Here’s this week’s dip into the Hoverboy wading pool with one of the oddest ripples that Hoverboy ever caused.
This box of cereal, from 1985, was the last officially licensed Hoverboy product until the comic book revival in 2007. The box art (painted by the great Dexter Munroe) was available for only three months in ’85, and only in the American Southwest, and parts of Maine. Hoverboy cereal was discontinued (after decades of success), because polling proved the character was no longer popular following the 1982 shooting spree by Bucket-Boy co- creator, Bob Stark, at a Michigan shopping mall. It’s a wonder this cereal lasted as long as it did.
The real tragedy came when America’s Best decided to repurpose the cereal shapes and box artwork with a new rising star in the world of sp0rts, basketball player Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
In their haste to get the new product to market, the usually professional AB Co. art department only changed the head and face on the box , leaving the unfortunate pistol in place.
As liberal as America was in the Eighties, they still weren’t willing to buy a cereal featuring a black man holding a gun in New Mexico (and parts of Maine). The cereal sold very poorly, and eight people died as a direct result of seeing the box on shelves. For the next decade, America’s Best gave up on celebrity based breakfast foods and focused on toaster pastries and tropical juices.
It was their next, and final foray into the lucrative world of celebricereals that ultimately closed the doors of one of the nation’s best known breakfast brands.
After years of keeping away from star based breakfasts, ABCC jumped in with both feet in May of 1994, once again bringing out the original “Buckets and Fists” cereal under a new name, trading on the enduring fame of well known movie star and sports hero, O.J. Simpson.
In what seemed like a stroke of excellent luck for the early morning foods giant, three weeks later, Mr. Simpson was arrested on suspicion of murder, causing sales of the cereal to be astoundingly strong for a month and a half, selling over a million boxes, until the factory was mysteriously set on fire by a large crowd on August 22, 1994.
For more of the fascinating world of Hoverboy, go to www.hoverboy.com and strap into your hover-chairs for the floating ride of your life. As the old comics used to say “It’s Somewhat Fun!”.
Ty the Guy. See you at the Toronto convention this weekend!