Seinfeld movie “Unfrosted” loosely based on longtime Glen Arbor resident, Pop-Tart man Bill Post


Photo: Dan Post, Jerry Seinfeld and Rachel DeYoung at the premier of Unfrosted this week.

From staff reports

Unfrosted, the comedic farce directed by Jerry Seinfeld which launched on Netflix Friday, has a Glen Arbor connection—sort of.

The film, which stars Seinfeld as well as Melissa McCarthy, Jim Gaffigan, Hugh Grand and Amy Schumer, is (very) loosely based on the true story of how the Pop-Tart toaster pastries were created in 1963 in Battle Creek, Michigan. Billed as a “tale of ambition, betrayal, sugar, and menacing milkmen,” Unfrosted features rival companies Kellogg and Post going to war with each other over cereal.

The real founder of Pop-Tarts was Bill Post, a former Keebler employee who Kellogg hired to beat a brand called “Country Squares,” which the rival company Post had unveiled but which weren’t yet ready for the marketplace. Pop-Tarts, which were initially called “Fruit Scones,” soon became fixtures on grocery shelves and households nationwide. The first shipment of Pop-Tarts sold out in two weeks, and Kellogg ran advertisements apologizing for the empty shelves. That savvy move increased demand.

Bill Post, a first-generation American of Dutch descent, grew up in Grand Rapids and moved to Glen Arbor in the early 1980s. His hopes of retiring at age 56 were dashed when Kellogg convinced him to launch Post Consulting and continue working for the company for at least five days a month—albeit comfortably from his home on Big Glen Lake. Bill and his wife Florence lived in Glen Arbor for 20 years, where they attended Glen Lake Community Reformed Church in Burdickville and enjoyed their cross-lake view of Alligator Hill. In 2003 they returned to Grand Rapids to live closer to family. Bill died on Feb. 10 at age 96; Florence passed in 2020.

“Glen Arbor is all I ever knew of vacations,” said their son, Dan Post. “As kids, our last two weeks of August were always dedicated to time on Glen Lake.”


Pop-Tart guinea pigs

Dan and his sister Rachel, then ages 13 and 9, were the first to try Bill’s Pop-Tarts.

“We were the guinea pigs,” Dan told the Sun. “My dad brought home samples every night for two weeks straight. At first, they tasted like cardboard, but got better and better. Then they added Smucker’s jelly, and by the end of two weeks they tasted pretty much the way they taste today.”

At the factory, Bill suggested to his co-workers that they run the Pop-Tarts through the icer and cover it with a new frosting that didn’t melt. The rest is history.

As a nod to Bill’s role in launching the Pop-Tart, Jerry Seinfeld’s team reached out to the Post family and invited them to Los Angeles for the film’s premier earlier this week. Dan traveled to California together with his 28-year-old granddaughter, Erica Terry, and Rachel (now DeYoung) made the trip with her husband. They stayed in Burbank, visited Santa Monica, and were given the royal treatment.


Happy birthday, Jerry

Unfrosted premiered Tuesday, April 30, at the newly renovated Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The Post family sat together with the actors and were given souvenirs including popcorn boxes featuring the cast, and Pop-Tarts, too, of course. Seinfeld’s birthday had been the previous day, so a giant birthday cake was unveiled onstage that was crafted to resemble a three-foot-long silver toaster holding a Pop-Tart.

Though a farcical spoof, Unfrosted included a few storylines that to Dan Post seemed inspired by real-life events. The movie features two little kids who love Pop-Tarts so much, they dive dumpsters to find them. Dan and Rachel, perhaps?

The Posts spent 3-4 minutes with Seinfeld, whom they found to be very gracious. Rachel presented the movie and TV star with Pop-Tart socks, and Dan gave him a commemorative Kellogg watch, which his father had never opened. They met other actors, too, and talked at length with Michael Richards, known best as the character Kramer in the show “Seinfeld,” about his forthcoming memoir, Entrances and Exits, which will publish next month.

“When my sister and I got this invitation [to see Unfrosted], I asked myself ‘What would Dad have done?’” Dan reflected. “He would have thought the movie was a great farce. He would have loved it, though he might not have caught every joke—because he was 96 years old.

“My Dad so thoroughly enjoyed this whole ride with Kellogg.”