The Rice Krispie Elves are the advertising mascots for Kellogg’s, a multinational food manufacturing company based in Battle Creek, Michigan. Among their many product lines, including cookies, crackers, toaster pastries, cereal bars, fruit-flavored snacks, and frozen waffles, Kellogg’s sells Rice Krispies cereal, famous for making the sounds of Snap! Crackle! and Pop! when milk is poured over the cereal.
These sounds are also the names of the cereals animated spokesperson: Snap, Crackle, and Pop, three elfin bakers who tout the goodness and nutrition of Rice Krispies cereal, its marshmallow snack bars, and Frosted Rice and Cocoa Krispies cereals.
Snap, Crackle, and Pop were created by artist Vernon Grant who imagined the three enchanted elves scampering into people’s kitchens after he heard a song on a radio for Rice Krispies that proclaimed, “Listen to the fairy song of health, the merry chorus sung by Kellogg’s Rice Krispies as they merrily snap, crackle, and pop in a bowl of milk. If you’ve never heard your cereal talking, now is your chance.”
Snap was the first elf to arrive in 1933, then two other characters, Crackle and Pop quickly followed. Snap (the leader of the elves) wears a baker’s hat, Pop (the clumsy comic) wears a military style hat with a brim; while Crackle (the know-it-all middle one) wears a red-striped stocking cap.
In 1939, Snap, Crackle and Pop starred in a short Cartoon Films Ltd. feature called “Breakfast Pals.” The cartoon opens as two boys are eating breakfast cereal. One of the boys is staying over night at the other boys house and he complains that his cereal is soggy, not like the cereal he gets at home. With a whistle he summons Snap Crackle and Pop who climb in through the kitchen window.
Just as Snap, Crackle and Pop are about to offer their crispy cereal, three anti-cereal heroes called Soggy, Mushy and Toughy climb out of a generic cereal box and challenge Snap, Crackle and Pop to a fight.
After a bit of rumbling, Snap Crackle and Pop win the battle by rolling the bad guys up inside syrupy pancakes. Victorious, Snap Crackle and Pop pour their cereal in a bowl for the boys to enjoy. You will note that Snap, Crackle and Pop are all wearing baker’s hats.
During the war years of the 1940s, Kellogg’s did its part to help the troops by producing K-rations for the US. Armed Forces. And Snap, Crackle and Pop were enlisted to do their part by appearing in advertisements containing messages that supported the war effort.
For a short time in the 1950s, their was even a fourth Rice Krispies elf named Pow!, an elf in a space helmet who exuded the ‘power of whole grain rice.” Floating about on a hovercraft shaped bowl, Pop never spoke but just pointed out important things about the cereal in his only two commercial appearances. As the announcer in the commercials mentioned, “Now Pow! doesn’t say much…he just goes ahead and does things…like putting power into every…lightweight spoonful of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies!”
With the introduction of television, the Snap! Crackle! Pop! campaign initially targeted such children’s shows as THE HOWDY DOODY SHOW and later advertised on CBS’s SCHOOLBREAK SPECIALS and ABC’s AFTERSCHOOL SPECIALS.
Voice-over actor Len Dresslar (famous for his Jolly Green Giant rendition of “Ho! Ho! Ho!”) provided the first voice to the Snap character. Others providing the voices to the early elves were Daws Butler, Paul Winchell & Don Messick – and as of late Chris Evans and Keith Chegwin. The lyrics to the Snap! Crackle! Pop! theme song follows:
- Snap: “Snap, what a happy sound/ Snap is the happiest sound I found/ You may clap, rap, tap, slap, but Snap makes the world go round/ Snap, crackle, pop – Rice Krispies!”
- Crackle: “I say it’s Crackle, the crispy sound/ You gotta have Crackle or the clock’s not wound/ Geese cackle, feathers tickle, belts buckle, beets pickle, but Crackle makes the world go round/ Snap, crackle, pop – Rice Krispies!”
- Pop: “I insist that Pop’s the sound/ The best is missed unless Pop’s around/ You can’t stop hoppin’ when the cereal’s poppin’/ Pop makes the world go round/ Snap, crackle, pop – Rice Krispies!”
The Rice Krispies elves are now known far and wide in many countries of the world, although by different names: Finland (Riks! Raks! Poks!); France (Cric! Crac! Croc!); Germany (Knisper! Knasper! Knusper!); Mexico (Pim! Pum! Pam!); Sweden (Piff! Paff! Puff!); and South Africa (Knap! Knaetter! Knak!).
In the summer of 2005, five statues were made out of Lego blocks for a Summer Block Party held at Kellogg’s Cereal City USA, a non profit organization in downtown Battle Creek, Michigan. The statues included Snap, Crackle, Pop, Tony the Tiger and a five foot tall Fruit Loops box.
The finished Rice Krispies character statues stood about three feet tall and weighed 50 pounds each. Unfortunately, the statues are no longer on display because Cereal City USA (founded in 1998) closed its doors in 2007.
For years, it was a tradition for Kellogg’s to provide tours of its manufacturing facilities, but they stopped the tours, and instead, funded Cereal City USA as a replacement for those interested in the company. Unfortunately, tourist traffic was not sufficient and so they closed Cereal City USA. Back in the day, when Kellogg allowed tours, visitors received post card souvenirs as a reminder of their trip to Kellogg’s. Below is an example of such a card.
NOTE: About 20 miles from Rock Hill, South Carolina inside of a park called Glencairn Garden, there is a plaque embedded into a brick wall honoring Vernon Grant, the illustrator who created Snap, Crackle and Pop. He is also known in the Rock Hill area for creating Glen the Frog who is the mascot for the annual “Come See Me” festival.
A permanent gallery of Vernon Grant’s works was installed at the Museum of York County in 1990. The Museum became a repository for the illustration art of Vernon Grant in 1978. They are located at 4621 Mt. Gallant Road in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
67 Michigan Ave West
Battle Creek, MI 49017
Rice Krispies Homepage (Website)
Rice Krispies Theme Song (Video)
Rolling Stones Rice Krispies Ad (Video)
Cereal City USA (Article)
Pow! the Fourth Rice Krispies Elf (Article)
Howdy Doody Rice Krispies Commercial (Video)
Rice Krispies Breakfast Pals (Video)
Rice Krispies Stuffy Doll Commercial (Video)