Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Shredded Wheat breakfasts with Straight Arrow!

by Larry Miller
Most followers of Dawes County Journal are likely old enough to remember "Straight Arrow," a radio show that became so popular that in 1949, the sponsor of the program, Nabisco Shredded Wheat, began producing Straight Arrow cards that would fit in their cereal boxes.  The cards separated the layers of biscuits and were inscribed with Injun-uities – a wide ranging collection of Straight Arrow tips ranging from Poisonous Snake Recognition to Finding Your Way in the Wilderness, and an abundance of other topics.
Pre-teen youth and older used to explore the hills and countryside of Dawes County.  Chadron kids would often find adventure just to the south of the college, near C Hill or a cave farther south and east, which some of us dubbed Blue Rock Cave.  Another popular site, especially for climbing, was King's Chair, which was perhaps a half-mile east of C Hill.  It required only a little bit of size and skill to climb up on top of the huge rock – probably of sandstone – and gaze northward to Chadron and beyond.  Having not re-visited those hills in some 60 years or so, I don't believe King's Chair any longer exists.  Another story!
Crawford youngsters had even more wooded hills practically surrounding the entire town, and I suspect more than just a few adventurers – young and old alike – have expored Lover's Leap, Crow Butte (Note: Check out Justin Haag's Panhandle Afield at the top of this page), and the many other fantastic places that make the Crawford-Fort Robinson area a favorite tourist attraction.
The Straight Arrow radio character was owned solely by Nabisco, which sponsored the show.  He reportedly was an orphaned Native American boy who'd been raised by a ranching family named Adams.  After the lad became aware of his Indian heritage, he adopted the identity and name Straight Arrow and used his skills to "do good and help the unfortunate."  
The radio show was so popular that Straight Arrow was soon a comic book character, too.
I must confess that I don't remember much about the radio programs – or Straight Arrow comic books.  But I certainly remember reading the Straight Arrow cards, while eating a bowl of Nabisco Shredded Wheat for breakfast!
Interestingly, Straight Arrow cards were produced for U.S. and Canadian residents.  In fact, many of the cards were produced  for French-speaking residents of Canada.   
The Straight Arrow cards have been a popular collectors item, too, but I hadn't seen one for a good half century, until a few were donated to the High Plains Western Heritage Center in Belle Fourche.
It was like seeing an old friend!