Nothing brings back sweet childhood memories better than looking back at the candy we loved. Who can forget scrounging together a few quarters or even a few dollars and making the trip any way you could get there to the nearest source of your favorite sweet treats? It was kid nirvana. While these sweet snacks weren’t healthy and were packed with sugar, it was a different day and age. So, here is our list of sweet candy treats from the 60s to the 80s.
Your possible candy choices seemed endless. There seemed to be so much selection and so little money to get a hold of exactly what you wanted that day. Would it be BubbleYum for a quarter? An Abba Zabba? Or would it be something new and slightly dangerous like Pop Rocks or ZotZ? Could you even scrape together a little more change and get a box of Hot Tamales with your Candy Necklace?
As kids we did not seem to worry about cavities, gaining weight or pulling out expensive dental work by eating something chewy or gnawing on a jawbreaker. Your only problem seemed to be reaching the end of your candy coffers and renewing your supply.
There was something about those brightly colored wrappers and shapes of all kinds that lit up your imagination and flooded your kid brain with exciting flavor possibilities. Looking back at these vintage candy favorites still seem to trigger good memories for millions of people online who love to remember simpler, sweeter times.
First made in 1963 by two rocket scientists, the transparent, three colored cone shaped suckers were modeled after the 3 stage-rockets the scientists were working on at the time in El Segundo, CA. The original flavors of the space age suckers were cherry, passion fruit and pineapple.
Gold Rocks Nugget Bubble Gum
Originally created by the Philadelphia Chewing Gum Corporation in the mid 1950s, the drawstring canvas bag contained about 2oz of candy coated nuggets of bubble gum.
Jujyfruits – Sweet Candy Treats from the 60s to the 80s
Henry Heide, a German immigrant, started manufacturing the chewy, movie favorite candy in the 1920s. The flavors correspond to the colors, not the shapes. They are raspberry, anise/licorice, lime, orange and lemon.
Now owned by the Ferrara Candy Company, If you look at the banana shape, you’ll still see it stamped with the founder’s last name, “HEIDE.”
Lik-m-aid Fun Dip
Fruzola started making Lik-M-Aid in the 1940s and was rebranded in the 1970s as Fun Dip. Call it what you like, generations of kids have adored the ritual of dipping the edible Lik-a-stix in the pouches of colored and flavored sugar. One had to carefully (depending on your eating style) calculate how much of the stix they could eat while still being able to retrieve all the dip.
Fun Dip is now made by The Willy Wonka Candy Company, a division of Nestle.
Gatorgum – Sweet Candy Treats from the 60s to the 80s
Only in the 1970s could gum be marketed as a “Thrist-quenching gum for active sports-minded people.” Gatorgum came in two flavors, lime and orange before it was discontinued in 1989.
Original Ferrara Pan Jawbreakers
Compared to other jawbreakers on the market, these tiny candies posed considerably less dental danger than many of their larger, generic competitors. But there were a lot in the box and by the virtue of their sheer numbers, Jawbreakers were a good bang for a kid’s quarter.
Jolly Rancher Fire Stix and Apple Stix
The Jolly Rancher Candy Company was founded by Bill Harmsen in 1949. He wanted a the company name to sound friendly and welcoming to customers.
The Jolly Rancher original flavors were watermelon, grape, apple, and Fire Stix.
Bazooka Bubble Gum – Sweet Candy Treats from the 60s to the 80s
First introduced in 1947 by the Topps Company of Brooklyn, NY, the iconic, folded “Bazooka Joe” comic strips weren’t included until 1953.
The comic strips have been translated in many languages around the world including French, Hebrew and Spanish. The comics were replaced in 2012 with puzzles in the wrappers to modernize the brand.
Good and Plenty
Introduced in 1893, the Good and Plenty brand is over 100 years old and believed to be the oldest candy brand in the United States. So even if it’s not your favorite all time candy, you’ve probably had a few of the distinctive pink and white candy-coated black licorice treats.
Candy Cigarettes – Sweet Candy Treats from the 60s to the 80s
Candy cigarettes are banned in over a dozen countries around the world, but are not banned in the U.S. You can still find them (now called “Candy Sticks”) in stores here and there throughout the country. But most of the ads that once glamorized the habit are gone, and real smokers are a (literally) a dying breed and thankfully, so is the appeal of smoking for kids growing up today.
Besides, the candy, gum, or chocolate these things were made of was always sub-par.
Wax Bottles – Nik-L-Nips
For nearly a century, these wax bottles of fruit flavored syrup have intrigued youngsters and are still produced by Tootsie Roll Industries so they must carry the same novel allure. The concept is irresistible for kids: bite off the top, drink the juice then proceed to put the entire bottle in your mouth and chew it like gum. By the way, the wax is food grade but not meant to be swallowed. The name, Nik-L-Nips, comes from the original cost (a nickel) and the nip indicates how to bite the top off.
If you don’t remember ever having a ZotZ candy, then you probably never had one. The outer shell is a hard candy but once that is bitten or dissolves, the inner sour powder in the center starts to fizz and bubble similar to but not quite the same as Pop Rocks.
ZotZ flavors include apple, cherry, watermelon, blue raspberry, strawberry, grape and orange. The candy is still being made in Italy and has been around since 1968.
Bubble Yum – Sweet Candy Treats from the 60s to the 80s
Bubble Yum was revolutionary for its time when introduced by Life Savers in 1975 since it was soft bubble gum. Yes, Buttle Yum was the first soft bubble gum and was invented by a homemaker in Fisk MO, who came up with the recipe and sold it to Life Savers.
Wax Lips, Wax Fangs, Wax Mustache
Always a Halloween favorite, there was nothing quite like that first bite of the paraffin wax on the back plate to show off your fresh pair of wax fangs or lips. The lips were designed and invented by the American Candy Company in the early 20th century and are actually patented which was acquired by Tootsie Roll Industries in 2004.
Freshen-up Gum – Sweet Candy Treats from the 60s to the 80s
Freshen-up gum was uniquely advertised as “the gum that goes squirt” on its frequent TV commercials in the mid-to-late 1970s during its heyday. It was the first gum to introduce a flavored gel center that burst.
The Candy Necklace
Introduced in 1958, the candy necklace is any candy lover’s favorite edible fashion accessory.
Hot Tamales Cinnamon Flavor Candies
If you were a hot candy fan, Hot Tamales were a movie-going staple. The chewy, cinnamon flavored oblong candies were first introduced by the family-owned Just Born candy company in 1950.
Candy Buttons or Candy Dots
Who can resist eating those flavorless, candy buttons one by one off the paper backing and getting a little bit of paper in every other dot? Well, current owner, Necco said they produced over 750 million buttons in 2016 alone.
Candy buttons were originally introduced by the Cumberland Valley Company, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the 1930s before being acquired by Necco in 1980.
Necco Wafers – Sweet Candy Treats from the 60s to the 80s
An English immigrant named Oliver Chase produced the first wafers in a lozenge cutting machine in 1847 and were carried by Union soldiers during the Civil War. They started carrying the name “Necco Wafers” in 1912. Necco is based in Boston, MA.
Pixy Stix date back to 1942 but didn’t get their distinctive color-striped straw design until 1959s and introduced as Pixy Stix, which was basically flavored sugar in a straw.
No list of vintage, crazy candy from the 70s would be complete without Pop Rocks. General Foods chemists came up with the formula and patent for the candy in 1961, but the candy wasn’t introduced to the public until 1975. They took it off the market in 1983 due to slow sales and the fact that it lost its popping effect if left on shelves for too long.
Pop Rocks is now distributed in the U.S. by Pop Rocks Inc. and by Zeta Espacial S.A. in the rest of the world.
In the 1970s and 80s, the candy spawned urban legends of exploding stomachs and General Foods took out ads in major publications to assuage parents’ fears.