At a weekend toy show recently, I found a whole heap of...well, very odd things. These little plastic characters, between 1 and 1 1/2 inches tall, were cereal premiums (and sometimes Cracker Jack prizes) made in the late 1960s and 1970s by an Australian company called R & L. The tiny toys were found in packages of Kellogg's cereal worldwide, although there were some country exclusives. In the late '70s, the company was sold and the owners moved the plant to Mexico, where production continued in a range of new, brighter colors.
There were many different sets of odd and imaginative characters produced by R & L, often with spacey, alien themes, and each with individual names. Fanatical collectors strive to get them all, sometimes in every color combination possible.
These, the Crater Critters, are some of my favorites. The original cereal box promotion read: "Here are the cutest creatures you have ever collected -- Kellogg's 'Crater Critters." Normally they live way down in the deepest craters on a far off planet. They are shy little people, that's why we hardly ever see them."
Click here to see an original cereal box ad for the Crater Critters.
My favorite so far is called Gloob;
I have him (her?) in orange and purple:
Next are the AstroNits: "Round and round they go in lunar orbit, in their rockets and flying saucers, the mad, crazy Kellogg's 'Astro-Nits.' With retro rockets firing they zoom into Earth orbit to land on your breakfast table. So you can recognize them we have stamped a dotty name on every one of them." Some of the AstroNits shown below include Knot-Nit, Clown-Nit, Goof-Nit, and Yak-Nit.
My favorite is Goof-Nit:
Here are some of my favorites:
Spinge and Fringe.
Sniffinge, Puddinge, and Nuttinge.
These are the far-out Toolie Birds: bird figures with tool-shaped beaks:
Collecting R & L premiums can be both a lot of fun (finding figures in cases full of unrelated items at shows) and a lot of frustration (trying to get that elusive last Crater Critter to complete your set), but regardless, they bring a smile to my face every time I look at them.