1977 was a long time ago. I was seven and attending Camp Hill secondary school. Jim Callaghan was Prime Minister, the Sex Pistols released Never Mind the Bollocks, the Queen visited Papua New Guinea, Star Wars was released in the UK whilst on TV Anglia broadcast Alternative 3 and Tom Baker as Dr Who battled giant man eating rats, a homicidal cyborg ventriloquist’s dummy with the brain of a pig, and opium addicts in The Talons of Weng Chiang.
In the playground kids were collecting and swapping packets of a new kind of crisp marketed by Smiths. Monster Munch came in three flavours but that didn’t matter. What was important was the monsters on the back. Each packet had a lively - if not too accurate - drawing of a monster and a short paragraph about it. I can recall the yeti, the Loch Ness monster, a western dragon and a unicorn. There were many more but the passage of time has eradicated them from my memory. I can readily recall collecting and keeping them. I wish I still had them today. Monster Munch was taken over by Walkers in 1995 but by then the monsters had long since vanished from the backs of the packets. Recently I approached Walkers with the idea of a Monster Munch sponsored cryptozoological expedition but they didn’t even grace me with an answer.
All this nostalgia got me thinking as to what other cryptozoological sweets or snacks there have been.
Also in 1977 Weetabix released a collection of Dr Who cards free with the cereal. They featured all the classic monsters such as Davros, Daleks, Sea Devils, Cybermen, Zygons and Wirren. I collected them all. But these were fictional rather than cryptozoological. Back in early 1970s Nestles (back then pronounced 'Nestles,' as in a nestling bird and not 'Neslay' as people are wont to do to day. We called Nougat 'Nug-ett' not the irritating and camp pronunciation of 'Noooogar' as well!) produced a Dr Who chocolate bar featuring the great Jon Pertwee. An episodic adventure was printed on the back of the wrappers. In it the Master grows a dinosaur from an egg and threatens Britain till foiled by the Doctor.
Then there is a vast gap until Cadbury brought out their Yowie range in 2001. These were hollow chocolate hominids with a toy Australian animal inside. On the face of it, it was a great idea and I myself collected the toys. But then Cadbury tried to sue our very own Tim The Yowie Man for use of the term yowie. 'Yowie' being an Aboriginal term, this was beyond the pale and Tim soundly thrashed them in a high profile court case that the media dubbed a David and Goliath battle. I never bought another Yowie after that.
As far as I know they have been the only crypto snacks, unless you know better. I wonder if anyone out there has any of the old Monster Munch packets?