The story of "How Breakfast Got Its Crunch" has finally been told.
Author Marty Gitlin, creator of "The Great American Cereal Book," will be available for a book signing at JCC's GalactiCon on Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. in the Student Union.
Gitlin describes the book as being "the definitive compendium of breakfast cereal history and lore."
"It's really a pop culture book," said Gitlin. "Anyone that's into pop culture and has eaten a bowl of cereal will enjoy it. That's why I think a lot of the same people going to GalactiCon will be the same people that might really enjoy my book."
The book features behind the scenes accounts of 800 breakfast cereals ranging from the very first ever made to the present, more than 350 full color images of cereal boxes that go back more than 100 years, memorabilia and more.
"It's a fun, funny, colorful, coffee table book that at its heart is a breakfast cereal encyclopedia," said Gitlin.
Gitlin has always had a passion for breakfast cereal. And, that's why he wanted to make the book something that was fun to read and flip through.
"My whole idea of breakfast cereal is that it's fun," said Gitlin. "Eating it, reading the box, the prizes, the spokes characters; it's all fun. And, I wanted to convey that sense of fun into this book."
Based on the national recognition that the book has garnered, Gitlin believes that he has accomplished just that. According to Gitlin, the book has been featured in The New York Times, Reader's Digest, Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and on Oprah.com.
"All the reports and features have been positive and glowing," said Gitlin. "So, it's something that I am really very proud of."
It's no surprise that Gitlin is an educational book writer, a sports writer that covers the Browns for CBSsports.com and the author of about 60 books. What sets "The Great American Cereal Book" apart from the rest though is that it is the first book that wasn't assigned to Gitlin.
"It's the only book I've written that was my own idea and creation," said Gitlin.
"The Great American Cereal Book" has achieved a level of uniqueness in that it is a textbook that is fun, easy to read and includes factual historical information.
"The imagery and cereal characters make it fun," said Gitlin. "There is a lot of information and features about spokes characters such as Captain Crunch, Tony the Tiger, and the Trix Rabbit."
The book, which is split up into 'cereal eras,' focuses on specific time periods when cereal was emerging into popular culture.
"The first cereal produced in the late 1800s, was based on improving the health of adults," said Gitlin. "But, then in 1949 the 'Baby Boomer Cereal Era' started, and dozens upon dozens of sugar cereals came out. I think that's another thing that makes it fun, to learn how cereals have evolved over the course of 150 years."
Gitlin calls the current cereal era 'Make a Toy, Make a Movie, Make a Cereal.' According to Gitlin, corporations saw a means of increasing profits by bundling the the three separate entities.
"People always ask me what I think the next era of cereal will be, and I tell them I have no idea," said Gitlin.
There are also juicy tidbits that make the book fun. One example is that in 1903 a cereal was developed called Tryabita that was celery flavored. Unfortunately, bleu cheese was sold separately.
"If that's not a fun fact I don't know what is," said Gitlin.
Another fun fact is that Gitlin's love for cereal began at a very young age. He actually had a rule that he had to eat at least one bowl of every cereal that came out on the market.
"I used to brag about it with my friends by saying, 'Hey, I've eaten every cereal ever'," said Gitlin. "It was something I took a lot of pride in. But, then when I was 8 years old, a cereal called Banana Wackies hit the market. And, I knew I wasn't going to like it because I didn't like banana-flavored anything. So, it was a test of my rule. I told my mother to go to the store and buy a box of it so I could eat a bowl of it, and she could throw the rest of it out. She got it, and that's exactly what happened."
Gitlin's passion for cereal has translated directly into a measure of success that he can take a great level of pride in. So, those who hadn't already planned on attending the GalactiCon might want to stop by to meet the man who solved the mystery of "How Breakfast Cereal Got Its Crunch."