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Vernon Grant; Snap, Crackle, Pop Creator

July 11, 1990|From Times Wire Services

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Vernon Grant, a longtime magazine and book illustrator and creator of the Kellogg's cereal characters Snap, Crackle and Pop, has died. He was 88.

Grant died Monday at a nursing home, where he had been for several weeks, officials said. He had been in declining health since breaking his hip several months ago, and was being treated for a lung infection.

Snap, Crackle and Pop are pixie-like characters with turned-up noses and pointed ears that have graced Rice Krispies boxes since the 1930s. Grant drew them after hearing a Rice Krispies jingle on the radio and took them to the N. W. Ayer agency in Philadelphia, which was handling the Kellogg's campaign. The agency snapped up the drawings, and Grant landed a job working for Kellogg's.

Over the next 10 years, the characters, which Grant referred to as "my children," earned him about $250,000.

But in the 1940s he lost his job with Kellogg's and a subsequent court battle over the rights to the characters, which could have made him a fortune.

Grant was born in Nebraska in 1902, but moved with his family to California when he was a teen-ager. He studied at USC and later at the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1932, a gnome figure he drew of Santa Claus landed on the cover of Ladies Home Journal and was a smashing success. He produced Snap, Crackle and Pop a year later.

Grant designed 187 magazine covers between the 1930s and 1950s, and also illustrated children's books and advertisements for Gillette, Hershey, Eveready, General Electric, Oscar Mayer, Wrigley's and Mennen.

"He was right up there with Norman Rockwell in the number of covers he designed," said Linda Williams, chairwoman of the Vernon Grant-Art Advisory Committee with the Museum of York County.

In 1947, Grant and his wife, Elizabeth, moved to her hometown of Rock Hill to raise their family and farm 600 acres. While living in South Carolina, he developed a strain of grass and became known for his conservation methods.

Grant is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

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