Cartoon Black History: Count Chocula
Today is my birthday so it’s no better time than now to praise one of my idols. They call Elvis the king of rock. But the influence black people had on his music and persona is unquestionable… dare I call it thievery? Same goes for that swagger jacker, Willy Wonka. He wouldn’t know his cocoa bean from his cocoa butter if not for this trailblazer.
Look at that picture! Count Chocula’s legend is so great that, much like Cleopatra, they’ve tried to lighten him up over the years. Anyway, back to CC. His career started by doing comedy party records as Jerry Jay Les. He was so good, he was asked to star in a blaxploitation movie called Count Chocula.
The critics hated it. One movie buff wrote “Sitting in that chair watching Count Chocula for two hours gave me rectal cancer.” That’s harsh. The audiences, on the other hand, left the theaters in hysterical fits of laughter. It was an instant cult classic. How much so?
Mmhmm, that much! The money poured in. Count Chocula decided to capitalize on his big screen victory. His foresight was spectacular. Naturally, the film was called Count Chocula because of his skin. But Jerry made the Chocula be about the chocolate. What a great idea.
Count Chocula made a cereal made of 98% cacao bittersweet chocolate, chocolate covered marshmallows and absolutely NO nutritional value. Bored taste buds were cattle-prodded with excitement. Shelf space had to be cleared and even added to handle the supply/demand differential in all supermarkets. (Uncle Ben was a real dick about it)
Too bad his meteoric rise happened at a time when doctors thought cigarettes were candy. Jerry Jay Les knew everything about chocolate. But he and his caretakers knew nothing of diabetes. His body couldn’t handle the uncanny amounts of sugar and caffeine he consumed daily. But his death changed how the scourge of die-uh-bee-tus (Shout out to Wilford Brimley!) was handled by physicians. Only Count Chocula could continue to make strives from beyond the grave.