Mad Mascots: Clanky Syrup Spaceman!

Kids of the ‘60s loved astronauts arguably more than anything else, thanks largely to the Space Race. A quick browse through any photo collection of ‘60s toys will show an unmistakable lean on spacemen and rocket ships, and really, the old cliche of kids “wanting to become astronauts” found its foothold more in the ‘60s than any other decade.

If I’m wrong about that, give me a pass. I wasn’t alive.

The point is, if you were targeting children in the 1960s, giving your product a “space theme” was the smartest way to go. So, when you look at this astronaut-shaped syrup bottle, just know that its existence made perfect sense.

His name was Clanky. He divided his time between exploring the cosmos and peddling chocolate syrup.

Was Clanky popular? I’m guessing he was. Hell, I still go ballistic for bottles shaped like Mrs. Butterworth, and that’s just Mrs. Butterworth. This was a cool ass astronaut with sci-fi trappings and accordion legs. How could kids of any decade – let alone the space-crazed ‘60s – not be into Clanky?

The TV commercial was just fabulous, portraying Clanky as a giant cartoon spaceman with an enormous fan club, and rightly positioning the bottles as “toys.” (Though I must admit that a part of me wants to find the “wrong” with a giant astronaut squirting brain syrup at sad children. I can’t figure out what’s so bad about that, but something must be.)

I’m pretty sure that Clanky Syrup (or at least, Clanky Syrup sold in astronaut-shaped bottles) came out in 1964. Determining how long he stuck around for is much harder. Given that the empty bottles are so easily found today, I’m guessing that Clanky was available for a good long while. Probably into the ‘70s. If you’re older and wiser than me, feel free to pick apart this post and mail me your corrections. I’m always up for a good ninja edit.

A spaceman made of chocolate was a beautiful thing, but I bet there were plenty of ‘60s kids who convinced their fathers to spray-paint the bottles. Just imagine Clanky in silver. He’d look like a second place moon trophy. Whatever that is.

It takes something especially great for me to put my neck on the line with a factually-inaccurate post involving a decade that I only know about through sitcoms made twenty years later. And Clanky is especially great.