Cap'n Crunch

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Cap'n Crunch cereal box, featuring the Cap'n Crunch character.

Cap'n Crunch is a product line of sweetened corn and oat breakfast cereals introduced in 1963[1] and manufactured by Quaker Oats Company, a division of PepsiCo since 2001.


The product line is heralded by a cartoon mascot named Cap'n Crunch.[2] According to a 2013 Wall Street Journal article, the mascot, whose full name is Horatio Magellan Crunch, was born "on Crunch Island in the Sea of Milk – a magical place with talking trees, crazy creatures and a whole mountain (Mt. Crunchmore) made out of Cap’n Crunch cereal.”[2] The mascot wears a "Napoleon-style" hat,[2] leading to speculation that he may be French.[2]

In 2013, sources including Reddit,[3] the Wall Street Journal[2] and Washington Times[4] reported that the number of stripes on the mascot's uniform indicate a rank of Commander and not Captain. In jest, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Navy had no record of Crunch and that NCIS was investigating him for impersonating a naval officer.[2]

Daws Butler provided the original voice of the Cap'n until his death in 1988.[5][6][7][8] Author Philip Wylie wrote a series of short stories, Crunch and Des, beginning in the 1940s, which featured a similarly named Captain Crunch Adams.[9] The Cap'n Crunch commercials have historically used basic cartoon animation by Jay Ward Productions. Vinton Studios produced a claymation ad during the 1980s.[10]

Product history[edit]

Grandma would make this concoction with rice and the sauce that she had; it was a combination of brown sugar and butter. It tasted good, obviously. They'd put it over the rice and eat it as a kind of a treat on Sundays...

– William Low, Pamela Low's brother [11]

Pamela Low, a flavorist at Arthur D. Little and 1951 graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a microbiology degree,[11] developed the original Cap'n Crunch flavor in 1963 — recalling a recipe of brown sugar and butter her grandmother Luella Low served over rice[12][13] at her home in Derry, New Hampshire.[14] Before developing the flavor, the cereal already had a marketing plan,[15] and once having arrived at the flavor coating for Cap'n Crunch, Low described it as giving the cereal a quality she called "want-more-ishness".[15] After her death in 2007, the Boston Globe called Low "the mother of Cap'n Crunch."[12] At Arthur D. Little, Low had also worked on the flavors for Heath,[15] Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars.[16]

In 1965, the Quaker Oats Company awarded Robert Rountree Reinhart, Sr., the Fredus N. Peters Award for his leadership in directing the development team of Cap'n Crunch.[17] Reinhart developed a technique in the manufacture of Cap'n Crunch, using oil in its recipe as a flavor delivery mechanism — which initially presented problems in having the cereal bake properly.[17]


Cap'n Crunch cereal (original flavor)

Relation to hacking culture[edit]

Cap'n Crunch Bosun whistle ca. 1971.

In early 1971, a former Air Force electronics technician named John Draper (later self-nicknamed Captain Crunch, Crunch, Crunchman, or Mr. Crunchtastic) was informed by his phone phreak friend Joe Engressia that a toy whistle that was, at the time, packaged in boxes of the cereal could be easily modified to emit a tone at precisely 2600 Hertz, the same frequency that was used by AT&T long lines to indicate that a trunk line was ready to route a new call. This would effectively disconnect one end of the trunk, allowing the still-connected side to enter an operator mode. This resulted in, among other things, the ability to place free phone calls to anywhere in the world and operator-like control over the phone system. Experimenting with this whistle inspired Draper to build blue boxes, electronic devices capable of reproducing this 2600 Hz tone and other tones required to control trunk lines. After being featured, under his pseudonym of Captain Crunch, in an article in the October 1971 issue of Esquire Magazine titled "Secrets of the Little Blue Box", he was sentenced in 1972 to five years’ probation for toll fraud.

Product litigation[edit]

On May 21, 2009, Judge Morrison England, Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California dismissed the case Sugawara v. PepsiCo, Inc..[24] The plaintiff, Janine Sugawara, claimed she had purchased the cereal Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries because she believed "crunchberries" indicated she was eating real fruit. Sugawara alleged that after four years of purchasing the product she had only recently discovered to her dismay that said "berries" were in fact simply brightly colored cereal balls. The judge commented "In this is simply impossible for Plaintiff to file an amended complaint stating a claim based upon these facts. The survival of the instant claim would require this Court to ignore all concepts of personal responsibility and common sense. The Court has no intention of allowing that to happen."[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shea, Stuart (2006). The 1960s' most wanted. Dulles, Virginia: Potomac Books. p. 60. ISBN 1-57488-721-1. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "U.S. Navy: No Record of Cap’n Crunch Service". Wall Street Journal, Washington Wire, Dion Nissenbaum, June 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ ""Captain" Crunch has been lying to us this whole time... : funny". 2013-06-13. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  4. ^ "Cereal fibber? Cap'n Crunch fights charge he's really a commander". Washington Times. 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "OBITUARIES : Daws Butler; Voice of Well-Known Cartoon Characters - Los Angeles Times". 1988-05-20. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  7. ^ "Daws Butler, Characters Actor: Ben Ohmart, Joe Bevilacqua: 9781593930158: Books". Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  8. ^ "The Voices of Cap'n Crunch Cereal (1963, Commercial) - Voice Cast Listing at Voice Chasers". Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  9. ^ Google Books entry
  10. ^ Vinton Studio Commercials
  11. ^ a b "Pamela Low, Cap'n Crunch creator, RIP". Boingboing,net, David Pescovitz, June 7, 2007. 
  12. ^ a b Marquard, Bryan (7 June 2007). "Pamela Low; kin's treat inspired creation of Cap'n Crunch flavor,". Boston Globe. 
  13. ^ Gregg, John P. “Love the Guilty Pleasure of Cap'n Crunch? Thank New London's Pam Low”, Valley News, 3 June 2007, p.1. Retrieved on 2007-06-10.
  14. ^ "Pamela Low, 79; created flavored coating for Cap'n Crunch cereal". LA Times, June 6, 2007. 
  15. ^ a b c "Alumni Profiles, Meet the Mother of Cap'n Crunch". University of New Hampshire,. 
  16. ^ "Inventor of Cap 'n Crunch dead at 79". SlashFood, Huffington Post, Bob Sassone, Jun 9th 2007. 
  17. ^ a b "Bob Reinhart, Inventor of Captain Crunch, Dies at Age 84". 7 November 2008. 
  18. ^ Jorgensen, Janice (1994). Encyclopedia of Consumer Brands. St. James Press. pp. 99–101. ISBN 1-55862-336-1. 
  19. ^ "Cereal of the Eighties, Punch Crunch". In the 80s. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  20. ^ "From the Cap'n To You! Christmas Crunch". X-Entertainment. 2003-12-12. Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "". 
  22. ^ "Oops! All Berries (Cap'n Crunch) Cereal". Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  23. ^ "Cap'n Crunch Crunch Treasures". Cereal Wednesday. May 11, 2011. Retrieved July 13, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Sugawara v. PepsiCo, Inc. :: Justia Dockets & Filings". Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  25. ^ "Reasonable Consumer Would Know "Crunchberries" Are Not Real, Judge Rules",, June 2009.

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