A few weeks ago I did a blog about my favorite pops of my childhood. I got to thinking over the past week of all the candy of my youth. There was so much out there that is now discontinued. I couldn't believe that there are sites that still sell some but the products are actually from my childhood and therefore unsafe for eating. Well here goes.
One of the worst things of all the candy choices we had as kids was that when I would go to the Kwik Trip, Kickapoo gas station or Ben Franklin, you had to buy the candy before you could try it. So you were risking buying something you didn't care for. But it all comes down to when you would go to that special aisle and your mouth would begin to water with the myriad of choices of sugary treats awaiting to be purchased with your allowance. Well what would happen if you were low on funds? Well then you would look at the bottom shelf for the cheap candy. Despite low prices, the quality and quantity was excellent thanks to Ferrara Pan.
AAAAHHHH FERRARA PAN IS HOW I SPELL HEAVEN!!!!!!!!!! I love this candy to this day although I am only able to find Boston Baked Beans and Lemonheads. I think that Atomic Fireballs are available but no longer in the old box but just individually wrapped candies. I did love Cherry Chan because of the mildly offensive box. This candy did not just provide sugary goodness but it also served a desire to make annoying sounds as a child. You could use the boxes as whistles by sealing your mouth over the end of the opened side and blowing through the sealed end. Those were the days, my neighbors and I had a garage Ferrara Pan box band. We were mostly a cover band. What I wouldn't give to have us all sit back in my garage blowing our box-whistles to the tune of "Living on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi...those truly were the days.
One of the best movie tie-in candies was during the summer between my 7th and 8th grade year of school. Jurassic Park had just hit the big screen and of course companies were looking for as many products to get kids' money. Raptor Bites were the obvious candy hit. There was also a candy for the other dinosaur featured in the movie called Dilophasaur Eggs but they were nasty. Raptor Bites were about the size of Nerds and were wild cherry flavored. See they were "wild" cherry flavored because obviously dinosaurs are wild. One of the drawing points for my friends and I were that they left a red dye in your mouth so it looked as if you had been drinking blood or were bleeding. When flag football season rolled around we had the bright idea to eat Raptor Bites before the game as a little psych-ops to make the other team believe we were out from blood. Well we ended up getting sick on the Bites and we lost the game and that was the last time Raptor Bites appeared at our football games.
I couldn't find a picture but one craptacular gum from my childhood was Dr. Pepper gum. When you bit in the first chew you got a little squirt of Dr. Pepper syrup. The flavor lasted all of a minute or two before you had to spit out the gum because of its repulsive non-taste. I was just reminded that there were similar pop gums featuring 7-UP and A&W Root Beer. I thought they had left pop out of candy but was mildly surprised during a visit to Target a few years ago and saw Dr. Pepper flavored lip gloss. I was also repulsed to see Dr. Pepper flavored beef jerky. Dr. Pepper should limit his practice to treating only thirst and prescribing his tasty concoction to quench said thirst.
Warheads were extremely sour candies initially and then once the sour coating was sucked they because a tasty treat. One of the tests of manhood in my neighborhood was to see how many Warheads one could put in their mouth without crying or spitting them out. There was another test of seeing how many jawbreakers one could break in their mouth with one bite, I had to bow out of these competitions after I chipped a couple of teeth in a contest. The true test of manliness was when we would up the ante by combing Warheads with Atomic Fireballs. I wish that was the test of manliness in New Ulm instead of how much beer one can drink or what brand of snowmobile one drives.
Quite simply, Big League Chew was one of my favorite bubble gums as a child. I thought it was cool because it came in a pouch and watching baseball players stuffing something shredded in their mouths that came from pouches made me feel like I was just one minor step away from the big leagues. Yeah the baseball part of getting into Major League Baseball but that would work itself out while I chewed Big League chew like a major leaguer chewed tobacco. My grandfather ruined my childhood dream when he told me they weren't chewing gum and he gave me some of his chewing tobacco and I got sick. So I figured no more MLB for me. I have not seen this product in years and have been lead to believe that it has been taken off the market due to its tobacco like appearance.
After Big League Chew, Bazooka Joe was another good gum. See with Bazooka Joe it was also a collectible. They came with little comics on the inside of the wrapper. I stopped chewing Bazooka Joe when I realized I didn't understand half the jokes because they were still running the same comics as they did when my dad chewed Bazooka Joe.
Bubble Tape...I still remember the slogan...6 Feet of Gum for You Not Them. We actually measured the gum to make sure we got an actual 6 feet of gum. Besides the Dr. Pepper gum mentioned earlier this gum lost its flavor quite quickly. I guess the makers were more concerned with the length rather than the quality...I won't make any other comments.
Mr. Bones Coffin Candy was one of the Holy Grails of the candy empire. It was elusive to us as kids and usually only available at Halloween. The with this candy wasn't simply eating it but you could put together the skeleton and each section of bone was a different flavor. A puzzle and candy...wow why don't they make stuff like this anymore?
Fun Dip was another candy that we considered to be the Holiest of the Holies. Pure sugar...check...candy stick for dipping into sugar...check...Hyperactivity due to amount of sugar intake...CHECK. I can't believe that this is still on the market or was even sold for that matter. They wouldn't sell Surge and Jolt because of sugar content and caffeine content respectively but somehow Fun Dip remained on the shelves. My friends and I would forgo the traditional form of eating and eat the stick all at once and then dump the sugar into a can of 7-Up or Slice or we would just dump all the sugar into our mouth and let it slowly dissolve and carry us away into sugar oblivion.
Hot Dog Gum...yes hot dog shaped gum...too bad it didn't taste like hot dogs but some sweet cinnamon flavor made in hell. I guess hot dogs were originally called red hots so it all makes sense.
I think Ring Pops made me make a fool of myself on numerous occasions. See it wasn't uncommon for boys to by a ring pop and get down on one knee and profess undying love for a girl. Well I remember once hearing, "That's candy, stupid, it doesn't have a diamond." I think that particular girl is married to a guy in his 70s. I also remember a candy like Ring Pops. It attached to your thumb and was called a Thumb Sucker. The rubber covering over the candy lead to some unsafe practices in my small town but I won't get into that here.
I probably would have had better luck with the girls and candy if I had simply just given them candy lipstick. I never ate it but just knew it was a girls only candy because what boy would buy lipstick even if it was in candy form.
Sixlets...M&M's bastard step child. Candy coated balls of chocolate in little wrappers reminiscent of Smarties. I think we stayed away from this candy because we knew that whatever company was producing it was just phoning it in.
Lotsa Fizz were small discs of candy that were filled with a powder that when mixed with liquid became a foaming nightmare. I remember pretending to have rabies after eating these candies. It was also amusing just ti split one open and dump the powder into a carbonated drink thus making a green apple Coke or Cherry 7-Up. So maybe I was a precocious bartender.
Pop Rocks....who didn't enjoy these as kids? They popped in your mouth and sometime if you left your mouth open they would escape. It was like candy Mexican jumping beans with out the bean or the nasty little worm inside. Of course the urban legend of the demise of Mikey, the Life Cereal kid, stunned us but provided a new dare among us kids. We ate Pop Rocks and washed them down with a Coke plenty of times and we didn't need the Mythbusters to tell us otherwise. These are thankfully still on the market.
Candy cigarettes, how little did I know ye...taken off the shelves nationwide because supposedly they were being marketed to kids as a way to get them to smoke real cigarettes. I didn't need candy to tell me I needed to smoke to be cool, that was the work of Joe Camel. I do think that the packaging on candy cigarettes looked very similar to the real deal. They were nothing more than a stick of peppermint candy. The last variety of candy cigarettes had a candy powder that one could blow out of the candy to make the look of smoke. Really, they weren't supposed to get kids to start smoking?
Bottle Caps were much like Lotsa Fizz but they were just chalky discs. It shouldn't have been a surprise that they were so chalky since they were originally made by the company that makes Smarties. Bottle Caps came in pop flavors such as root beer, cherry, grape, orange, and cola. I had so many complaints about this candy but I still ate it. The root beer tasted nothing like root beer and was way too sweet. The grape and cola caps were too similar in color and this lead to problems when I tried to make a cherry cola combo. Grape and cherry chalk in my mouth was nasty. The last time I bought a box of Bottle Caps, I ended up grinding them and mixing the flavors in a vodka but it didn't work quite as well as my skittles vodka. Bottle Caps had interesting packing over the years. When I was introduced to them, they came in a packet much like the Fun Dip and then to ride the wave of the popularity of rolled candy, they came in rolls but now I can only find them in boxes.
Spree may have been the most important candy of my youth. I would load up at the Kwik Trip which doubled as my bus stop. I can't remember the price but I think a roll was around 50 cents. The green ones were the most valuable because we had it in our hormonally challenged minds that green Spree made you horny. It was like Viagra for those going through puberty. Let's just say I was a Spree pusher and sometimes when I sold those green Spree to the girls in my class, recess was loads of fun. I can't find the rolls any longer but they come in a box. Another thing that disappoints me about the current state of Spree is that they made them much smaller.
OK I have more candy but I can't find pictures. It involves different kinds of Lifesavers. My favorite kind of Lifesaver was the Clove flavored. Can't find it anymore and I believe it was one of the original 5 flavors but taken out and just sold as packs of Clove flavored. There was also Tangerine flavored packs of Lifesavers (had a much sweeter and tangier taste than the orange flavored Lifesavers) as well as a line of Sour Lifesavers and my mom is trying to tell me of a Chocolate Lifesaver I used to eat as a kid but I can't remember...see all the sugar has rotted my brain. If there are any kinds that I didn't cover that were your favorites feel free to drop me a line.