A veteran naval officer who has saluted from cereal boxes for 50 years — Cap’n Crunch — may not be a real captain after all.
The US Navy faced a flurry of questions after the culinary Web site Foodbeast pointed out the cereal seaman’s blue uniform carried only three stripes — giving him the rank of a US naval commander.
The news came as a crushing disappointment to many fans of the avuncular seafarer, including the blogger who uncovered his lower rank, Charisma Madarang of Foodbeast.
“The cheery Santa Claus in blue Napoleon hat is really just a big, fat LIAR,” Madarang wrote.
Forced to confront the controversy, the US Navy acknowledged Crunch was one stripe short of a captain.
“We have no record of a CAP’N or Captain Crunch serving in the US Navy,” spokesman Lieutenant Commander Chris Servello said.
However, he sought to downplay allegations Crunch was an imposter and said the word captain could be used in a more general sense.
“We don’t take issue with the idea that a Commander [in command] could be called ‘Captain’ because of his positional rank, ie, Captain of the ship,” Servello wrote in an e-mail.
The Cap’n himself launched a defense on his Twitter feed, @RealCapnCrunch, as his supporters rallied to his flag.
“Regarding today’s rumors... of course I’m a Cap’n! It’s the Crunch — not the clothes — that make a man,” he wrote.
The official history records Cap’n Crunch taking to the high seas in 1963, when the sugary children’s cereal was launched by Quaker Oats.
He has commanded the SS Guppy ever since, all the time fending off his foe, the pirate Jean LaFoote, whose hostility is often defused with offers of cereal.
Crunch found solace in Shakespeare as he lamented on twitter the kerfuffle over his rank.
“So much fuss about my name. O, be some other name. What’s in a name? That which we call Cap’n Crunch, by any other name would taste as sweet,” he wrote.