Thursday, November 03, 2005

Wheaties trivia

Wheaties has certainly created a unique position for itself because of its sports-themed boxes. Here's some Wheaties trivia from the Auburn Journal in California:
Wheaties have been breakfast of champions since 1933, when a sign sporting the logo was put up on the left field wall of Nicollet Park in Minneapolis, Minn. Here are a few facts about the whole-wheat flake cereal to chew on:
* Wheaties started out in 1924 as Washburn's Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flakes. The name was changed soon thereafter in an employee name-that-flake contest.
* Wheaties-sponsored baseball broadcasts on radio were big in the 1930s, at one time spreading to 95 stations. A broadcaster nicknamed "Dutch" in Des Moines, Iowa was voted most popular Wheaties announcer in the nation and won a trip to the Chicago Cubs training camp in California. The announcer took a screen test and the rest is history. "Dutch" was the over-the-air handle of future president Ronald Reagan.
* Bloopers were common. Both baseball ironman Lou Gehrig and heavyweight boxing champ Max Baer inadvertently blurted out over the air they were Wheaties eaters. The radio program sponsors weren't too happy. They manufactured competing cereals.
* Seven athletes have been chosen as Wheaties spokespersons. Bob Richards, a fitness crusader and two-time Olympic pole vault champion, was the first - chosen in 1958 from 500 candidates. Others have been 1976 Olympic decathlon gold medallist Bruce Jenner, gymnast Mary Lou Retton, football legend Walter Payton, tennis superstar Chris Evert, basketball star Michael Jordan and golf champion Tiger Woods.
* Gehrig was the first athlete to appear on a Wheaties box - in 1934.
* The 1987 World Champion Minnesota Twins were the first team to appear on the package.
* The first female to appear on the Wheaties box was aviator Elinor Smith in 1934. Babe Didrickson appeared a year later, becoming the first female athlete to appear.
* Richards was the first athlete to appear on the front of a Wheaties box. Mary Lou Retton in 1984 was the first female athlete on the front.
* Michael Jordan has had more face time on a Wheaties box than anyone else. His Airness has been on the box 18 times.

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