Friday, March 8, 2024

Hidden Treasures, the super cereal


Hidden Treasures was a breakfast cereal introduced by General Mills in 1993 and discontinued in 1995. During its short run, though, it was the favorite foodstuff of my friend Jon Flynn, which led to its being immortalized in literature as the preferred breakfast of William Alizio. (See "Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name.") When Alizio is visited by the blue-robed aliens Tim and Patrick, the abduction has to wait until Patrick has finished eating all the Hidden Treasures in the house -- five boxes, without milk.

In yesterday's post "A chameleon (or salamander) shifting trees -- this is cereal, guys!" I mention Al Gore's "I'm super cereal" line from the 2006 South Park episode "ManBearPig." I connect this with a recent dream about Kellogg's Corn Flakes and also mention that the last time cereal came up on the blog it was Hidden Treasures. Here's the clip where Gore introduces the very "cereal" threat of ManBearPig:


Gore ends his speech by shouting "Excelsior!" -- which is the title of a Longfellow poem, often quoted by Bertie Wooster, about "A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice, / A banner with the strange device, / Excelsior!" Outside of references to that poem, it's a pretty unusual word, so much so that Longfellow's second stanza calls it an "unknown tongue." Excelsior is first and foremost a "strange device," though; Longfellow twice refers to the "banner with the strange device, Excelsior!"

In 2020, when the Church Formerly Known as Mormon announced that they were retiring the Ensign, which had been their official periodical since before I was born, and replacing it with another magazine called the Liahona, I quipped in an e-mail that they were "replacing the Banner with the Strange Device."

In a comment, William Wright draws my attention to his March 6 post "Treasure Planet," about the Disney movie of that name, an interplanetary version of Treasure Island. He highlights a "strange device" that appears in the film:

The 'treasure map' takes the form of the gold ball that Jim comes into possession of. . . . Dr. Doppler refer[s] to the ball as an "odd little sphere".  When I heard that, it reminded me of Nephi's description of the Liahona-Anor Stone as a "round ball of curious workmanship".  If you look up "curious" on Etymonline, you will see "solicitous, anxious, inquisitive; odd, strange".  

William ends his post with the music video for "I'm Still Here" by John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, which serves as Jim Hawkins's theme in Treasure Planet. The video begins with a boy dreaming about flying pirate ships and other Treasure Planet imagery and then shows him waking up and eating some prominently labeled Corn Flakes:


My original reference to "ManBearPig" was in "Swords of Mars, two-mouthed chameleon-cat-men, and kings' stories engraved on stones," the only connection being that a "chameleon-cat-man" was another three-way hybrid creature. That post included a picture of the cover of an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel that bears a certain thematic similarity to Treasure Planet:


On the Swords of Mars cover, the flying ships' banners are prominent. On the Treasure Planet poster, the focus is more on the strange device.

I've never actually watched the whole "ManBearPig" episode. Today I was surprised to discover that one of the major plot points involves Cartman literally eating a hidden treasure. (Content warning: It's South Park.)


By the way, that mopey Goo Goo Dolls number? I'm sorry, but it's just not punk rock enough to be in a Treasure Island adaptation. Seriously, what is something like that even doing in a pirate movie? They might as well have had David Gates sing "I Found the Treasure Underneath a Tree" or something. Disney used to know how to make a real Treasure Island soundtrack:

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