Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fabulous & Frugal Fun: A Trip to Candy Land

When I used to think of Candy Land, the image of children's board games that has you slipping and sliding through a world filled with chocolate sprinkles and peppermint sticks would come to mind. That was until this weekend when I popped into Economy Candy on New York's Lower East Side.

Just a peek in the window sort of tells it all in retro deliciousness. Why there are gigantic Pez dispensers and boxes of Mallo Cups, Blow Pops and Candy Buttons just staring right back at you. Looking for A Bit-O-Honey Bar or maybe some wax lips? Step right inside. They're not far from the circus peanuts and orange slices. As I wandered the isles of this candy-copia, I was tempted by the Chick-O -Sticks, a strange, toffee-ish, peanut-flavored candy that sort of looks like a chicken leg that we used to beg our mom to buy us a the swimming pool concession stand.

And then there was the mysterious Zero bar, all covered in white chocolate. Why was it called Zero? Certainly not for its calorie count. There were Charleston Chews, Whatchamacallits and Heath Bars along with the elusive Cherry Mash candy, a concoction manufactured in St. Joseph, Missouri, just north of my hometown of Independence.

Mounted near the ceiling in one corner of the shop is an old Lifesaver counter display. For many years, I thought a cherry Lifesaver could cure all ills. And a Butter Rum Lifesaver: how forbidden that sounded -- almost like treats for marauding pirates.

Nearby, there are boxes of candies from the past, including the Goo Goo Cluster. I remember the first time I ate one was on a family trip to Nashville in the mid 1970s. They sold those caramel, nutty turtles at the Grand Old Opry, and many people say the candy's name is an acronym for the legendary country and western show.

Nearby is a box for Old Henry! candy bars, and then across from it is a container for Tootsie Pops. Do you remember the Tootsie Pop ad where the little boy walks up to the toothless turtle asking him how many licks it takes to get to the chocolate center of a Tootsie Pop and he gets sent on to the scholarly owl who seems to have the answer? I remember watching this ad on our black-and-white TV and never realized until today that it was actually in color.

Today, I'm sharing with you a video of the old Tootsie Pop ad that certainly caught my attention as a five-year-old. And just how many licks did it take to get the the center of a Tootsie Pop?

Oh, I think about one.

(I can't quite figure out why there's a big black space below, but if you look for the arrow on the left, click it, and the video will play.)

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter


  1. Stan, have you ever had a twin bing? Sort of like a cherry mash but a million times better?

  2. Great post! I can't believe I never heard of that store. I've got to make a pilgrimage there this weekend. After reading your description, I have cravings for circus peanuts and a Chunky bar.


  3. I remember that commercial! That looks like a super fun store to visit, I'll put on my list when I go to NYC.Hopefully in 2010...

  4. Nice walk down memory lane!

    When I was a kid my dad would take us to the dime store to fill a grocery bag with "penny candy" as it was called in the late 60's. When we would get to my cousins house we would walk in and he would dump the whole bag on the floor of the middle of the living room and us kids would scramble to make piles of our own to fill small brown paper bags to keep with us for the week. What followed was a week of fun with my cousins, swapping candy pieces and the rare opportunity of eating all the candy we wanted until our bags were empty.

    These pictures remind me of just how hard it was to pick out the candy we would choose to take with us. Soooooo many choices.

    What a wonderful store to find, haven't seen one like that since the early 70'. Thank you.

  5. Hi Stan,
    Thank you for bringing back so many SWEET memories of childhood with this one. I agree that Zero bars have a mysterious quality ... I never really liked them, but I somehow HAVE to have one every few years.

    I used to live in Nashville, worked at Opryland, and I've consumed more than my fair share of Goo Goo Clusters. I'd never heard of the Grand Old Opry (acronym) connection! Thanks for sharing that fascinating bit of information.

    Hope the rest of your week goes well.


  6. this post makes me so happy! I love mallo cups, and i lost my first tooth while eating a chocolate charleston chew! yum, yum.
    thanks for sharing!

  7. That looks like such a fun place to prowl! Oh, I how love Zero Bars. YUM-O!



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