Posts tagged ‘NCA’

Intermission: Candy is Delicious Food

Feeling peckish between features at the drive-in? Head out to the snack bar!

This intermission short, circa 1950, reminds hungry patrons that “Candy is Delicious Food. Eat Some Every Day.” Which just happens to be a slogan that the National Confectioners Association came up with as early as the 1920s to promote candy eating.

For those of you under 30, a “drive-in” is an outdoor movie theater. You pull up your car to a pole that has a speaker on a long wire. You can hang the speaker off your window. In the waning days of drive-ins back in the 1980s, the sound was broadcast over FM radio. But the scratchy, tinny mono-phone sound of the window speaker is key for the full effect. Plus the steamed up windows.

Some of my best child hood memories are of piling all us kids into the station wagon in our pajamas and heading to the drive in, where we would play in the jungle gym until dark, then settle in to fall asleep while the movie played. I think this worked pretty well for my mom, too.

If you’re nostalgic for the full drive-in experience, or want to try it for the first time, head to Wisconsin this summer. The Hi-Way 18 Outdoor Theater just outside Jefferson has the real old-time deal, window speakers and all. Hi-Way 18 is going for the full nostalgia effect with a program of vintage intermission shorts including “Candy is Delicioius Food.” The ads are old, but the films are new releases. Now Playing: Despicable Me and Toy Story 3. Perfect movies to enjoy in your car on a hot summer night while you’re eating some delicious candy food.

Here’s the Hi-Way 18 lot during the daylight hours (from

Thanks to Beth Wheelock at for breaking this candy story!

July 13, 2010 at 12:20 pm 5 comments

The First Candy Day, 1916

close-up of lollipops

October brings cooler days, longer nights, and Halloween, the biggest candy day of the year (at  least in my book).

But one hundred years ago, there was no such thing as “trick or treating.”  For girls, Halloween was a night of genteel parties with apple bobbing and fortune tellers. And for boys it was the chance to turn hooligan for the night, to the consternation of property owners and upright citizens. But candy? Not so much.

Some time in 1916, the candy people looked at their empty fall calendars and decided what America needed was a new candy holiday, a day to celebrate all things candy, to eat candy with extra enthusiasm, and not coincidentally, to give candy sales a boost in advance of the Christmas holiday season. So the word went forth from the National Confectioners Association: The second Saturday of October would henceforth be known as Candy Day.

Candy Day, the day when every man, woman and child in this country will be urged to forget minor affairs for the time being and see to it that someone is sent a box or bag or bucket of candy.

In anticipation of October 14, 1916, the candy trade journals beat the drum to encourage local candy shops to feature Candy Day promotions. Sample signs were published, as well as “articles” that could be sent to local papers extolling the festivities of Candy Day and the virtues of candy eating.

The true “Candy Day” spirit is apart from the idea of just stimulating a greater consumption of candy. This will naturally follow a national educational campaign exploiting the real food value of candy–pure candy. The “Spirit of Candy Day” proper may be interpreted as a spirit of good will, appreciation and good fellowship.

The sentiments were noble. But behind the scenes, the intentions were no secret.

The only motive of the [NCA Executive Committee] is to aid every Manufacturer, Jobber and Retailer in increasing his profits through increased sales on “Candy Day.”

It’s simply asking you if you want to make some extra money, and if you do, you are requested to go ahead and push this “Candy Day” idea.

Unfortunately, the holiday was short-lived. Candy Day had been a mixed success. Candy shops that used the promotional materials had good sales, and customers seemed happy with another occasion to enjoy the sweet stuff. In late 1916 hopes were high that with the proper promotion, Candy Day would takes its place alongside the more widely recognized holidays. But Candy Day 1917, meant to be celebrated on October 13, had to be canceled. Something else came up. A little distraction we know today as “World War I.”

There is more to the story. Efforts were made to revive Candy Day after the war, but it never really caught on. Candy Day was reinvented as “Sweetest Day” in Cleveland in 1921, and that did have a little more success, but that is another story (I’ll write about that one soon).

Of course, today we DO have a “Candy Day” in October. We just call it something else. We call it HALLOWEEN!

P.S. Look on your calendar; the second Saturday in October is tomorrow. Happy Candy Day!

Sources: “Nation Wide Candy Day,” Candy and Ice Cream July 1916, p. 34; “Candy Day,” International Confectioner June 1916, p. 39; (NT: Candy Day results) International Confectioner Nov. 1916, p. 41

October 9, 2009 at 6:03 am 1 comment

Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

Welcome to Candy Professor

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.

(C) Samira Kawash

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