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Alpha-Bits, also known as Frosted Alpha-Bits, is a breakfast cereal made by Post Foods, which contains frosted alphabet-shaped multi-grain (whole-grain oat and corn flour) cereal bits. Post Cereals also started producing Marshmallow Alpha-Bits in 1990.
Alpha-Bits cereal was invented by a father of seven named Thomas M. Quigley who worked for Post Cereals. The cereal was introduced in 1958, and was taken off the market in 2006. However, Alpha-Bits reappeared for sale in January 2008 with a new formulation, touting "0% Sugar!" as a "Limited Edition" cereal. The old recipe was reintroduced later in 2008. The cereal was substantially reformulated in 2017, with the "new and improved" Alpha-Bits having larger shapes than its predecessor.
Marshmallow Alpha-Bits, introduced in 1990, contained frosted alphabet-shaped corn cereal bits and marshmallows. This variation of the original Alpha-Bits cereal contained marshmallow vowels: pink A's, yellow E's, purple I's, orange O's, green U's, and, later, blue Y's. Over time, the marshmallows underwent changes such as super-swirls and splits in their colors. As of 2011, Marshmallow Alpha-Bits have been discontinued.
Marshmallow Alpha-Bits were invented by a small-time entrepreneur named Andrew R. Miller and his cousin Andrew W. Peterson, the latter of whom was a chef at a local restaurant in upstate New York. The pair sold the idea to Post in 1989.
In some regions, such as the southeast, Marshmallow Alpha-Bits were removed from shelves by 2000.
One of the first characters to ever advertise the cereal was Ruff and Reddy in 1957.
Beginning in 1964, the mascot for Alpha-Bits was a postman, possibly a pun on "Post Man" named Loveable Truly, who was originally voiced by insult comic Jack E. Leonard in a Southern accent. Loveable Truly was also a character in the 1960s cartoon show Linus the Lionhearted on CBS, along with other Post Cereals mascots at the time (including Sugar Bear of Golden Crisp, then called Sugar Crisp).
Since then, mascots have included the Alpha-Bits Wizard, who appeared near children in kitchens.
In Canada, the last Alpha-Bits mascot was Alpha, a computer who "makes bits". As of 2014, he has been discontinued. The Canadian Alpha at first resembled IBM PCs, but recent versions resemble a 2006 iMac.
In the 1980s there was yet another mascot named Alfie the Alpha-Bits Cereal Wonder Dog. Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5 starred in a series of Alpha-Bits musical TV commercials in 1973. In the 1990's the mascots are the anthropomorphic cereal bits.
- ...Tastiest cereal you've ever met—it's just like eating up the alphabet!
- (Alpha-Bits spell energy from A to Z with a capital E. And O G, they simply happen to be a little bit better!) They're A-B-C-Delicious!
- Think smart. Think Alpha-Bits cereal. (Canada only)
- Alpha-Bits, you know you want them, come and have some!
- They're ice-cream-a-licious!
- They're A, B, C, D-licious
Appearances in the media
- In a sponsor spot for the TV sitcom 'The Andy Griffith Show, Andy advertises post Alpha-bits through a swearing-in of deputy Barney Fife before saying his famous trademark line "I appreciate it and goodnight".
- An episode of Family Guy features a cutaway gag where Peter and Brian are sitting at the kitchen table; Peter is eating a bowl of breakfast cereal and suddenly tells Brian that there's a message in his Alpha-Bits which simply says "Ooooo". A visibly annoyed Brian looks up from his newspaper and points out that they are actually Cheerios.
- In an episode of The Simpsons called "Co-Dependents' Day", there was a scene where James Curtis gives Bart and Lisa a "Jim Jam" cereal, saying that "It's just Alpha-Bits with extra J's.".
- This cereal can be seen in the 2003 movie Anger Management.
- In the All Grown Up! episode "Interview With a Campfire", Tommy says "Coming from the man who communicates with aliens in the Alpha-Bits commercial".
- In the Eric's Depression episode of That '70s Show, Eric is eating Alpha-Bits and as he takes the first bite, he notices the letters spell out "DONNA."
- This cereal appears in Diary of a Wimpy Kid where Greg rushed to breakfast in the beginning. He is seen pouring milk and Alpha Bits into his mouth.
- This cereal is seen in Pretty Little Liars when Emily pours it in her bowl to discover it's all A's.
- In season 2 of Everybody Loves Raymond, Frank says to Raymond "I could have eaten a box of Alpha-bits and crapped a better interview."