In part 1 of this series, we looked at some examples of candies that you may have grew up with in the 70s and 80s that hold a sweet memory in your mind of carefree and happier times when getting a sugar high after school was paramount on your things to do list. The reality is some of these treats were actually kind of disgusting but it took years of maturing before coming to that conclusion. Not all of it was that bad though. Here’s a look at some more of our favorite sugar fix delivery systems.
Candy Necklaces – Candy that allowed for sharing was always fun. These candy bracelets and necklaces allowed you to share with your nearest and dearest friends and make you the most popular kid in the schoolyard. Your friends would line up for a chance to chew off a sweet morsel off the string hanging around your neck. The wouldn’t even mind or care that the string of candy has been hanging around your neck all day on a hot and humid summer day while you played soccer. Yummy.
Pop Rocks – More than likely you remember the first time you experienced pop rocks. Your were probably unsuspecting of what your buddy just handed you as you poured a little in your mouth only to have your eyes bug a bit as you experienced the weird tingling / burning sensation on your tongue. Shortly after your first experience came your first dare to see how many packs you could handle in your mouth at once. Hours later, your sense of taste would return.
Garbage Candy – You have to wonder about the marketing meeting that took place while they were coming up with this candy. Trash shaped candy pieces in a garbage pail is either a flash of genius or the result of being awake way too long with a cocktail of controlled substances in the system. Having said that, these were pretty popular back in the day. You couldn’t get kids to take out the garbage without grumbling but they’d have no problem scarfing down trash shaped candy by the can full.
Freshen-Up – This gum was pretty innovative at the time. A cube shaped gum with a liquid flavor center. This gum suffered the fate of many gimmicky or novelty gums in that they’ turn to cardboard in no time but it was a cool concept. One problem was it didn’t store well in your jeans.
Candy Buttons – Another classic candy made for sharing. These little flavor dots were cool and came in lots of flavors but the cool thing was how easy they were to store. Just fold them up and slip them in your pocket.
Being a kid in the 70s and 80s allowed you to experience certain candies that may no longer be produced but some of the stuff you grew up with is still around and there are even some specialty stores and websites that cater to making available the treats of your youth. However, just because you can still get them, doesn’t mean you should. Your adult palette is vastly different than your youthful taste of what was gross and what was really cool.
While eating some of the stuff on this list today may remind you of your youth, it may also provide startling and sobering realizations that you may not have been firing on all cylinders when making choices while spending your hard earned allowance at the candy counter as a kid.
Bazooka – Not only was this gum cheap, 2 for a penny back in the day although I may be seriously dating myself, but it also came with a small comic featuring Bazooka Joe, who wore an eye patch and a bunch of his freaky friends including Mort who wore his turtleneck pulled up way over his mouth. If you collected enough of them, you could send away for X-Ray Specs or a Spy Ring. Only problem was the gum turned to rock and tasted like cardboard in about 3 minutes.
Gold Nugget Gum – Although this gum suffered the same fate as Bazooka in terms of turning to rock in your mouth and tasting like paste in less than 3 minutes, it came with very cool packaging in the shape of a little sack similar to what prospectors or cowboys supposedly carried their gold nuggets around in. When you were done pretending you were a cowboy after all your gum was gone, you could find other uses for the sack. Many a little plastic green army man suffered a cruel fate while imprisoned in the tiny sack with a fist full of marbles.
Wax Lips – While we’re on the subject of gum that tastes like cardboard, I submit for your consideration the ruby red wax lips. You looked like a Mr. Potato Head when you wore them and when the novelty wore off, you tried to chew it like gum and found out – it ain’t gum. Can you even chew wax safely? I mean there are lovely strawberry scented candles out there but is anyone compelled to take a bite out of one and chew on it?
Nik-L-Nip – Speaking of wax, these babies were little wax bottles that you bit the top off of and sucked back the sweet elixir within. These things were so freakin’ un-Godly sweet and partly responsible for the footmarks on the ceiling in my room when I was a kid. There’s also a version that looked like little coke bottles and tasted oddly like today’s Coke Black.
Popeye Cigarettes – What was cooler than riding up on your banana seated bike, with hockey cards in the spokes, in your Fonzie T-shirt and Nike canvas high tops and whipping out a pack of Popeye Cigarettes and slowly pulling one out of the pack and raising it casually to you’re lips, pretending to take a slow drag like you saw your dad do on a real cancer stick, looking at your friends and giving the thumb’s up signal while uttering the coolest thing you could come up with back then, “Aaaaaaaaaaay!”. Answer – nothing, nothing was cooler.
Fun Dip – Quite possibly the most impractical candy every marketed. Concept was simple. Lick the candy stick and dip it in the flavored crystals and lick the crystals off and repeat. However, it was hard to sneak a dose during class, and sharing was a bitch. Either you split the candy stick, which made it harder to eat, or you had to let your friend stick a wet finger in the pouch. Yummy.