Howdy Doody, brought to you by Candy

December 4, 2009 at 6:02 pm 2 comments

“The auto took American families out of their homes…Television put them back on the sofa!”

In 1950, it was all about television. Anyone who wanted to sell anything to anybody could see that from here on out, TV was it.

Candy wanted in. In 1948, the candy manufacturer Mason, Au and Magenheimer experimented with sponsorship of a little program called “The Howdy Doody Show.” Within six weeks, its brand new “Mason Bar” was being promoted by 90 percent of the distributors in the market. Others quickly followed suit. By 1950, the “Candy and Soft Drink” category was second only to “Food and Food Products” in total network advertisements.

Candy companies sponsored many of America’s favorite early TV shows:

Peter, Paul Inc. sponsored Buck Rogers

Mars, Inc. sponsored Howdy Doody

Bunte Bros. sponsored Cactus Jim

M&M Ltd. sponsored  Super Circus

S.F. Whitman & Sons sponsored Show of Shows

Philadelphia Chewing Gum Corp. sponsored Mr. Magic

Doran Confectionery Co. sponsored Unk’n Andy

Gold Medal Candy Corp. sponsored Magic Clown

Walter Johnson Candy Co. sponsored Captain Video

Quaker City Chocolate & Confectionery Co. sponsored Lucky Pup

One advertising executive offered a note of caution to the sudden enthusiasm of the candy trade:

The candy business, never before particularly noted for a desire to spend more than a bare buck or two in advertising, has suddenly begun behaving like Diamond Jim Brady having a big evening at Rectors! But take it easy, gentlemen, even Diamond Jim must have occasionally felt a little dull the morning after. Not that TV isn’t all we say it is, –because it is and then some. It’s just that if you don’t know what you’re getting into, or you don’t hire someone who does,– then look out you don’t get your fingers all jammed up in this nice new toy.

Source: Franklyn W. Dyson, “Television and Candy—An Expert Tells Who, What, When, of Programming” Candy Industry 29 Aug. 1950

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    2 Comments Add your own

    • 1. cybele  |  December 4, 2009 at 6:22 pm

      It’d be fun to trace what some of those candies actually were. Obviously since we don’t recognize all of those brands many of the candies are long gone as well. But a few were bought out by other candy companies and the products still exist.

      Quaker City Chocolate & Confectionery Co made Good & Plenty (I think many folks will remember Choo Choo Charlie.)

      I believe Walter Johnson made the Power House bar that was later bought up by Peter Paul (Mounds/Almond Joy).

      Reply
      • 2. CandyProfessor  |  December 4, 2009 at 6:38 pm

        That would be an interesting project, a sort of candy archeology. If I had a research assistant and a big grant, I’d send her off to reconstruct all the twentieth century companies and their goods. Until that grant comes through…anyone looking to volunteer for an unpaid internship?

        Reply

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    Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

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    Candy in American Culture What is it about candy? Here you'll find the forgotten, the strange, the curious, the surprising. Our candy story, one post at a time.

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