Duluth native Frank “Butch” Larson appeared on Wheaties cereal boxes in 1935. Finding one of those boxes after 74 years might be a challenge.
I began my search by calling Suzy Goodsell, manager of internal communications and archives for General Mills.
“We don’t have the box,” she said. “We don’t have an image of the box, we don’t have a microfiche … we just don’t have it.”
Goodsell noted that Larson wasn’t on the cover. She said athletes were featured on the backs of boxes until 1950.
“If you come up with anybody who has it, we would be very interested in getting at least a scan of the package just to be able to add to our collection,” she said. “We kind of pride ourselves on having most of the boxes through the years … especially the Wheaties, there’s some early ones that just got missed and we don’t have that particular one.”
Larson graduated from Denfeld High School in 1930 and went on to star as an end for the Minnesota Gophers. His team was the undefeated National Champion in 1934. (The photo above was shot outside Denfeld in the fall of 1929 and appeared in the 1930 Denfeld Oracle.)
Coinsidentally, General Mills recently purchased a suite at the new TCF Bank Stadium where the Gophers are expected to play this fall, so archivists had just looked for the Larson box when I asked about it.
“We pulled all of the Wheaties packages that had anything to do with Minnesota Gopher football or any athlete that attended the University of Minnesota. We just did this yesterday, and we have several from the ’30s, but not Frank Larson. I just had a researcher go back and double check and she said it’s one of the ones we don’t have.”
So, is it out there somewhere? Perhaps time will tell.
“It’s likely someone has it stashed in their garage,” Goodsell said. “Who knows?”
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