Cartoons and cereal are a perfect match, especially when the spoon is decorated with your favorite character.
The popularity of Saturday morning cartoon favorites Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear led to a series of specially designed spoons offered by Kellogg’s cereal around 1959. For a mere 50 cents and two cereal box tops, the special offer included two spoons, one decorated with the likeness of Huckleberry with the name spelled along the handle, the other featuring Yogi.
The next cartoon character in the series featured Dennis the Menace, for 25 cents and one boxtop for each spoon ordered. Accepted box tops could be clipped from Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, Sugar Frosted Flakes, Sugar Pops, Sugar Smacks, Cocoa Krispies, and All-Stars. Additionally, the offer included more traditional designs of tableware that could be ordered as a complete set or various pieces.
Both the traditional styles and the character spoons were manufactured by International Silver, a conglomerate of numerous tableware companies. Founded in 1898, the division that produced the character spoons was Old Company Plate, which also produced a Woody Woodpecker spoon and a Tony the Tiger spoon featuring Kellogg’s own spokes-animal for Sugar Frosted Flakes. Based in Wallingford, Conn., International Silver ceased operations in 1983.
The character of Dennis the Menace was based on the young son of cartoonist Hank Ketchum (1920-2001), also named Dennis. His parents, Henry and Alice, were named for Ketchum and his wife, with the daily newspaper cartoon making its debut in 1951.
Dennis the Menace became a live action character in 1959 when Jay North played the role in the CBS television series. With Joseph Kerns portraying neighbor Mr. Wilson, the series ended in 1963 when North was nearly a teenager.
Oscar-winning actor Walter Mattau portrayed Mr. Wilson in a 1993 movie version, with Mason Gamble playing Dennis.
Ketchum retired from drawing the cartoon in 1994, with Macus Hamilton, Ron Ferdinand and Scott Ketchum continuing the strip that appears in over 1,000 newspapers in 19 countries.