdryers and styling irons; the tennis rackets, soccer balls, hockey and lacrosse sticks, bows and arrows; the controlled substances, the birth control pills and devices; the junk food still in shopping bags—onion-and-garlic chips, nacho thins, peanut creme patties, Waffelos and Kabooms, fruit chews and toffee popcorn; the Dum-Dum pops, the Mystic mints.
5. Kaboom Cereal Box Gun in Kill Bill: Volume 1 Movie
Vernita Green of Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 movie Kill Bill: Volume 1 uses a gun hidden inside a Kaboom cereal box in a failed attempt to kill The Bride.
6. Kaboom Cereal Reference in Futurama
The main protagonist, Philip J. Fry voiced by Billy West, of the cartoon series Futurama compares the loss of a memory to the fact that Kaboom cereal is no longer available in season 7 episode 23 from 2013.
“I guess the memory’s gone forever… like Kaboom cereal.”
7. Crazy Kaboom Cereal in Butthole Surfers’ Music Video
American rock band, Butthole Surfers, prominently feature a Kaboom cereal box in their Cherub music video.
The music video depicts a man sitting down in his kitchen before work to eat a bowl of Kaboom. After pouring the cereal, he notices the clown faces begin to laugh in a scary manner. His gaze bounces back and forth between the cereal pieces and clown face on the cereal box. Eventually, the man goes crazy and appears running through what is probably a train station dressed in white from head to toe.
8. Mr. Rogers Passes by Kaboom in the Cereal Aisle
In an episode which originally aired on April 7, 1984, Mr. Rogers walks down the cereal aisle in a grocery store. Many vintage breakfast cereals including Kaboom can be seen as Mr. Rogers walks by.
9. Favorite Cereal of Anchorman Ted Baxter
In an episode of Mary Tyler Moore called Just Friends which CBS originally aired on November 24, 1973, Ted Baxter the anchorman states that Kaboom and Cocoa Puffs are two of his favorite cereals.
10. Cereal Novels from MST3K
In the Indestructible Man episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Joel Hodgson reads “cereal novels” while scooping spoonfuls of cereal. Based on the premise that kids love to read the back of cereal boxes, the show features “cereal novels” including:
- Interview with a Vampire on the back of Count Chocula
- American Psycho on the back of Kaboom
- Gravity’s Rainbow on the back of Lucky Charms.
Are you a Kaboom fan? Let me know in the comments below. While I never had the opportunity to taste it, if General Mills ever decides to bring back Kaboom cereal, I would definitely give it a try.
Also, if you enjoy reading about cereal, check out some of my other cereal blog posts here.