What the heck is this weird skin flap on Boo Berry?


John Edgar Park wonders, "What the heck is this weird skin flap on Boo Berry?"

watermelon-skin-flap.jpgI, too, was mystified. I figured it might be something like the skin flap on the watermelon-eating girl my daughter pointed out to me last month. Scott Lawrence figured out what was really going on. Take a look at a previous Boo Berry cereal design here. Compare it to the designs for Count Chocula and Frankenberry. The reason for the "skin flap" on the three characters is clear -- its the cheek behind the characters' protruding lips.

But whoever redesigned the Boo Berry character didn't understand that, and drew something that doesn't make any sense. The lip flap has no purpose. It's a copying artifact. "It's like a photocopy of a photocopy," says Lawrence, "all of the elements are there, but they've been mangled into something incoherent." The most amazing part of this is that the art director approved such a massive flub.

Over at Dinosaurs and Robots, we explore the curious phenomenon of excellent old designs being redrawn to look like shit. Take a look:

Canned Mermaid


Skippy peanut butter

Vogue magazine


Lucky Charms cereal




  1. Boo Berry also looks a bit like he has liver problems. And glassy possessed eyes……..remind me again why I can’t get a design/illustration gig?

  2. Hahaha! Yeah, Boo Berry looks like he’s havin a good night (actually, everynight)

    But you know, there isn’t much work out there for ghosts these days. Not implying anything here, but I can see why he may have considered ‘alternative’ means of income…

    1. There may be a causal relationship between the purple eyeshadow and the white stuff in his mouth.

  3. Boo Berry ghost wears a bowtie, on this box art it appears underneath the layer containing his head graphic; you can see the outline of the bowtie if you look at the picture.

  4. It is a 3 dimensional face. The lips stick out further than cheeks, the “flap” is his cheek seen through the mouth. The round edges of the “flap” are the inside of his mouth.

    If he had a nose, it would obscure his far eye, and the “protruding lips” would not seem so hard to notice.

    1. “The round edges of the “flap” are the inside of his mouth.”

      That was the idea before the re-design, but it doesn’t work here, unless he’s had a stroke or a bad botox injection, leaving him paralyzed on the left side of his face.
      Because if he´s smiling on both sides, the flaps would not be rounded.

      1. To further your point, it is in the poor shading, and the lack of delineation of the edges of the upper and lower lip seen against the cheek behind them that makes the illusion fall apart.

        A non-artist or a cartoonist (not to be confused with a non-artist) might symbolically use a line to delineate the edge of the lip seen against the cheek (see John Arbuckle from Garfield), while a fine artist would use contrasting shades of light and dark to bring out the edge without using a line (see Nickolai Fechin’s charcoal portrait of Boris Karloff, the technique also used to delineate Karloff’s smile creases).

        @UglyCanuck: I think they even had a Lorre impersonator voicing the commercials, so I’m pretty sure it was intentional.

  5. Oh, wild.

    I honestly didn’t see it at first (I think I mentally processed it as it was intended) but once it was pointed out, I couldn’t not see it.

    I can totally understand an art director who was probably sick to death of these illustrations not getting it either.

  6. That’s not a skin flap on watermelon girl, it’s bite marks in the watermelon she’s holding in front of her face. Although now that you’ve said it’s a skinflap, I can’t un-see it.

  7. For me, the old Booberry mascot – which has been around since the 1970s, IIRC – always carried a hint of Peter Lorre in its design:


    ..but that would be odd, if it were done intentionally. For Mr Lorre first made his name portraying ‘M’, a killer of children:


    …and what manufacturer of sugary cereals for kids would want to be identified with such?

    OTOH, I guess Freddy Krueger’s popular with the kids.

  8. I agree with all of the graphic criticisms except for the antifreeze. Antifreeze graphics shouldn’t be attractive to children.

  9. Looking forward to the new General Mills Cease’n’Desist cereal! KneeJerk & Lawyerism Guaranteed!

    I kinda like the Devo-esque hat, though.

  10. ANSWER: It’s a bag of coke he had hidden between his gum and cheek. By looking at his eyes, it’s obvious he’s gotten so wasted that he’s forgotten it’s there. Sugar Bear is just waiting for him to pass out so he can steal it.

  11. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, a number of cereal mascots such as Cap’n Crunch, Sugar Bear (from Super Sugar Crisp), and Boo-Berry all sported a cool, laid back heavy-lidded look. You could say they were all baked, but the same look just as easily connoted good ol’ aloof hipness.

    Illustrators back in the day understood the power and elegance of simplicity and the idea that less is often more. The quality of their work was never judged according to how much graphic baloney they could pile on. Unlike the rasterbation addictions of today’s Adobe Photoslut and Frustrator jockeys.

    As Mark has often pointed out, the monstrous descendents of these hallowed mascots look like celebrity escapees from rehab resorts or the deranged inmates of prison psyche wards. A sad mixture of medicated happiness and vapid over-rendered inanity.

    No doubt there’s a battalion of ‘Dr. Faye Millers’ armed with file cabinets of in-store customer research convincing consumer product companies that these hideous imposters are more competitive on the store shelves.

    Which has left our beloved characters of yore as just so much collateral damage in a never-ending misguided war on charming design.

  12. Not a skin flap. It’s rendered (poorly) as a three dimensional character, rather than a flat two dimensional illustration. It doesn’t have to be a pointed grin line on that side, because the character isn’t grinning. That’s some kind of creepy smirk, with the one eyebrow raised.

  13. I do not approve of making 2d characters 3d, but if you MUST, at least do it right. I spent a couple minutes in photoshop and repainted that box. Here’s how it SHOULD look:
    you can tell in that side by side what a travesty the old one was. He looked like a fish!

    1. So many many many many many times better! They should hire you. Was the art director high when he approved this?

  14. old lucky charms mascot: a terrifying eldritch creature of malicious glee
    new lucky charms mascot: a terrifyingly desperate creature screaming ‘PLEASE LOVE ME OR I WILL BE REPLACED! LOVE MEEEEEE!’

    not sure which makes me want sugar coated sugar less.

  15. What baffles me is that a cartoon convention could be rendered as a “skin flap” without anyone realising what was being misinterpreted.

  16. I enjoyed the Dinosaurs and Robots links: truly the original tuna mermaid had class and hotness…

    Booberrys face is indeed flappy and f-d up: his one eyebrow is ginourmous. His eyes are jaundice yellow. His hat is a cross between Devo and a Chinese hopping ghos. . .THATS IT!

    Boo-burry is without doubt a lecherous opiate addict with a cleft palate and a penchant for sweets and hopping. . .

    “I pity the fool that don’t eat my cereal! Hahaheheahaa!”

  17. Sadly, modern versions of kid product mascots look very much lamer than the original versions. I don’t think it’s just baby-boomer nostalgia either. I’d blame a number of factors, not the least of which is the overuse of Photoshop tricks like drop shadows, mesh gradients, lighting effects, pillow emboss, etc. Click–done, too easy.

    Using your own skills and tools in an analog world forces you to slow down and keeps your brain, hands and eyes engaged. Nothing happens that you don’t make happen. I am not blaming the computer tools, just lazy operators.

    Enjoy this original hand-drawn art of Frankenberry, real ink over blue line. I think much cooler than the modern package verrsion–and I really dig the details, like that Frankenberry’s thumb and fingernails are little strawberries!


  18. Further research has corroborated my “Peter Lorre is Boo-berry” hypothesis. See this blog post about Boo-berry:


    Boo-berry’s voice in that first Boo-berry TV commercial (link there) pretty well clinches the “Peter Lorre” connection.

    PS: Also note the cool Boo-berry Hallowe’en costume at the link.

    PPS: Did Boo-berry later branch out into that stylish line of women’s coats?

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