One of the best parts of growing up in the 50’s and 60’s were eating all the new, diverse and fun treats and candies that were available. Remember, those were the days before parents knew what all that sugar did to their kids’ teeth or health in general. Even though we do now, who doesn’t remember the taste of their favorite childhood candy? Here are 10 of the most popular Boomer kids’ candy-picks and some interesting trivia about them. Which was your favorite?
1. PEZ. Even though PEZ candies and their interesting dispensers were popular with most kids in the late 50’s through 60’s then became a kind of “cult candy” in decades to follow, the candy itself goes back to 1927 Austria. The name PEZ comes from the German word for peppermint “pfefferminz”.
Character-themed dispensers were created in the 1950s to grab the child audience – Popeye being the first licensed character, along with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and others to follow. In 2008, a chocolate flavor was added, and a special 70-year Wizard of Oz commemorative dispenser was released in 2009. In 2013, Pez candies have diversified with Hot Wheels pull offs atop dispensers, special holiday and theme (Barbie, Star Trek, KISS) sets.
2. Good N’ Plenty. Who could forget those animated Choo-Choo Charlie Good N’Plenty commercials on television? They capitalized on the distinctive “chugging” noise a little box of the pink and white-sugar coated, black licorice, cylindrical candies made when you shook the box back and forth.
Good N’ Plenty is the oldest, branded candy in the U.S. and is now owned by the Hershey Foods company. Good N’ Plenty’s are still sold today. Modern microwave technology now can “revive” stale candies by zapping them for about 18 seconds. As the commercial went, “Charlie says, Love my Good N’Plenty, don’t know any other candy that I love so well.”
3. PayDay. Another kid’s favorite of the late 50’s through 60’s. These salty/sweet caramel nut bars were created back in 1938 by the F.A. Martoccio Candy Company. There have been several variations on the basic “nut roll” candy bar, including a Honey Nut flavor, a high-protein version, and a chocolate version. In a 1989 promotion, PayDay bars included an individually wrapped nickel. The bars are still around today as favorites of kids and adults alike.
4. Wax Lips. Originally made by the American Candy Company, these cherry-flavored, red wax lips were loved by kids throughout the 50’s and 60’s. Kids today can still enjoy this novelty as in 2002, Concord Confections obtained the patent to the original, proprietary design.
5. Bazooka BubbleGum. How many baseball cards did you collect out of your Bazooka Bubble Gum packages? One of the true “Boomer” packaged bubble gums, born right after World War II by the Topps Company, Bazooka, and its legendary little comics, was the best-selling gum in America. Packaged in patriotic red, white and blue wrappers, in 1953, Bazooka started containing collectible baseball cards. These collections can still be seen at auctions today.
6. Fizzies. What kid didn’t love Fizzies? They were fun to create and fun to drink. You got a packet of multiple flavored tablets, including cherry and root beer. You dropped a tablet into water then drank it. At least that’s what you were supposed to do with them, yet, a lot of kids liked to just put the tablet in their mouth to feel the fizz on their tongue. Today, Fizzies have added a little nutrition to their previously empty sugar calories. They now contain 100% RDA of Vitamin C in each serving and offer even more flavors, including the old classics.
7. Wax Bottles. “Nik-L-Nips” as they were properly named, and just as popular as wax lips, these little wax “pop” bottles were favorites of 50’s-60’s kids everywhere. Yet, they were really created back around the turn of the 20th century in 1900. They were little wax, soda-designed, bottles that had a burst of flavored syrup inside. You bit, or “nipped” off the top, sucked out the syrup and then chewed the waxy bottle like bubble gum. You can still buy “wax bottles” as a retro candy on the internet and in specialty stores.
8. Fruit Stripe Gum. Yikes, Stripes, Beech-Nut’s Got ‘Em! Remember that ad for this chewing gum that started back in 1960? The “Five Flavor Gum” were pieces of chewing gum striped with different colors that gave a burst of strong, then fleeting, tart flavors like lemon, lime, cherry, orange, peach, grape, mixed fruit, cotton candy, etc. Beech-Nut was taken over by the Farley and Sathers Candy Company in 2003, but Fruit Stipe Gum is still available on the market today. Over $100,000 in proceeds from Fruit Stripe Gum were recently donated to the World Wildlife Fund.
9. Candy Cigarettes. What 50’s-60’s boy didn’t want to think he was cool, like popular movie stars Jimmy Dean and John Wayne, with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth? Even girls pretended to demurely puff on a cigarette like female movie legends, Susan Hayward or Grace Kelly, who smoked on screen.
That was before we all knew what kind of health dangers cigarettes posed, but as kids we had fun mimicking adults with our little white candy cigarettes with the red tip (for the burning end). Critics claimed that candy cigarettes desensitized kids to cigarettes and caused them to become smokers later in life. Candy cigarettes were actually banned in several countries and some U.S. states for that reason. Candy “cigarettes” are still on the market today, but called candy sticks without their signature fiery red tip.
10. Jaw Breakers. Remember those sour grape, or sugar-pink and blue, or confetti colored jawbreakers that you used to buy out of the gumball machine? Also called Gobstoppers, they were made by the Ferrara Pan Company. These balls of gum, wrapped with a hard candy shell, cracked when you bit into them, and then became bubble gum. Originally produced as 1” diameter balls, the size has increased over the years to a whopping 4” today. Some of today’s jaw breakers are often made in Mexico and are not quite the same formula. Ferrara Candy Company sells their original formula online – now called Jawbusters.
Baby Boomers Cravings of Childhood, http://voices.yahoo.com/baby-boomers-candy-cravings-their-childhood-1383613.html?cat=37