Tonight’s focus: More ridiculous candy from the ‘80s and ‘90s. I doubt you’re surprised. I’m very excited about this batch, which includes a few expired edibles that I never thought I’d be able to reclaim. My sources of triumph are sad, and uniquely mine.
Chew Fun Bubble Gum Noodles!
Made in 1985, this was one of my childhood favorites. Who could resist such clever packaging? Modest piles of bubble gum noodles lived inside gorgeous little takeout boxes, which were just big enough to let you pretend that LJN’s WWF figures adored Chinese food.
Some have called Chew Fun “racist,” but I’m not so sure. The name is simply a chow fun pun, and putting gum inside tiny takeout boxes doesn’t ring any alarm bells, either. (Of course, the typeface is more questionable, and I wouldn’t expect to see that mimicked in 2015.)
Takeout boxes have been my jam for as long as I can remember. They are, after all, chiefly responsible for my obsession with the pet shop scene from My Blue Heaven. Now that I think about it, that passion may have started with Chew Fun.
Bazooka Blasts Bubble Gum!
From 1996, Bazooka Blasts were obviously made to steal some glow from Cinn*A*Burst gum. While the flavors and mouthfeel were closer to Bubble Yum, each piece was loaded with “super flavor crystals” — the gimmick that made Cinn*A*Burst famous.
If you’re unfamiliar with flavor crystals, think “rock candy,” but smashed into dust and embedded in chewing gum. This imbued each piece with extra flavor, all while adding a strange, satisfying crunch.
I’m really digging the wrapper designs, which desperately tried to look “1990s” but were still so decidedly ‘80s. For reasons I can’t articulate, that was the exact right way for Bazooka to mess up.
Troll Family Candy Containers!
Troll Family candy containers were yet another attempt to capitalize on Norfin Troll craze of the early ‘90s. (The candy arrived in 1992… possibly at the precise moment that I was winning a Troll doll from an Atlantic City claw crane.)
The candy inside was an unremarkable bunch of pastel-colored fruity “pills,” but nobody bought Troll Family candy containers for the candy.
The containers were perfectly complete Troll figures, with the poofy neon hair, the sexless bodies, and the curious smiles that betrayed neither good nor evil.
This was a brilliant move by Topps. Kids were gobbling up Troll dolls wherever they could find them, but by placing them in random delis and corner stores, Topps didn’t have to compete with real deal Troll makers.
Push Pop Candy!
I’m well aware that Topps still makes Push Pops, but these are the original containers from ‘80s. HOLY MEMORIES. Dig that subtle ‘60s diner motif, which seems senseless for lollipops until you remember that they came out in 1985.
I can’t recall the last time I ate a Push Pop, but I sucked the hell out of them as a child. While they appeared to be “regular” lollipops in odd rod shapes, I firmly believe that these tasted way better than any normal lollipop. There was a certain “juiciness” to them that I haven’t experienced with any other sucking candy.
The technology means nothing in 2015, but thirty years ago, getting baton-pops in resealable lipstick tubes was a huge deal. I used to clip these to my belt and wear them as edible accessories, oblivious to what anyone thought about it. Hey, I was six, and nobody can convince a six-year-old that belt-worn candy is a Fashion Don’t.
Tropical Punch Bubble Gum Carton!
Yes! I’ve paid tribute to Topps’ legendary bubble gum juice cartons before, but at the time, my collection peaked with the Pink Lemonade flavor. Now I’ve added Tropical Punch. God is good, God is great.
The miniature cartons were super cute, while the gum inside — which looked like pleasant fish gravel — actually tasted like juice.
Kids would most commonly find the “normal” varieties, like Grape, Orange and Apple. If you were really lucky, you’d come across Pink Lemonade. Tropical Punch was comparatively impossible to locate, to the point where I’m still convinced that Topps intentionally short-packed them, just to keep the brand fresh in kids’ obsessive brains. We knew it was out there, and we weren’t going to give up on tiny cartons of chewing rocks until we found it.
At least, that’s how I remember it. I’ll grant you that I’m applying long ago experiences at exactly two stores in a global way. The neat thing is, you’d have to do a lot of work to prove me wrong.
WHOA HEY PS: If you missed the news, Dino Drac’s May Funpacks are available now! No bullshit — they’re going pretty fast this month, and since supplies are limited, I wouldn’t recommend waiting too long if you’re interested in signing up!