Friends, a couple of weeks back on the Pop Culture Retrorama Facebook page I shared a General Mills monster cereal parachute toy – featuring the likes Fruite Brute, Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry – no Yummy Mummy though. On the side of the cereal box was an advertisement for the General Mills Radio Adventure Theater – which I thought was odd since I figured the box itself came from the ’70s. Granted the radio dramas heyday is widely considered to have ended back in ’62 with Suspense and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar – old time radio shows did manage to hang in there and show how powerful a medium it still was on NPR. A quick look online and I found out that the General Mills Radio Adventure Theater was aired on the weekends of the CBS Radio Network back in February of ’77 and lasting until January of the following year – with a total of 52 episodes produced. General Mills actually only sponsored the show from February until July of 1977 – the series returned in August of that year and lasted until ’78 with varying sponsors. The show itself tackled classic stories aimed at a younger audience, adaptations of The Red Badge of Courage, The Last of the Mohicans, Journey to the Center of the Earth and Ivanhoe to name a few. It was an attempt by General Mills to reach an audience that would be buying their cereals that didn’t involve expensive animated TV commercials – although it’s not like they hadn’t gone that route before, right?
CBS and General Mills tasked legendary producer Himan Brown with creating the show. Brown had been successful in both radio and Television – Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon, Inner Sanctum Mysteries, and Terry and the Pirates are just a few of the over 30,000 radio programs he had a hand in creating. As host for the General Mills Radio Adventure Theater – Tom Bosley of Happy Days fame was chosen to introduce and close the show.
For this Retro Radio Memories offering we are presenting The Man in the Iron Mask from the General Mills Radio Adventure Theater – the sound isn’t 100% perfect but it isn’t too bad.