Friday, July 24, 2015

His "Pop" Wrote the Rice Krispies Song

I received an email back in mid-May from Nels Winkless.

While that name may not ring a bell with you, as soon as I saw his name as the sender, I was excited. That's because one of my earlier blog posts had mentioned his father, N. B. Winkless, Jr. and his work at Leo Burnett Co., the advertising agency that's had the Kellogg breakfast cereals.

N. B. Winkless, Jr. joined the Leo Burnett agency in August 1957. As a creative director, he was responsible for much of what was seen in the Kellogg commercials on those early days of television.

One of his many accomplishments was composing the beloved "Rice Krispies Song." Here's the commercial that I believe introduced the jingle.

Here's another early one, one of the few where Snap, Crackle and Pop sing the whole thing straight without getting interrupted.

Here's another version – the one I remember from when I was a kid – in which Snap, Crackle and Pop get banged up a bit.

Lastly, here's the lovable elves doing their best "hotel lounge singer" version of their signature tune.

Anyway, Nels contacted me to offer a minor factual correction to my original post about Rice Krispies (back here). I was glad he did, because it gave me the opportunity to trade a few emails with him, and learn about how his father created the beloved jingle.

According to Nels, his father "painstakingly banged that out of an old upright piano at home in Kenilworth, Illinois."

Nels also revealed to me in his email that his father had a little help – and that it took time to get the song just right.

"He was handy with words, but needed some help from my brother, Jeff, in the trickier parts of the music," he wrote. "We heard that thing taking shape for months before it went on the air for thirty years or so."

Well, the time and effort that N. B. Winkless, Jr. put into the creation of the jingle certainly paid off. Decades after he composed it, the catchy melody lingers on in our subconscious, especially when we sit down to enjoy a bowl of Kellogg's Rice Krispies.

Nels Winkless is a consultant who writes "The ABQ Correspondent," an online newsletter that focuses on "the impact of new technology on society."


Wireless.Phil said...

Ah, first use of the word "rap" in a song!

Mike Wilhelm said...

Crackle - "geese cackle, feathers tickle, belts buckle, beets pickle, but crackle makes the world go round." That is pure genius.