Posts tagged ‘candy’

Howdy Doody, brought to you by Candy

“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

Related Posts:

  • Candy Discovers Television, 1950
  • A Musical TV Tribute to Candy, 1951
  • December 4, 2009 at 6:02 pm 2 comments

    Candy is Life: Korea, 1952

    In the 1950s, Edward R. Murrow was the nation’s pre-eminent television journalist. His CBS program See it Now pioneered the TV newsmagazine format that spawned familiar programs like “60 Minutes” and “20/20.”

    Detail of a Map of Korea

    Murrow was suspicious of the new medium of television, and insisted his program actively involve itself in the issues of the day. To insure the most engaged and accurate reporting See It Now maintained its own camera crews to coordinate filming on location and used 35mm- cameras to record the most striking images.

    In a March 1952 report from Korea, “See it Now” reporter George Herman focused on the effects on the civilian population of the Korean War, which was entering its third year. Candy was part of the story.

    Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the candy industry and candy enthusiasts had promoted candy as “good food” and a good source of energy. In times of plenty, candy was consumed along side all sorts of other foods, and the emphasis was on enjoyment and pleasure. The positive message about candy was something like: Candy is good energy food, so why not enjoy it?

    But when the economy was down, candy for many was more than just pleasure and fun. Candy was also, calorie for calorie, incredibly cheap. During the years of the depression, candy bars with food names like Lunch Bar and Chicken Dinner suggested that for many, a candy bar was a way to sate hunger in the place of a proper mean. By the 1940s, candy bars were being fortified with vitamins and sold as “packed with nutrition.”

    Even in America’s darkest hours, candy always promoted a positive, fun image of enjoyment and pleasure. “See it Now” put candy eating in a different light.

    Herman explained,

    Candy is no joke in Korea. In a country where people just barely survive the winter every year, where sugar is scarce and calories are counted in tens rather than in hundreds, candy can mean the difference between surviving and succumbing to tuberculosis or pneumonia or some of the other deaths that cold and poverty reap per year.

    As Herman described the suffering of Korea’s population and their economic hardship, the camera showed images of Korean children, scrambling for candy.

    In the first and second World Wars, American soldiers would often carry candy to give out to civilians as a gesture of friendship and good will. The reporting from Korea suggested a more disturbing and desperate story. For those Koreans who were lucky enough to grab something in the candy scramble, candy wasn’t just a treat. Candy was, in wartime, life itself.

    Source: Candy Industry April 1952, p. 1

    December 2, 2009 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

    Movie Candy

    candy and the movies

    1951 Movie Concession Sales

    If you’ve been to a movie theater lately, you’ve probably noticed the candy counter at the concession stand. At my local cine-plex, big boxes of gummi bears and Junior Mints can be had at $3.00 a pop. It’s a lot more than what the drug store down the street is charging, but I’m a captive audience. Besides, what’s a movie without a huge candy overdose? Pricey, absolutely. Concession sales today account for over 40 percent of movie theaters’ net revenue.

    The first movie theaters were the nickelodeons of the 1900s and teens, simple affairs where 5 cents could by any news boy or seamstress a few moments of magical escape. It was a popular entertainment: by 1914, 27 percent of Americans were regularly attending the moving picture shows.

    Early theaters did not sell refreshments. As nickelodeons gave way to more opulent movie palaces in the 1920s, operators wanted to keep the atmosphere “classy,” and lip smacking and litter didn’t fit. But by the 1930s, the economic squeeze of the Depression was affecting revenues. New theaters were smaller and less luxurious. Selling candy, popcorn, and sodas was a way to bring more money into the theaters. By the 1940s, concession stands were in every theater, and sales of food and drink were a big money-maker.

    Conecession sales took off fast. In 1951, concession sales were accounting for 22 percent of the gross revenues at the nations 19,500 indoor theaters. 3 out of five theater patrons were buying refreshments before or during the show. At the 2,500 drive ins around the country, the numbers were even higher, with concessions bringing in 45 cents for every ticket dollar.

    Popcorn was the biggest seller, bringing $193 million to theater coffers that year. Candy followed a close second, at $135 million. That amounted to $2.5 million each week spent on candy at the nation’s movie theaters.

    In many of the theaters, kids were the biggest buyers of candy. The most popular items were the “nickel bars” and other five-cent items including chewing gum. As many in the candy trade agitated to move to a more lucrative ten-cent candy bar, the theaters were against it, even if it meant making the nickel bars smaller. Movie theaters prized the ‘kids trade,’ and feared that “a boost in price to a dime would drastically reduce sales to children.”

    The big competitor for the movie-goers dime was popcorn. Sugar had been rationed during the second world war, and popcorn had become more common and more popular as a result. One candy industry booster thought popcorn should go:

    I venture the opinion that one of the reasons for the ’death’ of movie houses is because of the odor and noise from popcorn. As to the quality of motion pictures presented, that is a question open to debate but smell is smell, and noise is a noise, and my guess is that some of those who may be reading this editorial have been annoyed just as much as I have through smelly and noisy popcorn and stay away from movies.

    Smelly, noisy popcorn vs. fragrant, soft candy… no contest!

    Source: “Theatre Field Prefers Five-Cent Candy Bars” Confectioners Journal July 1951 p 30; “Movies and Candy and Popcorn,” Confectioners Journal Aug. 1953 p. 63; Jill Pellittieri, Make it a Large for a Quarter More? A short history of concession stands. Slate, June 26, 2007

    November 30, 2009 at 7:46 am 1 comment

    Igniting Cough Drops

    Violent candies: It’s not about the taste, but about the action. Pop Rocks explode in your mouth. Extreme Sours of all sorts burn the skin off your cheeks. Wintergreen Lifesavers emit sparks when chomped in the dark. Dear candy, don’t just sit there; DO SOMETHING!

    How delightful it must have been for whoever discovered the igniting cough drop, back in 1913. One typically seeks such medicated confection for its soothing, cooling properties. One does not expect pyrotechnics.

    Woman Taking Throat Lozenge

    A popular cough lozenge ingredient in the day was chlorate of potash; mixed up with a little sugar, it promised a tasty and effective treatment for respiratory discomfort. But when you rubbed the lozenge on the igniting strip of a safety-match box, watch out! The lozenge would light up like a match and burn.

    It’s a cough drop. No, it’s a match. No, it’s a cough drop AND a match!

    Confectioners Journal called it “killing two birds with one stone.” One wonders how it could have been as tasty as claimed. Of course, in 1913 those chalky Necco-style wafers were popular, too.

    Source: “Killing Two Birds With One Stone” Confectioners Journal, Jan. 1914 p. 93

    More: Chemistry expert Anne Marie Helmenstine explains Candy Triboluminescence (those sparks from Wintergreen Lifesavers).

    November 13, 2009 at 6:53 am 2 comments

    Candy Band Aids

    Sugar is a somewhat magical substance. In all its many crystalline and syrupy moods it gives us jellies, and taffies, and candy canes, and fudge. These days, we don’t often worry about spoilage, so its easy to forget that sugar is also an excellent preservative. Fruit preserves and candied fruits last a long time; the sugar draws moisture out of the microbes that would make the food spoil.

    Doctor Bandaging a Knee

    None of these uses would suggest that we could use sugar in the arsenal against injury and bloodshed. Yet just such a use was discovered among German surgeons during the early days of the first World War:

    …it is said that many of the wounded have been cured by dressings of ordinary granulated sugar, the compresses being changed every second or third day.

    Actually, it kind of makes sense. Sugar would impede the growth of infectious bacteria, just as it discourages the growth of spoiling bacteria in food. But Confectioners Journal offered a more metaphysical explanation:

    Sugar is always vitalizing and it seems logical that it should purify and heal when thus applied externally.

    And there was a suggestion for a new candy product:

    One of these days our confectioners may be found turning out sugar plasters.

    Candy band aids sounds like a great idea. Imagine how much easier it would be to sooth little Suzy’s scratched knee if you could offer one bandage for the knee, and another to suck on!

    One final thought: Of course, salt would have the same effect. But in addition to the general non-yummyness of salt band aids, it should be pointed out that packing wounds with salt sounds like it would really hurt!

    Source: “Sugar as a Life Saver,” Confectioners Journal April 1917 p 65

    November 6, 2009 at 7:38 am 2 comments

    Creed for Candy

    As you contemplate the vast glittering expanse of your Halloween booty, I offer you this little meditation on the loveliness of candy:

    Candy adds to the sunshine of the world as well as to the nutrition of the world.

    Candy is a symbol of fun to the child, sentiment to the adult, pleasure to old age.

    Candy knows no social barriers, it is for the rich or poor, young or old, man or woman, no matter the race or religion or rank.

    Candy is available to everyone, priced for everyone, with a choice for everyone.

    Candy is delicious food.

    Enjoy some every day!

    –1948 Council on Candy, National Confectioners Association

    colored candy figures
    A little background information: The Council on Candy as Essential Food in the War Effort was organized by the National Confectioners Association in 1942 in response to the sugar rationing program. The Council on Candy was charged with persuading the government, the military, and the general population that candy was an essential food item, and therefore that candy manufacturers should continue to have access to sugar supplies. The “Creed for Candy” was reproduced and republished in magazine advertisements and shop placards as part of an ambitious advertising and education campaign in the 1940s aimed at securing a place for candy in American hearts and at American tables.

    November 2, 2009 at 7:14 am 2 comments

    A Musical TV Tribute to Candy, 1951

    By 1951, candy was fully committed to a television future. TV viewers on the night of December 1, 1951, enjoyed a full-length musical tribute to candy, as featured on the popular Ken Murray Television Show. There were specially written songs, special costumes and scenery, and a unique candy dance extravaganza.

    Family watching TV

    Viewers would be entertained, to be sure. But they would also be educated. The Candy Show was a promotion for candy, after all. The 14 million viewers learned about the important part candy plays in food and nutrition, the tireless efforts of candy manufacturers to improve their products, and the “constant efforts being put forth to provide the buying public with delicious and wholesome candy.”

    The Ken Murray Show’s sponsor probably had something to do with the plans for “one of the greatest good-will promotions in the entire history of the candy industry.” The sponsor was Anheuser-Busch. The Anheuser-Busch Corn Products Division was a major supplier of corn syrup to the candy industry (see CandyProfessor:  “Beer and Candy III”). So what was good for candy was good for corn products, and what was good for corn products was good for Anheuser-Busch.

    Source: “TV Show to Promote Candy as Food,” Confectioners Journal Dec. 1951, p. 27

    October 23, 2009 at 6:55 am 2 comments

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    Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

    Welcome to Candy Professor

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