1935 Wheaties box featuring Frank “Butch” Larson

FrankLarson1Duluth 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?”


Paul Lundgren

about 15 years ago

A few more Frank "Butch" Larson images from the Denfeld Oracle:


Leatherhead shot.


Grad photo.


Goofy illustration.


about 15 years ago

The box is on eBay.


about 15 years ago

I should say, a cut-out of it. And an ad featuring him.

Paul Lundgren

about 15 years ago

Holy cow! I searched his name and nothing came up, but when I searched "Wheaties box Larson," there it was. 

Looks like I'm the proud new owner! Thanks for the tip, Gea!

Paul Lundgren

about 15 years ago

Here's what the Wheaties magazine ad featuring Larson looks like:


Great headline.


about 15 years ago

Congratulations Paul! I wonder if the Minnesota Historical Society has one? They should get a scan of yours if not...


about 15 years ago

OK, now that this one's been settled, anyone got anything on Wally Gilbert?  He was a Denfeld grad who played for the Duluth Eskimos and then played baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Cincinatti Reds in the late Thirties.  Oh, and he used to own our house here on London Road.  I'd love to learn more about him as I do our house history.


about 15 years ago

if what bret's saying is true, Gilbert could be one of the first crossover athletes in history.

take that, Bo Jackson.

Paul Lundgren

about 15 years ago

Gilbert played pro baseball, football and basketball. This was before the NBA, however. He was also an excellent curler.

More info here.

Also, Chuck Frederick's book Leatherheads of the North has a lot of info on Gilbert.

There must be some old baseball cards of him still out there. I spent all my money on a cereal box, though.

That's cool that you live in his old house, Bret. According to Gilbert's obituary he lived on Lakewood Road when he died. His son, John Gilbert, is a sports writer and lives in Duluth.


about 15 years ago


Congratulations on getting that picture - saw the article about too in the Duluth News-Tribune.  At least the picture wasn't on the back of a still full box of 74 year old Wheaties - um, yeah.  Ha-ha : )

Good find, Paul!

Paul Lundgren

about 15 years ago

Here's the image from the Wheaties box. Mission complete.


The Big E

about 15 years ago

Not to take anything away from Mr. Gilbert's reported versatility, but it's my impression that back in the day there were a lot more "generalists"--Jim Thorpe comes rather prominently to mind.


about 15 years ago

I have that copy of the Wheaties ad featuring Butch from Good Housekeeping, plus some old football photos and other memorabilia from him at Denfeld. He was a neighbor of mine in International Falls.

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