An Ode to Childhood: Pizza Crunchabungas

I decided to start a sort of series of blogs to talk about various things from my childhood.  Lately I’ve found a ton of awesome things on YouTube from my childhood, commercials and such, that really take me back and I enjoy living in that world.  One that took be back recently was a commercial for a cure to a serious snack attack.  A snack attack, Jack.

You see, as a kid I was fairly obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I still am, to be fair.  They’re my favorite comic book and childhood show, I still maintain that the first movie is one of the better comic book movie adaptations of all time (So is Dick Tracy, but we’ll get to that later), and I even had prime tickets to see the Turtles when they went on their rock concert tour.  You heard me right, ROCK. CONCERT. TOUR.  See, once upon a time in a marketing deal with Pizza Hut the Turtles released their first (and only) rock album to the public.  Coming Out of Their Shells featured such illustrious hits as PIZZA POWER and WALK STRAIGHT (Which may or may NOT be an anthem for homophobia…My best friend and I have had many long conversations about this very thing).  The surprising part if some of the songs on the album, at least musically, hold up fairly well 20 years later.  No Treaties is a pretty solid rock song with some very cool guitar throughout. Weird rap song Cowabunga, on the other hand, is as strange now as it was then.

So when I saw I was (and still am) a little obsessed with the Ninja Turtles, you probably know I mean business.  Who else would make a point of going to a comic book shop specifically to bow to the throne of co-creator Kevin Eastman when they happen to be visiting Los Angeles?  That’s right, it’s this guy.  And as a child, this guy (When I say this guy imagine me pointing at myself) would constantly try to convince his mother to buy him anything even remotely related to the Ninja Turtles.  I had so many toys, I had a sleeping bag and sheets, the movies on VHS tapes, the album on cassette, hats, everything.  You name it and the chances are I had it. I even remember the day I got Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: THE GAME for the Nintendo.  Hands down one of the very hardest games I have ever played.  TO this day I’ve never beaten it.  My love and my need also extended to licensed food products sometimes.  X-Entertainment (An awesome blog that covers things I love had an awesomely comprehensive article covering the various Ninja Turtles food that I suggest you give a read.  They even cover the cereal that came with super cool Turtle shaped cereal bowls.

But I’m not here to talk about all of those.  You see, today I’m here to focus on only one food product.  The most delicious of licensed food products.  It’s a pizza-flavored corn snack named simple “Pizza Crunchabungas.”  What the hell am I talking about?  Watch this.

Pizza Crunchabungas were kind of like Bugles.  You remember Bugles right?  You put them on your fingertips to make them look like witch fingers.  I’m relatively sure they still make them but even if they do they aren’t the same.  Crunchabungas are instead pizza shaped.  Well, let’s be honest…They aren’t even remotely pizza shaped, but as a kid I let myself be fooled into thinking they were.  And that was good enough for me!  Because they taste like pizza.  Well, they don’t really TASTE like pizza.  They taste sort of like what pizza would taste like it it were turned into a paste.  And then applied to Corn Pops cereal.  As a child in the early 90s there was no better taste than to crunch into these bad boys.  The bag being emblazoned with the image of the Ninja Turtles didn’t hurt.  And the idea of them shooting out of the Pizza Thrower toy (A toy I always hoped to have but never ended up getting) blew my mind.  It’s as if they were begging me to partake.  And partake I did.

This was a time in the world where we didn’t have quite the aversion to corn that we’re developing now.  Corn snacks were just something awesome and delicious then.  We’ve since become aware of how much corn is shoved down our throats and it’s a LOT.  Back then ignorance was delicious pizza-flavored bliss.  And honestly if they still made them now I’d still find a way to eat them.  Their crunch was second to none and the pizza flavored (Which could be likened to the pizza flavor in Pizza Combos) was an oddly unique flavor that, along with the corn, was a perfect snack.  For a period of time it was a go to afternoon snack for myself, along with many kids all over the country.  Surely it contributed in some way to our awful health as a whole these days.

In that moment it didn’t matter, though.  I could sit down with a bad of Crunchabungas, flip the TV over to CBS, and watch Ninja Turtles.  Those really were good days.  Now all I can really do is just think back on it.  Ninja Turtles isn’t on CBS anymore (But it IS coming to Nickelodeon this fall!), Crunchabungas are no longer being produced, and I’m just not that kid anymore.

That didn’t stop me from jumping on eBay and looking for bags of Crunchabungas that somehow survived the 90s to be sold to idiots like me two decades after production ceased.  The search was fruitless, like my endless quest for Ecto Cooler, but it won’t end.  Why would it?  Don’t we all want to go back and just be a kid sometimes?

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