Instant Bananas

Scott Bruce and Bill Crawford offer some context in their book Cerealizing America: The Unsweetened Story of American Breakfast Cereal:

[In 1964], Kellogg signed Jimmy Durante to launch Corn Flakes and Instant Bananas with an update of one of his standard songs. Seated at the piano, the old vaudevillian belted out, "Yes, we now have bananas…" Sales were brisk for a few months, then dropped like a rock, as store owners like I.J. Salkin complained that the product tasted like "cardboard discs in a box." Burnett commercial director Rudy Behlmer agreed. "Those little banana wafers looked like holy communion wafers. When you put milk on them, they started to look dark and mushy."

In 1966, Kellogg pulled the plug on Corn Flakes and Instant Bananas. "We tested the market carefully, we tried, we failed, and we're getting out of the market," Kellogg's Ken Englert told Consumer Advertising magazine. Without informing the star of their decision, Kellogg decided to move Durante over from Instant Bananas to Kellogg's main line, Corn Flakes. "Everything was kept quiet until Carl Hixon [a Burnett writer] and myself went to New York to shoot him in a couple of commercials for Kellogg's Corn Flakes," recalled commercial director Rudy Behlmer. "Suddenly he looks at the [story] boards and he says, 'Where are da bananas?' and we said, 'Well, Jimmy… this is without bananas,' and he said, 'No bananas, no Durante.'"

Wisconsin State Journal - Mar 24, 1965

     Posted By: Alex - Thu May 07, 2020
     Category: Cereal | 1960s | Bananas

“Instant Bananas” would be a great name for either a rock group or a porno.
Posted by Brian on 05/07/20 at 07:55 AM
The statement by the store owner critic was the first thought that crossed my mind. There seem to be two types of dried banana - The first would the slow dried type that is solid and crunchy and does not absorb liquid or moisture readily. The second type are the freeze dried type and I'm betting that is the type found in the cereal from the description. In my experience, bananas do not do well when reconstituted. "Cardboard pucks", indeed!
Posted by KDP on 05/07/20 at 06:57 PM
My parents actually bought this cereal a few times when I was a kid. Those bananas did indeed taste more like cardboard than fruit.
Posted by David Plechaty on 05/09/20 at 01:43 AM
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