Tony the tiger was (and still is, I believe) a very well known and often seen mascot for Frosted Flakes Cereal. Firstly, a bit about the cereal.

The Cereal

As we might know, it is a product created by the Kellogg Company. It is a standard breakfast cereal made of corn flakes and was first introduced in 1952 (or 1955 – see below).  The difference at the time was that the flakes were coated (frosted – made to look like frost) with sugar. The name Frosted Flakes was used in the USA and Canada. In other countries the name was:
  • Frosties (UK and Europe, Commonwealth countries and Middle East countries)
  • Zucaritas (Latin America except Brazil – this is South America and up to Mexico – i.e. all countries speaking languages derived from latin)
  • Sucrilhos (Brazil)
  • Corn Frost (Japan and Korea)

Tony the Tiger

There would seem to be some doubts as to the date of Tony the Tiger’s debut. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Cats says that the Kellogg’s tiger made his debut in 1955. While this website http://fafnir.phyast.pitt.edu/tony/history.html states that Tony began his career in 1952. Perhaps he did begin his career in 1952 but was first seen in 1955 as the full-time mascot of Frosted Flakes. Initially Tony shared package labels with Katy the Kangaroo but Tony was more popular and Katy was phased out after the first year (this implies Tony went full-time in 1953). Also in 1953 Tony was featured in the August issue of Life Magazine.

Tony the Tiger was a typical tiger colour and pattern except for the blue nose and he would step out of a cereal packet (box) and would then stand at a tiny 7 inches tall. Eventually, he became the strapping and dynamic cartoon cat that we know, at an impressive 6 feet 6 inches tall.

Tony’s most memorable catch phrase (tag line)  is, “They’re grrreat!”. Some other tag lines have been:

  • Put a tiger on your team!
  • They’re more than good, They’re great!
  • Bring out the tiger in you!

Tony’s clothing is limited to a red neckerchief, which has his name on the bottom. Tony Jr. was first known as “boy” and “son” and was introduced in early commercials before becoming the mascot of Kellogg’s Frosted Rice cereal.

Before he quietened down to family life in the 1970s, during the 1960s, Tony was involved in some wild commercials in which, for example he:

  • would fall into a Marineland tank and be tossed around by a dolphin or
  • went skydiving in which he would bounce off the tops of the parachutes of fellow skydivers.

Tony was designed by the children’s book illustrator Martin Provensen. A great asset was the voice provided by Thurel Ravenscroft until he died in 2005. Apparently, Tony was created by Advertising executive Leo Burnett.

Time Line

Date

Event

1952 Debut
1953 Featured Life Magazine
1958 Tony appeared with Hanna Barbera characters, Huckleberry Hound and Snagglepuss and others
1970s Had a family and began to he “humanised”
1975 Tony the Tiger’s son Tony Jr. was given a starring role as the mascot for a new product, Frosted Rice
Sine 1981 Tony’s face on Kellogg’s hot air balloon
1985 New shaped balloon launched
2005 Thurel Ravenscroft died and the voice was taken over by Lee Marshall who signed a 10 year contract with Kellogg in 2006.

Videos and Photos

This video is no longer available – sorry.

The above video features the old version of Tony the Tiger and of course the rich, deep voice of Thurel Ravenscroft. Here is a picture of Thurel:

This video is also no longer available – sorry.

Sources:

  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals
  • Wikipedia®
  • http://fafnir.phyast.pitt.edu/tony/history.html

Photos of Thurel Ravenscroft and Frosted Flakes box – these pictures are published under  fair use copyright law. I adopt the arguments in respect of both images of the Wikipedia author on this page .

From Tony the Tiger to Cartoon Cats


Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

View Comments

  • Hello again Micheal,

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I loved those sugar frosted flakes commercials from the 60,s where Tony always got tossed around or something would happen to him. I thought you may have access to the Marineland commercial since you mentioned it in your article.

    Thank you for your reply,
    Frank

    • I liked them too. I remember them pretty well. Must have made an impact. I'll do some research today.

      • Thank you very much! I've seen the one in which Tony was a boxing coach to that little kid, after he gives the kid a bowl of frosted flakes, they go back to the bag in which Tony holds for him, the kid hits it sending the bag and Tony flying across the room. Loved those, but can't seem to find more. let me know what you find.

        Thank you very much!
        Frank

  • Hello,

    I'd love to see the commercial in which Tony would fell into a Marineland tank and be tossed around by a dolphin. Would you know where I could find that commecial, and all of the wild Tony the tiger commercials from the 1960's??

    Thank you,
    Frank

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