#945 Spending all your money on candy

[digg=http://digg.com/food_drink/Nine_of_the_best_candies_of_all_time] Everyone’s got the candy of their generation, their neighborhood, and their tastes. What sugary delights sent young minds to greats heights when you were a kid? Well, let’s share. Here are some highlights from fourth grade:

Sizzles and pops

9. Lotsa Fizz. Also known by its more convenient nickname ‘Fizz’, these candies masqueraded as a regular ol’ hard candy, the kind you might find in a doctor’s office or a crystal dish in your grandma’s front foyer. Other than the snake-like packaging, linking individually-wrapped pieces together, there appeared to be nothing special about them. However, once you crunched into them, they released a tingly, carbonated bubble-liquid that sizzled and frothed on the tongue. A real advancement in the candy surprise effect. Good for a year or so

8. Massive, fist-sized Jawbreakers aka Dinosour Eggs. The big question here was who could fit these in all the way? Occasionally, a local big mouth would manage to squeeze it up in there, and then proceed to nearly suffocate while trying to simultaneously breathe and speed-suck the jawbreaker down to a smaller size with drool flying everywhere. It wasn’t pretty. You were actually watching them OD right in front of you. Of course, others would simply leave the giant jawbreaker on their night table and have a few licks before bedtime, spending a year or so patiently turning the smooth sphere it into a faded, rubbed-out rainbow of dried spit and sugar. Whatever you think about these things, they definitely came out on top of the Total Candy Minutes Per Dollar ranking.

7. Pez. Was it just me, or did Pez have a kind of weird taste? Don’t get me wrong — the dispenser alone was enough for some great memories, despite some questionable versions over the years.

Sour balls

6. Tear Jerkers aka Sour Balls. At the time, Tear Jerkers were a futuristic advancement in Artificial Souring Technology. They caused a massive sugar high epidemic at my grade school, with kids running over to the variety store at lunch to grab a new bag, daring each other to eat two or three at a time. The gum that remained after the sour powder was gone was always a wet, syrupy disappointment, and usually ended up in the trash to make more room in your mouth. But that sour powder packed a punch and it often left the insides of your cheeks all inflammed and torn up for the rest of the week. And of course, there was always the big question: who has the guts to eat the leftover patch of sour powder in the corner of the bag?

Don't break the stick!

5. Fun Dip aka Lik-M-Aid. Fun Dip was an entirely new way to eat your candy: Lick an edible candy stick and then use your own spit as glue to collect all the sugar-powder below. Well, it was a great long-lasting treat, as long as your stick didn’t come broken when you bought it. If that happened, you had to dive in with your wet finger instead. But you had to be careful, because it was that mark of the stained, purple finger that gave away why you weren’t hungry at dinner time. A lot of people would finish off by eating the actual stick itself for good measure which is sort of like eating your fork after finishing your pie.

4. Hot and Cold Nerds. Nerds was always a decent backup selection — it filled up the candy bag but was rarely the first pick. Sure, that little box of tiny, hard, asteroid-shaped candy offered two flavors in one box, but there was nothing too special about picking up Watermelon and Grape or Strawberry and Lemon. That is, until Nerds came out with the temperature-themed Hot and Cold Nerds box in the late 80s. Sure, maybe it was just bright, red cinnamon and bright, blue wintergreen, but it sure was fun alternatingly burning and freezing sensations in your mouth. Of course, there were always two kinds of Nerds kids — the slow, tantric, shake-it-in-your-hands-and-savor-it kids, and the minute men who instead preferred the all-in-one-go, head-tilt, box-shake manouver.

3. Bizarre Forms of Gum. Remember the glory days where gum came in so many different forms? There was baseball card gum, shattering and cutting the inside of your mouth like glass when you bit into it. There was Big League Chew, the shredded chewing tobacco gum. And of course there were Bubble Jugs, Bubble Tape, and even Bubble Gum Squeeze Tubes, which you pushed into your mouth like toothpaste, though with the exact opposite effect.

2. Pixy Stix. I always admired the straight-shooting style of Pixy Stix. Unlike the other candies, they didn’t dress up and pretend to be anything besides sugar. They were the real deal, straight up, just sugar in a straw. You want something gummy, sticky, sour, or chewy? Try the other guys. Now, if you want plain sugar, you’ve come to the right place. Available in regular size and occasionaly a Super Jumbo Straw version. Just be careful you don’t get dry-throat and gag on it when your brother pours a strawful down your throat.

Good luck kicking the habit

1. Popeye Cigarettes. These ones were the real deal, before they took off the red tip at the end and rebranded them as ‘Popeye’s Candy Sticks.’ Yes, after a dark, moody stint with the patch, Popeye managed to finally kick the habit. But good thing, or he probably wouldn’t be with us today.

Yes, finding and chowing down on some of the candies you grew up with is like sucking on sugary memories. Because how did it feel walking out of your local corner store with a wide smile pasted across your face, an empty wallet, and an armful full of candy?

I think we all know the answer to that.


Gateway drug to shotgunning a beer

Photos from: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

68 thoughts on “#945 Spending all your money on candy

  1. i need candy bubble gum, and taffy
    get in my way punk, you’re gonna get ya ass beat, nasty
    Do it till your dad sees, embarrass your family
    Just ’cause you came between a kid and his candy
    I need candy, any kind’ll do
    Don’t care if it’s nutritious or “FDA approved”
    It’s gonna make me spaz like bobcats on booze
    A hyperactive juice that only I can produce

  2. This list was great. What a rush of memories while reading through each one of those, captured to perfection. From the purple finger when your lick-a-maid stick broke, to daring each other to eat 3 tear jerkers at a time. Man – things were simpler back then… all you needed to be the happiest kid in town was 2 bucks in your pocket, and 10 minutes to mull over your decision at the corner store.

    My personal candy memory is going to the movie theater and getting the jumbo bag of sour patch kids. And despite all the pain that came along with it, I never learned my lesson. I swear, I didn’t see a movie between the ages of 10 and 15 when I didn’t come out with a tongue that was dripping blood, and the inability to eat properly for the next week. Oh, and I’d also always get a pack of twizlers to use as a straw with my (non-diet) soda. How on earth did I not weigh 200 pounds in 6th grade?

    Great post – AWESOME!

  3. Fun post! Definitely brought back lots of happy sugary memories. We also used to buy this type of “gum” that was made of different colours pressed into little disks , like if you made a new bar of soap by pressing together the remnants of other bars of soap. They were really shiny because they were actually coated in Shellac. It said “shellac” in the ingredients list. I forget what they were called, since we used to just call them “Shellac gums”. It was terrible gum, too. We just liked how pretty they looked.

    Oh, and does anyone remember “Choco-lotto” bars? Each bar contained a lottery-ticket-like stub that could win you another bar, or other candy-related rewards. I think sometimes you had to collect several stubs to get the free bar. We were totally hooked, until the product suddenly disappeared from store shelves. Gambling for kids. Awesome!

  4. Pop Rocks!!!

    I also love Fads which are the Australian version of Popye’s Candy Cigarettes. They used to have red ends and be called “Fags” before the P.C police got to them.

  5. Anyone ever remember the chocolate cigarettes? They came in packs with camels and such on them, looked almost real. My favourite part was puffing into them, a little cloud of white powder would come out. Made me feel all grown up!

  6. The very first power form gum I remember as a kid was called “Quicksand”. You poured it in your mouth and it turned into gum. It had a funny comic character on the front of the pouch.

    Aaah… memories. :)

  7. Just to clarify on the pixy stix, you really needed the gigantor-plastic-tube model and not the wimpy paper-straw model that always got spit-soaked and clogged, forcing you to tear it in half, which usually ended up in just making a big sugary mess.

    Huge bump to Lauren for Pop Rocks too!

  8. As a kid, we knew the fizzy candy under the name “Zotz”

    How could you forget Pop Rocks? A candy that’s the basis of a great urban legend should certainly be on the list.

  9. How about the Marathon Bar–gauranteed to cause TMJ. I swear the damn things sprang my jaw a time or two. . . or twenty.

    This the famous pop rocks and all the urban legends associated with that stuff.


    Nice walk down memory lane. Thank your for the article.

  10. Saw this post today thanks to digg. Suspect I’m older than most of you. I was around when Pez made its debut–amazing it’s still going strong. I rather liked their taste–still do. I also enjoyed Lik-M-Aid which originally came in a pack of 4 or 5 different flavored little envelopes. Very similar to Pixie Stix, as I recall. Both now owned by the multinational Nestlé corp. The things called sour balls were not what is represented here but rather more a semi-transparent hard candy, something which came out of a jar which I’d get at grandma’s house. I was always partial to Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy, neither Turkish nor taffy, tho’ it melted in one’s mouth like taffy. It came in a flat rectangular bar and the TV ads would tell you to “smack it and crack it” into small pieces. This is going to sound really ancient, but I could buy a Tootsie Roll Pop individually for two cents, and since you actually got two different kinds of candy for that price, I considered it a great bargain. One more thing–in those days there was no fluoride, neither in the water nor in the toothpaste, and kids’ teeth showed it!

  11. Around age 8 I almost killed myself by chocking on an entire roll of bubble tape. I was alone, sitting in a beanbag chair. I had to reach down my own throat to pull it out. Now click my name, be-otch.

  12. Some honourable mentions,

    Atomic Warheads – Forget tearjerkers, these were the real deal, and they came in hot flavors as well as sour.

    Neon Bandits – These were sorta like warheads but they weren’t sour or hot, just sweet, but they turned you tongue cool colors.

    Airheads – Oh man, so good and trying to figure out the white mystery ones was fun.

    Bottlecaps – Cola flavored ones were awesome.

      1. you aren’t kidding i was driving today and looked at my gf and said, “ya know what i could go for right now?” some neon bandits…and she looked at me without a clue as to what i was talking about. i was so disappointed.

        1. Man I miss neon bandits. I wish I knew who made them so we could try a grass roots campaign to get them made or at least an exclusive production of a few pallets worth lol.

          On a side note, if anyone on here misses neon nerds ( Pinktricity and Electro Orange ) the following website in Australia still has them. Nestle UK and AUS and NZ apparently still produce them, hooray! Plus they finally go international shipping!


  13. You missed two of my favorites – Giant SweeTarts and Fizzies. They don’t make the giant SweeTarts any more, but someone does make Fizzies…they’re a bit hard to find but the candy store in Crown Center, Kansas City, carries them in several flavors.

  14. man all these suck pretty good, I saw the top ten worst candies, and these lists should be switched around, and they’d still be pretty bad lists

  15. I loved buttons on paper there were lots of them, soda bottles of wax with syrup in them, wax lips or mustaches, little candy pies in dishes you ate with a tiny spoon.

  16. I miss the garbage pale candy (the original) they still make it today but it’s way harder candy…also, considering this is a halloween candy site, my two other favs are Rockets candy and Chiclets two per box gum. Chiclets also still makes the gum but it is no longer in the cardboard box and the colours, green, grape and rasberry have been discontinued.

  17. As a kid, we were obsessed with Warheads. We had contests to see how many you could fit in your mouth at once (I think I won…with about 20), and this is gross, but we used to put them in our soft drinks. We put them in our Coke one time, despite the protests of the adults around us who told us that we would get sick? Sick, we said? What nonsense!..for about an hour. Then we spent the rest of the night in the bathroom. I guess sometimes adults DO know best!

    1. at my school there was candy that predated Warheads called Super Lemons. much more sour. they also had Super Apple, but those werent as tasty

    1. because they save your mouths life =)
      every time i go on a long trip, i buy a bag of them. just did so for a 2 state drive a few months ago. i had the huge bag, and was all minty for about a week and a half =P

  18. Zizzy said
    “As a kid, we knew the fizzy candy under the name “Zotz””

    THATS what theyre called! i couldnt think of it!

    and what about Bottlecaps?

  19. mmmmm… GOBSTOPPERS!!! keep testing these to see if they are ready to be bitten into yet or if they are still too hard… what is that stuff in the middle anyways?

  20. We would always go for laughy taffy’s and fire balls. We would see who could stand the heat the longest. Also Lemon heads and red hots.

    great blog

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  22. Ah, great times. My dad built me a tree house one day and then me and my neighbor (AKA my best friend) went to the dollar store and got 50 pieces of candy with our allowance money. Great summer.

  23. The large smarties can still be found at Walgreens and something similar to the fizzies is the Zotz, which can be purchased from The Foreign Candy Company. They even used to have Zotz Bombs, which were the size of those large jawbreakers, but with all the fizzy goodness inside that made people think you were foaming from the mouth with rabies.

  24. FUN DIP! I *LOVED* that stuff! Oh, I am so sad they don’t sell it anymore at my store. ;_;

    And yes, I was one of the people that ate the stick.

    God, I miss Fun Dip.

  25. remember the little yellow pouches of the chiclets mini gum? My stepdad used to bring me home 2 pouches every Friday night when he came home from work at Pantry Pride….I loved that gum.

    And candy cigarettes remind me of Mr. Anderson, may he rest in peace. He promised me that he would give up smoking, and he did, so we used to eat candy cigarettes together…He taught me how to play War with playing cards and how to hustle people at table shuffleboard…..

    Great memories=Awesome!!!!

  26. When I was a little girl living with my grandparents in the East End of London England, I went to a school where we would all walk to another school for dinner every day. Yeah, just like in the Madeline stories. My grandmother used to give me a penny to spend on my way home – we were free to get back to our own school anyway we wanted.

    A penny was a lot of money in England in those days.

    Well the dinners were HORRIBLE!!! You know that part in the song ‘Brick in the Wall’ by Pink Floyd – “If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you
    have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?” – well it brings back horrible memories.

    But my best friend, Mary, was much poorer than me and so I paid her a half-penny to eat my dinner. Then on the way back to our own school we’d both stop at a store and buy what seemed like gobs of candy with our half-pennies.

    We also often got a ride with my grandfather who was a telephone repairman and drove a cool truck.

    Oh yeah, I was so much more privileged then, compared to being the odd-girl out, poorest of the poor with a weird cockney accent when I lived in Toronto. Good memories!

  27. Screaming Saucers.
    Blue raspberry candies that turned your mouth blue for hours. They ended up banning them at my school because one year half my class had blue smiles for the class photos…

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