A cereal imposter: Is Cap’n Crunch really a captain?
June 20th, 2013
04:00 PM ET

A cereal imposter: Is Cap’n Crunch really a captain?

By Dan Merica

Another case of stolen valor?

After over 50 years of reported service, the U.S. Navy said Wednesday that Cap’n Crunch, one of the Navy’s most recognizable captains, has no record of service with the military branch.

A number of blogs noticed this week that the jolly, cereal selling caricature who has graced the front of Cap’n Crunch boxes since 1963 was actually wearing a commander’s uniform, the rank below a captain. The U.S. Navy uses bars on a uniform’s cuff to signify the rank of the person wearing the uniform. Cap’n Crunch’s uniform has only three bars – the sign of a commander – not four bars – the sign of a captain.

Blogs like Gawker and Consumerist recognized the missing bar and labeled Cap’n Crunch a liar.

“In other words, the Cap'n is nothing but a lousy Commander,” Neetzan Zimmerman of Gawker wrote. “Our entire cereal-eating lives could be based on a lie because of one little yellow stripe,” wrote Mary Beth Quirk of Consumerist.

The U.S. Navy played along, tweeting that Cap’n Crunch “appears to wear #USNavy commander rank.”

“We take it quite seriously,” said Lt. Commander Chris Servello, spokesman for the U.S. Navy, with a laugh. “We looked into this, we looked into our rolls to see if one Captain Crunch or Cap’n Crunch ever served in the Navy. And we had no record of that, so we passed that along to NCIS to see what action needed to taken next.”

With his record and valor being challenged, the captain (can we even call him that anymore?) did what any other captain would do – took to Twitter.

“Regarding today's rumors... of course I'm a Cap'n! It's the Crunch – not the clothes – that make a man. #PaidMyDues,” @RealCapnCrunch tweeted on June 14.

“All rumors, friends – I run an entire vessel with my crew! Case closed. #OfficialCapn,” he tweeted earlier this week.

And last night, Cap’n Crunch called for his supporters to stand with him.

“All hands on deck @USNavy, @ColbertReport Nation & Crunch Nation: I shall not rest until the truthiness comes out… stand by. #CrunchJustice,” he tweeted.

His defense, however, appeared to be broadsided by the overwhelming outrage people expressed about being duped.


Cap’n Crunch’s full name is Horatio Magellan Crunch, according to his official bio with the Quaker Oats Company. Jay Ward, the creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right and George of the Jungle, created him in 1963.

Hailing from Crunch Island, Cap’n Crunch lives and commands the boat S.S. Guppy, according to his bio. Although Cap’n Crunch started as cereal box character, he and his nemesis Jean LaFoote starred in his own animated series, “The Mystery of Crunch Island.” According to his bio, the captain has been lost at sea since 1985.

After saying they take this case very seriously, the Navy said this may be another case of “stolen valor,” where someone wears medals or a uniform that they have not earned. The punishment for impersonating a military officer: six months in jail.

No word, yet, on why Cap’n Crunch’s eyebrows are on his captains hat.

Filed under: Navy
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  26. In home personal training

    I to feel like i was lied to. Captain how dare you! This was a great read. Im glad to see people took time out of their day to have some fun with it.

    April 9, 2014 at 7:58 am | Reply
    • kev

      You don't have to have a Captains rank to be a Captain of a ship. Just have to be the highest ranking officer on the ship. I was in the Navy and our Captain was a Commander just like Cap'n Crunch.

      April 15, 2014 at 10:30 am | Reply
      • Name*FC2 Radford

        Any officer commanding any US Navy ship is referred to as Captain irregardless if he is just an ensign or a c p o the highest ranking person on that ship is referred to as Captain check your Navy regulations

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  28. Scott

    1. He is from Crunch Island, not the USA.
    2. The Person in charge of the ship regardless of rank is often referred to as the Captain.
    3. Not All countries us the same strip system as the US.
    4. His ship is the S.S. Guppy – Not USS or USNS So again not ours.

    Capt. Crunch is a foreigner whom happens to have fame in the USA. (Understandably, Crunch Island is just as real as the Capt.)

    June 27, 2013 at 8:09 am | Reply
  29. Rooney

    The Captain is from Crunch Island... so maybe the reason he's not listed in the US Navy's rolls is because he's not part of the US Navy. I know this will come as a shock, but the US isn't the only country to have a Navy! Maybe he's a Captain in the glorious Crunch Island Navy!

    June 26, 2013 at 4:05 am | Reply
  30. James

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    June 26, 2013 at 3:58 am | Reply
  31. huskee

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    June 24, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Reply
  32. will

    It's no mystery to me... obviously the poor commander is the one being ordered to eat that crap...

    June 22, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Reply
  33. marushka2555

    hold the phone.... who said cap n crunch was in the is navy - is crunch island a us territory? Maybe they have a different system on crunch island and the insignias are valid. did anyone think of that?

    June 22, 2013 at 10:08 am | Reply
  34. gary

    I believe in the Captain!. I grew up on him. But it reminds me of the 1st time i saw Capt Kangeroo on Color TV when i was 18 in 1975....and in the Air Force. Mr. Greenjeans was called that beccause he wore Green Jeans. Duh! who'da thunk it....

    June 21, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Reply
  35. gary

    I believe in the Captain!. I grew up on him. But it reminds me of the 1st time i saw Capt Kangeroo on Color TV when i was 18 in 1975....and in the Air Force. Mr. Greenjeans was called that beccause he work Green Jeans. Duh! who'da thunk it....

    June 21, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Reply
  36. Keith T. Maxwell

    I just checked "Captain" Kangaroo's jacket. Another imposter!! Stop the insanity! My whole childhood was one big lie!

    June 21, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Reply
  37. Navyvet8192

    Cap'n Crunch was busted for conduct unbecoming of an officer for what Count Chocula saw him doing when he paid for Trix with Fruity Pebbles, while going cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. He also was accused of trying to get the Leprechaun's Lucky Charms, but to keep it quiet, he used his Chex to make that allegation go away.

    June 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Reply
    • Keith T. Maxwell

      Well done!!

      June 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Reply
  38. Wildone

    Tasted more like Captain Crud to me. ("I'm coo coo for Cocoa Puffs!!)

    June 21, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Reply
  39. Cnl. Angus

    The Captain says we can't get away with the crunch, and now he can't get away with the commander's bars.
    Are we sure he's not actually a pirate in disguise?

    June 21, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  40. Kevin

    This is a silly story and I hesitate to call it news, and the bloggers and twitter feeds are of no value, but it's cute to see the Navy get in on the fun. I smiled.

    June 21, 2013 at 11:20 am | Reply
  41. oh please

    "captain" is not just a rank, it is the term given to whoever is in command of the "ship". Majority of US Navy vessels, such as "small boy" frigates, cruisers, destroyers all have commanders as their "captains". You won't find true captain ranked personnel until you get to the L decks or carriers.

    June 21, 2013 at 10:56 am | Reply
    • Dennis

      Case in point, when I was stationed aboard submarines, all of my commanding officers were Commanders save one. And we called all of them Captain.

      June 21, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  42. GOPtard

    But somehow the GOP will say that it's a "scandal" because Obama might have, possibly, almost certainly, knew someone that may have know about this.

    June 21, 2013 at 10:14 am | Reply
  43. frank223

    Just advertising posing as news. CNN is paying reporters so little now, they don't know the difference.

    June 21, 2013 at 9:47 am | Reply
  44. David

    I care less about those name Who care?

    June 21, 2013 at 9:47 am | Reply
  45. Mark

    I spent 6 years in the US Navy, 4.5 of which were on a Frigate. The Frigates are small, so the "Captain" of the ship was actually a Commander, not a full Captian. We called him Captain, not Commander.

    June 21, 2013 at 8:27 am | Reply
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      One of the more famous examples was William Bligh. He was officially a Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Navy when he was appointed "Captain" of the HMS Bounty. This was because he held "command" as a Lieutenant. Therefore Horatio Magellan Crunch can be referred to as Captain as long as he maintains command of the Good Ship Guppy.

      June 21, 2013 at 9:33 am | Reply
  46. StanCalif

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    June 21, 2013 at 8:14 am | Reply
  47. FayKname

    Capn Crunch wouldn't still be missing if they had just listened to Alex P Keaton and checked under that bus in Cleveland.

    June 21, 2013 at 6:17 am | Reply
  48. Jomama

    “Cap'n” Crunch instead of ”Captain.” Just another anomaly. Whats with the Crunch Berry Beast ? Must be more of Bill Scotts Idea.

    June 21, 2013 at 5:41 am | Reply
  49. apstar

    There is something seriously wrong with his record if he's been in the navy for 50 years and has not advanced in rank that entire time. NCIS definitely needs to investigate - it's not even possible to be on active duty for 50 years! Plus no record of his being commissioned? At lest, he should retire, at best give the man a fourth stripe, at worst throw him in the brig for being a fraud and an imposter. And by all means, if nothing else, send him to a barber to get those eyebrows taken care of.

    June 21, 2013 at 4:19 am | Reply
  50. Jay Ward

    A good cartoon character artist shortens & exaggerates things by drawing impressions which are notoriously inaccurate. Notice HOW MANY FINGERS Does the Captain have? Only three, so see my point! So it doesn’t matter how many strips the captain is drawn with, it’s only an impression. Just because the captain has only three fingers, doesn’t mean that he has no hands. Once a captain always a captain, right Seadog? This ‘cartoon character’ was created for children.

    June 21, 2013 at 4:13 am | Reply
    • apstar

      How would _you_ like your fourth stripe being removed, not to mention two fingers from each hand?!

      June 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Reply
      • Jay Ward

        Just call me Pegleg

        July 1, 2014 at 8:42 am |
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  54. Aleax

    It is customary in the navy to call the highest ranking officer of a navy vessel the "Captain of the ship." So he is Capt. Crunch if we can find his ship.

    June 21, 2013 at 1:36 am | Reply
    • apstar

      In the immortal words of Commodore James Norrinton to Captain Jack Sparrow (with emphasis on the word 'captain'), "I don't see your ship, Captain." Sparrow: "I'm in the market, as it were." 🙂

      June 21, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  55. JOE B

    Neetzan Zimmerman of Gawker and Mary Beth Quirk of Consumerist need to get a life. Same with CNN for reporting this.

    June 21, 2013 at 1:28 am | Reply
  56. Nimrod

    Actually, any naval officer that is in command of a vessel is addressed as captain, so even a commander can be a captain.

    June 21, 2013 at 1:15 am | Reply
  57. JJ

    There is a simple explanation for this - he received a wartime promotion from Admiral Amalgam of the 6th Cavity Fleet in the heat of battle with more nutritious breakfasts. He and his crew won, of course, but the records were lost in an ocean of sugar water...

    June 21, 2013 at 1:09 am | Reply
  58. Christof

    The commanding officer of a ship is called "captain" regardless of their rank. This is true for all US Navy and Coast Guard ships. In the US Coast Guard, it is not uncommon for a Lieutenant O-3 to have command of a ship. It is also not uncommon to have a commander 0-5 as captain of a naval vessel.

    June 21, 2013 at 1:02 am | Reply
  59. bc78

    WTH? Slow news day?

    June 21, 2013 at 1:02 am | Reply
  60. Chip

    Tune in tomorrow when CNN trashes Captain Kangaroo.

    June 20, 2013 at 11:59 pm | Reply
  61. LT H

    Actually, there are plenty of CDRs in the Navy called "Captain". O-5s (CDRs) that are commanding officers are still called "Captain". So maybe he was the Captain of a ship!!

    June 20, 2013 at 11:58 pm | Reply
  62. Corbin Dallas

    Any word on what happened to his pinkies?

    June 20, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Reply
  63. Burkhale

    Actually, a US Navy captain's sleeve insignia was three stripes to at least March 1869. In May it was changed to four stripes. I don't think that goofy hat was part a modern navy uniform!

    June 20, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Reply
  64. Dan

    He had to be an officer .….… no one would buy a cereal named seaman crunch.
    I remember when he was an ensign on my first boat.

    June 20, 2013 at 11:19 pm | Reply
    • Jam One

      "seaman crunch" – just brilliant.

      June 21, 2013 at 1:10 am | Reply
  65. Joe

    Jesus Christ, people. It's a cartoon. The bloggers who picked it out are jokes, CNN is a joke for writing the story, those who are writing serious details responses are jokes, the Navy is a joke for answering it....good grief is this the height of mankind's intellectual curiosity that we all banter and debate a cartoon character? What's next...Bugs Bunny hasn't got the right number of whiskers? Holy s**t. Where's the Tylenol?

    June 20, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Reply

    I'ts really interesting how nobody has anything better to do than pick apart Breakfast Cereal cartoons.. Read a Book or go for a walk... Nobody's worried about bringing our jobs home so we can go back to work and be productive... UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – BORN JULY 4th 1776 – DIED JAN 20th 2009

    June 20, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Reply
    • CW

      ....and yet here you are.

      June 20, 2013 at 11:54 pm | Reply
    • Ruby

      Dude, lighten up, it's okay, really it is, to have a bit of fun with something like this. I'm delighted that even the Navy joined in to the fun.

      June 21, 2013 at 12:09 am | Reply
  67. Naval Old Fart

    During the Civil War Federal those holding the rank Captain (same as Army Colonel) to May 1863 wore THREE Stripes!

    June 20, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Reply
  68. Tracy

    even if he's only a Commander, he could be addressed as Captain if he's in command of a ship.

    June 20, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Reply
  69. john

    I ate so much Cap'n Crunch when I was a boy that the roof of my mouth was continually bleeding, lol.

    June 20, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Reply
  70. john

    And I guess Count Chocula really isn't a Count then?


    No reason to live anymore.

    June 20, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Reply
  71. food

    Commander Crunch sounds way better anyway!

    June 20, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  72. CA

    "Commander Crunch" just doesn't have the same ring to it. A sad day indeed.

    June 20, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Reply
  73. Jim

    Crunch Island does not use the same insignia as the U.S. Navy.

    The bigger scandal is Captain Kangaroo.

    June 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Reply
  74. oneWayfarer

    IN FACT that is a Drawing on a Cereal Box

    June 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Reply
  75. Robert

    This is just another sad scandal in the cereal world.
    Last week, Toucan Sam confessed he that is just a raven with a nose job.

    June 20, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Reply
  76. glen

    my marriage was a sham

    June 20, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Reply
  77. smartaz

    what the %#! is this?

    June 20, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  78. Exsquid

    Any naval office commanding a ship or vessel is called Captain. Nothing better to have a fit over? Really???

    June 20, 2013 at 9:26 pm | Reply
    • sybaris

      Only landlubbing wogs should worry themselves so

      June 20, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Reply
  79. USMC70114

    Quaker should just promote him from Commander and be done with it. And yeah, a Commander in command of a vessel is referred to as 'Captain'.

    June 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Reply
  80. achepotle

    They are also saying now that Jesus wasn't real.

    June 20, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  81. ready

    A commander can be captain of a ship and then he would be called a captain. A commander can be captain of a destroyer

    June 20, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Reply
  82. Michael M

    As a U.S. Navy Vet (1969 – 1973) I was stationed on the Arnold J. Isbell (DD869) and our first Captain (1970) was a Commander (3 Sleeve Stripes) like Cap'n Crunch – as long as he held he position of sitting captain on an active duty ship, he is officially a "Captain" and is addressed as such (by both enlisted and officers alike). Once relieved or transferred from command, the officer reverts to his official rank as "Commander".

    CNN there is nothing to see here... move along...

    June 20, 2013 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  83. Bob

    had he worn the proper uniform he would have been charged with impersonating an Officer..

    June 20, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Reply
  84. Hapsberg Prince

    Those three gold bars designate the rank of Captain in the Crunch Berry navy.

    June 20, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Reply
  85. JB

    That's just a early photo of him. I heard he made Admiral.

    June 20, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Reply
  86. jeff

    Give it a rest CNN...enough with the obesity issues and trying to bully people by saying...ok...if we can't make you understand eating junk cereal is bad for you and bad for Obamacare....we will just tell you that the Captain wasn't really a Captain...maybe now you will stop eating junk.

    June 20, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Reply
  87. Caveman Lawyer

    So then Jesse is not really a Captain either?

    June 20, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Reply
  88. Jack Sparrow

    his high coat collar and hat worn athwart ship indicates he is a Napoleanic era captain. in this case the 2 shoulder boards indicates he is a captain. Commanders of that era only wore one shoulder board and commanded brigs or smaller. Is his vessel rigged ship wise with 3 masts square rigged? then he is a captain indeed

    June 20, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Reply
  89. CMc

    I am a 10 year Navy vet and my first command, which was a Navy warship, did in fact have a Navy COMMANDER as its captain. So, that being said, a Navy COMMANDER can still be a Captain.

    June 20, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  90. db

    Oh give it a rest. I'm still going to eat this cereal. Even it it's officially PROVEN that he isn't a captain I will still eat it because I like the taste.

    June 20, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Reply
    • Luposian

      I like the taste of Cap'n Crunch, but I *HATE* what it does to the roof of my mouth! I much prefer Peanut Butter Crunch for this reason. And Reese's cereal is simply the BEST! commenting on his eyebrows is one thing, but look at his eyes! They're in front of his hat! Aren't they awfully dried out by now, stuck out like that? Or maybe he had them replaced with artificial eyes... like those on dolls and such? Hmm...

      June 20, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Reply
      • db

        He looks like a cartoon captain to me so his eyes probably don't dry out because they aren't made of real human eye material.

        June 20, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
  91. Pedant Wars

    You're wrong!
    No you're wrong!
    Ad infinitum.

    June 20, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Reply
  92. Old Navy

    the Cap'n is in his rights... as i remember i got a boat with my cereal some 40 years ago in which he was purportedly in command thereof. Going back hundreds of years in both British Royal and US Navies any officer of any rank who commanded a vessel was referred to as CAPTAIN while associated as the commander of that vessel. Clearly he appears to be an office of the BLUE....

    June 20, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Reply
    • Marcus

      If the commanding officer of a vessel is not a Captain he traditionally is referred to as "skipper". Captain crunch is a charlatan and his cereal cuts up your gums like you're eating glass!!

      June 20, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Reply
    • Salt

      I salute you brother, I was on DD687 in the 60s. Interesting times they were.

      June 21, 2013 at 12:17 am | Reply
  93. Bored

    The original crew is not navy ! Alfie, Brunhilde, Carlyle and Dave, as well as the canine Sea Dog, who sailed with the Cap'n on his ship

    June 20, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  94. Jomama

    Its those background checks!

    June 20, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Reply
  95. Yes, I Read

    CNN, what happened to you? Poop cruises? Embracing the lunatic fringe political parties? That morning show producer just doesn't get it, does he? This is not news. NSA is news, but not the whistleblower. Bank of America whitleblowers are news; that's the newsiest news right now. Do your job. You were once a public trust.

    June 20, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Reply
    • USMC1371

      Anything to keep from telling you the truth about what the Obama Whitehouse is doing.

      June 20, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Reply
      • KARL MARX

        O'BAMA !!

        June 20, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
      • ready

        you realize this is an internet site, where EVERYTHING is reported including humor.

        Calm down racist old man

        June 20, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • Marcus


      June 20, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Reply
    • Cnl. Angus

      Can you say "stick in the mud?"

      June 21, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Reply
  96. California

    CNN is a very sad news source.

    June 20, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Reply
    • Jeff

      It's not news. It's "infotainment".

      June 21, 2013 at 1:56 am | Reply
      • Jay Ward

        its spelled 'Irritatainment'

        July 1, 2014 at 8:44 am |
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