5 Things You Didn't Know About Lucky Charms

The beloved General Mills cereal has a charmed 50-plus-year history

A box of General Mills’ Lucky Charms

photo courtesy General Mills

It was inspired by circus peanuts
The cereal’s creator was experimenting with Cheerios and chopped-up bits of orange marshmallow peanuts, the developer’s favorite candy, inventing the first version of Lucky Charms. The original also contained unfrosted oat pieces much like Cheerios until the late ’60s.

The marshmallows change
The pink heart is the only remaining original marshmallow (also called “marbits”), but today’s cereal contains eight different shapes. The first new marshmallow, the blue diamond, was added in the mid ’70s and replaced roughly 20 years later by the blue moon.

GM went all out on promotions for Lucky Charms in the 1960s
with campaigns featuring Lucky the Leprechaun as the star in the Sunday paper, full color print advertisements, and Saturday morning commercials. Most of the advertising followed Lucky traveling the world and even starting his own farm.

Lucky used to have quite the green thumb
In the early ’80s, kids could send away for Lucky’s farming kit and grow their own crops. And while Lucky is primarily associated with St. Patrick’s Day, for a couple years in the ’90s, kids could send in their box tops from cartons with special edition green tree marshmallows to receive a free Christmas tree seedling.

Lucky was briefly replaced in 1975
Waldo the Wizard, a helpful but scatterbrained magician, was created for a cereal that never hit the market, and instead graced Lucky Charm boxes for only a matter of months when Lucky was thought to be not friendly enough.