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10 Retired Candies

Nothing Lasts Forever


When you take your kids trick-or-treating this Halloween, don’t expect to see the same candy in their pillowcases that you had when you were a child. Candy companies are endlessly innovating and introducing new products, and that means some of the less popular candy bars inevitably get shuffled off to the big candy aisle in the sky.

While most of these products are long gone, they’re not forgotten. We were feeling nostalgic, so we put together a list of 10 candy products that are either retired or have very limited availability. For this we spoke to Darlene Lacey, curator of CandyWrapperMuseum.com, who has been collecting classic candy wrappers since 1977. As she notes, the history of candy is muddled at best – many candymakers have been bought out or absorbed over the years, and some candy products have been produced by multiple companies – but we’ve done our best to track down the back-story on these classic candies.

Note that a few of these can still be found if you know where to look – some are sold on eBay and other third-party sites, while others are still produced in limited quantities.

Photo Credit: Tracy Hunter

Reggie! Bars


Reggie Jackson once joked that if he played in New York, they would name a candy bar after him. After the Yankees signed him as a free agent, the prophecy came true in the form of this chocolate-covered caramel-and-peanut confection released in 1978. Like Jackson, the candy has long since been retired. Unlike Jackson, it can be purchased on eBay.

Photo Credit: Darlene Lacey

Chocolate Babies


A candy that would make Jonathan Swift proud, Chocolate Babies were exactly what they sound like. It seems macabre, but I suppose it isn’t much stranger than biting the head off a bunny rabbit to celebrate Easter. We’ve found photographic evidence of this candy dating back to 1949, but it’s possible it has been around for about a century. And while candymaker Heide no longer exists, this one occasionally comes out of retirement to relive the glory days – you can still purchase them on a few websites. "Heide produced a version of the decades-old Chocolate Babies in the ‘70s, but they have since been retired, most likely due to complaints about the racist innuendo that many people saw in them," Lacey says.

Photo Credit: Darlene Lacey

Sugar-Free Gummy Bears


It’s not clear how you make a sugar-free version of a snack that’s basically a blob of sugar. It’s even less clear how you also make it fat-free and low-carb and still have the nerve to call it candy.

Lacey wasn’t impressed when she tried them: “For whatever reason, I got the most horrible gas I think I've ever experienced after eating them.” They were introduced in 2004 at the height of the low-carb craze, but a quick glance at the company’s current offerings suggests that the product has been quietly – and mercifully – retired.  

Photo Credit: Darlene Lacey

Mr. T Gold Chain Bubble Gum


The gum itself could be worn as a necklace, but for those seeking something closer to the Mr. T experience, you could send in the wrapper plus $1.95 to get a gold-colored chain, Lacey says. Given how high gold prices have gotten, I pity any fool who doesn’t jump at this offer. This one dates back to 1984, and Lacey believes it only stuck around for a year or so – unlike T himself, who is still professing his love for all things gold.

Photo Credit: Darlene Lacey

Chicken Dinner Candy Bar


Fortunately – or unfortunately, depending on your tastes – this one didn’t actually contain any chicken. Much like Snickers’ current ad campaign, the Sperry Candy Company sought to convey the idea that its nutty chocolate bar would satisfy your hunger. Sperry distributed them using the modified Model A trucks seen here, a precursor of sorts to the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. Despite its odd name, the candy bar had a good run, lasting from the early 1920s to the 1960s.

Photo Credit: Charles Phoenix

My Buddy


Some of the items on this list might inspire some nostalgia, but not this offering from Tom’s Candy. When the wrapper says “choklat” covered, that’s not the company’s cutesy marketing language –it’s a way of getting around the fact that it didn’t use actual chocolate.

Lacey notes that this was due to rising chocolate prices in the late 1970s. “Tom’s used to make some of the most disgusting candy bars,” she not-so-fondly recalls.

Photo Credit: Darlene Lacey

Popeye Bubble Gum


Popeye was famous for promoting the health benefits of spinach – if hideously inflated forearms can be counted as a health benefit. But its health food advocacy apparently didn’t extend to its product tie-ins, as in the case of this shredded bubble gum introduced in the early ‘80s. Perhaps the company who made this realized that children would be more interested in eating something that simply looked like spinach than actual spinach. Fortunately, it didn’t attempt to go for authenticity by making the gum spinach-flavored – as the package indicates, it just tastes like regular bubble gum.

Photo Credit: Dan Goodsell

Big Hunk


Like Abe Vigoda, Big Hunk has actually stuck around long after everyone thought it was dead. The low-fat bar of honey-sweetened nougat and peanuts was introduced in the early ‘50s by the Golden Nugget Candy Company, which was later acquired by Annabelle Candy (which also makes Abba-Zaba, another candy many believed dead) in 1972. Primarily distributed on the West Coast, Big Hunk distinguishes itself as one of the few candy bars that needs to be microwaved for optimal results. 

“They tell you to throw it in the microwave for five seconds, but that turned out not to be enough,” reports Jeremy Selwyn, chief snacks officer of Taquitos.net. (He ultimately gave it a rave review, though.)

Photo Credit: Annabelle-Candy.com

Milkshake Bar


While the Big Hunk needed to be microwaved to really be enjoyed, Hollywood’s Milk Shake bar was best frozen, says Lacey. “When I was a kid they would sell them by the pool,” she recalls. “They were great frozen on a hot day.” She estimates that this one was introduced back in the 1920s, and disappeared at some point in the late 1980s.

Photo Credit: Darlene Lacey

Candy Cigarettes


Here’s one we can’t believe was ever sold in stores. I remember buying various candy tobacco products as a kid, from chewing gum cigars to sticks of candy made to look like cigarettes. There was even a stick of gum rolled in paper, and if you blew into it, “smoke” came out. Apparently you can still buy these online, though online retailer OldTimeCandy.com says they’re now called “candy sticks” and are often used by smokers as a quitting aid. Let us know if you ever see candy cigarettes at a candy shop, as we’re curious if these are actually sold to kids anymore.

Photo Credit: Darlene Lacey

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