You can thank Grape-Nuts for the existence of The Andy Griffith Show

Post wanted a rural comedy to push its wholesome cereal.

Read to Me

C.W. Post was trying to make a drink, something to rival coffee at the breakfast table. The cereal magnate and innovator had scored a big hit in 1895 with his Postum, a drink mix made from roasted grains. It was the first product of what would become the Post Cereal Co. Two years later, like all good businessmen, he was looking for a hit sequel. Post touted the natural benefits of his grain beverage, citing it as a healthy alternative to caffeine and coffee.

Instead of Postum II, he ended up with crunchy nuggets made of wheat and barley. His recipe also included maltose, what he called "grape sugar," and tasted rather nutty. So he called his new breakfast cereal "Grape-Nuts." 

Yep, that's how Grape-Nuts got their name. Launched in 1897, it was one of the earliest breakfast cereals sold.

Jump forward six decades. Post Cereal has become a corporate giant, sponsors of several television programs. This was the 1950s, the early days of TV, when shows survived or died based on what kind of corporate sponsors they could lure. Post was the prime backer of The Danny Thomas Show, a.k.a. Make Room for Daddy. The sitcom was a huge hit, but there was one problem — it was too "big city."

Danny Thomas was raised in Toledo, began his career in Detroit and Chicago, and played a character named Danny Williams, a nightclub entertainer in New York City. He was a city fella through and through. But Post wanted to promote its wholesome cereals to a more rural audience.

To put it in Post's own words: "[The Danny Thomas Show] depicted a discordant, urban family life that conflicted with Post’s wholesome family image." It says that right on the current homepage for Grape-Nuts cereal. Post requested an episode set in the countryside, where the actors could more fittingly pitch Grape-Nuts.

The result was "Danny Meets Andy Griffith," an episode where Danny Williams and his family take a road trip through quaint Mayberry, North Carolina, only to end up in jail thanks to a certain Sheriff Andy. The fish-out-of-water comedy proved to be an immediate hit. 

Let's go back to Post for the rest of the story:

"America met and immediately fell in love with Sheriff Andy Taylor. A spin-off premiered in 1960, and The Andy Griffith Show quickly became a staple in American culture. What’s more, commercial breaks featured Andy Griffith and co-star Don Knotts heralding the goodness of Grape-Nuts."

Grape-Nuts was one of the products pitched by Don Knotts and Andy Griffith, in character as sheriff and deputy, at the end of episodes. One of the show's other sponsors? Sanka instant coffee. Coffee — C.W. Post's original archnemesis, the reason he created Grape-Nuts. Well, C.W. would be happy to know Sanka was at least decaf?



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34 Comments

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Ric 3 days ago
Greetings. Yes, I find that we're watching more and more "Memorable TV".
Much of the current entertainment is not entertaining.
Give [me] the simple life!
GOD Bless.
SalIanni 1 month ago
Another Post cereal that was featured on both The Andy Griffith Show and The Danny Thomas Show was called Post Toasties. It was supposed to taste like Corn Flakes but only better.
spiritofjess 1 month ago
Love me some Andy and Barney ❤️
obectionoverruled 1 month ago
Andy Griffith and Don Knotts remain to this day the most powerful and impactful comedy teams on TV, retro or current day. Knotts’ facial expressions at Griffith’s down to earth suggestions and his habit of digging up trouble where none existed are hilarious examples of his acting comedy style. The funniest episode imo was when he ‘gave Andy the day off’ to court Helen Crump on a picnic outing in the country, only to continually barge into the scene just as Andy was on the brink of stealing a kiss from the town school teacher and object of his bachelor affection. Or everyone else’s fave - the ticketing of the visiting governor’s driver and limo for parking in a prohibited spot out front of the country’s only walk-in, check-yourself out jailhouse. My favorite TV series of all time - even more than the Mickey Mouse Club and The Fugitive. How can kids today grow up without these homework distractors?
AgingDisgracefully 1 month ago
ONLY because you asked.
Thank you, Grape Nuts.
UTZAAKE 1 month ago
The largest campus of the Long Island University system is named in honor of C.W. Post. Both Postum and Grape-Nuts are good.
Wufferduck 1 month ago
And now we have “ Reality” show. Yuck!!!! Television is now a trash can!!
Rob 1 month ago
My wife likes Grape Nuts but to me it’s like eating gravel.
TheFanFromUNCLE 1 month ago
Grape Nuts would break your teeth faster than anything.
JHP TheFanFromUNCLE 1 month ago
how about the old time candy - jawbreakers? - so good though
LoveMETV22 JHP 1 month ago
Or Rock Candy LoL. a solidified piece of sugar syrup, and sometimes you would find it on a piece of string, never could figure the string thing though.
JHP LoveMETV22 1 month ago
you are correct - do you remember wacky packs?
LoveMETV22 JHP 1 month ago
I remember Pop Rocks if that's what you're referring to. I don't recall wacky packs specifically.
WordsmithWorks 1 month ago
I wonder what ads would be like these days if they were incorporated into the show and actors had to stay in character.
harlow1313 1 month ago
"Hey, what's with Grape Nuts Cereal? They're not grapes, and they're not nuts. Am I right? They should call them Wheat bits!

That's gold!"

- Kenny Bania
Maverick66 harlow1313 1 month ago
Stick to the Ovaltine jokes, Kenny.
Kenny had that elusive, creepy quality called Onya.
sixslugs 1 month ago
Wall paper paste
ETristanBooth sixslugs 1 month ago
That would be Mrs. Foster's chicken a la king.
Mrs Paul’s Fish Sticks. Definitely the least nutritious, gummy tasting, awful Friday night main course. Toss in some creamed corn on the side, and a bowl of lime Jello for dessert! Gee thanks, Mom! But I’m still alive!
Pacificsun 1 month ago
I loved them. It took forever for them to get soggy!
daDoctah Pacificsun 1 month ago
Their naturally sweet taste reminds me of wild hickory nuts.
TownOfMayberry 1 month ago
This doesn’t have all of the facts.
I watched “The Food That Build America” on the History Channel and Post was a patient at a mental hospital where Dr. Kellogg and his brother came up with the idea of a breakfast cereal that was nutritious for their patients in Battle Creek, MI. Post stole their idea and started his own cereal company.
Michael TownOfMayberry 1 month ago
Like I said elsewhere, I thought of Post was the supplier of sugar coated good cereal, while Kelloggs was "healthy" for adults. I never tried Grape Nuts, no cartoon ads, but I think I assumed it was like the sugar stuff.
Andybandit 1 month ago
I never noticed the grape nuts being eaten on TAGS. I always thought Aunt Bee made them breakfast.
Zip Andybandit 1 month ago
I don't think they ate it on the actual show. They just did commercials for it in character and those commercials aired during the show.
LoveMETV22 Andybandit 1 month ago
It seems like they had a lot of chicken, roasts, potatoes and of course Aunt Bea's famous pickles. I'm sure there were others. Those come too mind.
JHP Andybandit 1 month ago
all they did was eat tough beef roast and fried chicken - and kerosene cucumbers
robyni23 JHP 1 month ago
Had liver once. "She looked right at the liver and cried" -Opie
justjeff 1 month ago
Sanka and Post Cereals were both part of General Foods... the evolution of Post as a company through various mergers and acquistions...
Maverick66 1 month ago
"They're gooo-oood." Not really, in my opinion. But thanks for being one of the sponsors that brought us TAGS.
LoveMETV22 1 month ago

Lol . Retro Commercial of Andy and Barney promoting Grape Nuts.
I love seeing those ads worked into the show.
eyegor 1 month ago
Back when I was a kid, my brother and I called them 'Ape Grunts'. We weren't big fans, but our folks bought them anyway.
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