Rice Krispies are a fine, versatile cereal. Ideal in a bowl, with milk, as (presumably) nature intended. Also good mixed up with melted chocolate and honey! Mmmm! Less good in the overpriced and artificial tasting Rice Krispie Squares. But nobody is perfect.
But Snap, Crackle and Pop, Kellogg’s’s* poster boys for said cereal are sadly disappointing. They are, quite literally, a bunch of fairies. And the fact that they released a book of magic tricks with Paul Daniels in the 1980s doesn’t do much for them in my eyes. (Some of the tricks in this book actually didn’t work. Shame. Shame on you, Paul.)
Now Kellogg’s know everything about nothing, and not too much about that, but they couldn’t fail to see that there was a gap in the market and so they introduced Ricicles, which were a lot like Rice Krispies except they had a lot more sugar in them so you could run around all day pissing your parents off.
And to fit in with this ADHD-inducing behaviour, they needed a manly-man type character for the box… enter Captain Rik! Yes, an astronaut! That is more like it!
Captain Rik and his little sugared bits of rice were my constant companions throughout the years 7 to 11. I have even named one of my fillings in his honour! Every time I accidentally chew a bit of the foil wrapped round a chocolate bar, I am reminded of the good Captain.
But, fame will take its toll on the most dedicated astronaut/cereal box character and Captain Rik slid into alcohol and drug abuse. In the early 1990s, the foolish leprechaun from Nestle had been bleating on about someone having stolen his “Lucky Charms” for some years, but no-one had listened to him, thinking he was just a pointless stereotype. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that Captain Rik, on one of his regular jaunts across the briny to sample the Guinness, had indeed pilfered the Charms and introduced them into his own cereal.
Of course the public voted with their feet and the sales figures for these hellish, hybrid Ricicharms were much lower than the classic. Kellogg’s management team immediately re-introduced “proper” marshmallowless Ricicles alongside Captain Rik’s and eventually the “new” improved Ricicles faded from our shelves, leaving Rik a broken man.
Kellogg’s hired a succession of character actors to play Rik, and pensioned him off to the Isle of Wight, where he remains in undignified retirement. Most of the other cereal characters ignore him now, and only the honey monster goes to visit, although he’s stopped buying Rik a pint, as he never gets one back.
But… he is still my hero, and I have the fillings to prove it.
* couldn’t resist it, sorry…