The candy bar is as American as apple pie and baseball. If you ask any red-blooded American what there favorite things to eat were growing up, you’re likely to hear candy bars in their reminiscing.
The candy bar has been around forever and each decade scores of new ones are added to the vast variety. So, it comes as no surprise that the candy business is a $5 billion dollar a year business. Amazing considering that when companies first began to mass market their nougat, caramel, chocolate, peanut creations in the 1950s the average candy bar was a…nickel!
I’m not sure you can even buy anything in America for a nickel anymore. If a penny candy store exists anywhere, maybe a single piece would cost a nickel. I don’t like the sound of a “nickel candy store.”
The candy bar has been around since the 1840s England believe it or not. A man named Joseph Fry put sugar and cocoa and formed it into the common shape we see so often today. A few years later a Quaker businessman who had been selling tea, coffee, and hot cocoa since the 1820s came along and jumped into the candy bar market. You might have heard of this guy…John Cadbury.
Both Cadbury and Fry would soon join forces and mass produce a few types of sweet concoctions, Cadbury launched his business into the stratosphere with the introduction of the Cadbury egg in 1875. By 1905 Cadbury had a production facility, the first of its kind in the burgeoning industry with names like Hershey, Nestle, Necco, Mars and Luden throwing their hats in the ring.
Every since then America’s has had a deep-seated love affair with the candy bar. Who doesn’t like to grab one for a quick snack, at a movie theater, or just to treat yourself?
Here are 5 Candy Bars from the 1970s and 1980s that have come and gone:
1. Marathon Bar
This large candy bar was promoted as “Nobody eats a Marathon fast!” because of its size, which is where it got its name. The candy bar was so large for the time that the wrapper had a ruler on the inside. If the size didn’t grab your attention, the bright red wrapper did.
If only the Mars company knew what was coming for America – super sizes, Double Gulps, and upsizing would become such an American way of life that car manufacturers would have to double their cup holders.
What stood out to me growing up was not just the size of the candy bar, but its “Swiss cheese” look. It was a wavy bar of milk chocolate drizzled in caramel and had lots of holes in it. A sneaky way to save money?
Sadly the bar would lose its popularity and be discontinued in 1981.
2. Reggie! Bar
The Reggie! bar made by Clark was clearly a way to draw in the kids – what boy didn’t play or watch baseball? Slap a popular sports figure like New York Yankees right fielder Reggie Jackson on the wrapper and it wouldn’t take long to have a best seller.
The “bar” would deviate from the traditional candy bat shape in that it was a patty. a patty covered in chocolate and peanuts with a caramel center.
And every kid would unwrap that patty and make poop jokes and we’d all laugh, chomp it down and perhaps actually play some baseball.
While it died out in 1982, Clark would try to revive it in the 90s with a peanut butter center instead of caramel, but it wasn’t enough and it died within a year.
3. PB Max
Another candy bar that strayed from the traditional shape but still called a candy “bar” was the PB Max. This wasn’t a “poop” patty but it was a large square bar. It did deviate from the standard ingredients of chocolate, peanuts, and caramel in that it was made of peanut butter and oats on a cookie base, then covered in milk chocolate.
When the bar first came out Mars company who manufactured them did not state what PB stood for in their commercials, a part of their marketing campaign. Mars company would have fun with that and produced commercials saying it meant various things like portly ballerina, penguin black-belt, plow boy, pure bliss, parachuting buffalo, or pink baboon.
Every kid would have a blast coming up with variations of what PB meant, some were rather crude. But what kid would want more than a delicious candy bar that came with a little fun? At one point the bar would leave its paper wrapper and be sold in a small box.
There are rumors that the company will begin making the discontinued bar again this year (2019).
This was my favorite on the list. First manufactured by Necco in 1938, it was marketed with a brilliant gimmick: you got four sections of caramel, vanilla, peanut and fudge all covered in chocolate. It was brilliant not just because you got such a variety in one bar, but because if you didn’t like one of the sections you could have fun and swap one out with a friend’s Sky Bar.
Unfortunately, Necco would close their doors in 2018 putting an end to one of the longest-running candy bars on the planet. There are also rumors that this candy bar will be revived this year (2019).
5. Seven Up
Trying to outdo Necco’s Sky Bar, in 1951 Pearson’s Candy produced two variants of their Seven Up bar in which had seven pillows or segments. One bar had mint, nougat, butterscotch, fudge, coconut, buttercream, caramel and the other had cherry, coconut, caramel, fudge, jelly, maple, and Brazil nut centers in each of its seven segments. It was like having the candy bar version of a Whitman’s Box of Assorted Chocolates. The bar would die out in 1979.
Which candy bar on this list was your favorite? Which one should have been on the list? Comment below or inbox us at firstname.lastname@example.org.