By Ron Goulart
If you're like me, you read the back of cereal boxes. When I was a kid, they were colorful things, filled with offers for toys (send in your boxtops) and other things. Definitely kid's territory.
Which could be a problem if you had a cereal for adults. This was long before nutrition was a selling point, so the question was what to put on the box?
Ralston-Purina, makers of Chex Cereal (and Purina Dog Chow) decided to do something different. They hired an ad copywriter (Ron Goulart) to write a newspaper parody on the back of their boxes. Thus, the Morning Chex Press was born.
Every few months, a new box would come out. They were filled with jokes, oddball stories, a weather report, and the "No Pictures Comic Strip." The results were a delight. I think one reason I still love Corn Chex and Rice Chex is thinking about the old Chex Press. I'll admit I don't remember too many details (even the Internet gives no specifics), but I do remember looking forward to reading the box each time we bought a new one.
Goulart was just starting his career as a writer. He later developed into one of the funniest writers in science fiction before branching out to write mysteries, including a fairly recent series featuring Groucho Marx as a detective. He's also well known for his various books on popular culture.
It seems unlikely that the Chex Press will be seen again. Cereal boxes are even more ephemeral than regular newspapers (which at least have microfilm). And Ralston-Purina spun off its human food division, which was then sold to General Mills in 1997, as Ralston decided to concentrate on manufacturing store brand cereals instead of their own (which leads to an interesting point: if you buy store brand Chex-equivalent, you're buying from the original manufacturer; if you buy Chex, you are not).
In any case, the Chex Press seems gone for good. I'm somewhat saddened that I can't go back and see what I liked so much.