Twelve Days of Christmas: The Return of Life Savers Stick-O-Pep!

CC_ChristmasStick-O-Pep_TITLE PLATEI’m often delighted by the surprises that my interest in confection brings.  From learning about vintage products that I never knew existed to looking on a current store shelf and being shocked at what I’m seeing.  It was a wonderful case of the latter when I recently learned that Life Savers had produced a new holiday seasonal flavor, Candy Cane Peppermint!

I’ve been a fan of Life Savers for years and one of my favorite vintage roll wrappers was always the candy cane flavor, which back in the day was called Stick-O-Pep.

The Life Savers Stick-O-Pep flavor was introduced in 1949, but it’s worth bringing up that Beech-Nut beat them to market nearly a decade earlier with a similar roll candy they called Spirals [Note: Beech-Nut would merge with the Life Savers company in 1956.]:

Beech-Nut - Spirals Molasses Peppermint candy drops roll wrapper - file copy - 1940

Beech-Nut – Spirals Molasses Peppermint candy drops roll wrapper – file copy – 1940

Life Savers’ own entry into the candy cane-flavored confectionery world would come a decade later, highlighted by a series of fanciful ads:

1949-10-08 The Saturday Evening Post - image courtesy Wishbook

1949-10-08 The Saturday Evening Post – image courtesy Wishbook

1950-03-11 The Saturday Evening Post - Wishbook

1950-03-11 The Saturday Evening Post – Wishbook

Here are my vintage Stick-O-Pep wrapper examples:

LifeSavers - Stick-O-Pep - candy roll warapper - late 50's early 60's

LifeSavers – Stick-O-Pep – candy roll warapper – late 50’s early 60’s

LifeSavers - Stick-O-Pep - mini - candy roll warapper - late 50's early 60's

LifeSavers – Stick-O-Pep – mini – candy roll warapper – late 50’s early 60’s

Here’s a Canadian version wrapper for Stick-O-Pep:

LifeSavers - Canadian StickOPep - 1950's

LifeSavers – Canadian StickOPep – 1950’s

By the late 1960’s, the design had changed with the gold highlights on the wrapper changing to red:

LifeSavers - Stick-O-Pep - candy roll wrapper - 1967

LifeSavers – Stick-O-Pep – candy roll wrapper – 1967

As Stick-O-Pep has long been a favorite of mine, I picked up this sealed display box of them a number of years ago.  At half-a-century old, it’s remarkable that it has never been opened:

Lifesavers - Stick-O-Pep - sealed display box - 1960's

Lifesavers – Stick-O-Pep – sealed display box – 1960’s

The wrapper around the box is a wax paper type of material, keeping it sealed and resistant to moisture.  I have an unused example of one of these wrappers with a slightly different design – I believe this may have been an earlier version of the wrap:

Life Savers - Stik-O-Pep 1 lb. case box wax wrap - 1960's

Life Savers – Stik-O-Pep 1 lb. case box wax wrap – 1960’s

The Stick-O-Pep flavor of Life Savers continued at least into the 1970’s, as I have found this foil wrapper example of them that dates to the later 1970’s:

Life Savers - Stick-O-Pep - foil candy roll wrapper - 1970's

Life Savers – Stick-O-Pep – foil candy roll wrapper – 1970’s

My best guess is that by the time 1980 rolled around, Stick-O-Pep had been retired from the standard Life Saver roll assortment.  [Correction: It turns out that Stick-O-Pep lasted until around 1990, as further digging into my archives turned up a much later wrapper design – pictured below.]

Lifesavers - Stick-O-Pep - foil candy roll wrapper - 1989

Lifesavers – Stick-O-Pep – foil candy roll wrapper – 1989

So it was quite a surprise when, last month, my brother sent me a photo of a new roll his wife had found.  It was for a new edition of Stick-O-Pep, now called Life Savers Candy Cane Peppermint.

After she had found that single roll, it was quite a bit of hunting before I was able to turn up any more.  I was only able to find the Candy Cane Life Savers at Walgreens.  I thought they might be an exclusive flavor though my contact inside the Walgreens corporation explained that they are not.   Thus far however, I’ve not heard of anyone finding these at any other retailer.

Here’s a look at one of the rolls:

Lifesavers Candy Cane Peppermint - candy roll photo - December 2013

Lifesavers Candy Cane Peppermint – candy roll photo – December 2013

And here’s an unrolled wrapper:

Wrigley - Lifesavers - Candy Cane Peppermint - roll candy wrapper - December 2013

Wrigley – Lifesavers – Candy Cane Peppermint – roll candy wrapper – December 2013

Aren’t those great?

It’s awfully cool to see that candy cane design again on a Life Savers wrapper long after it had been retired.   These are likely a Christmas seasonal item so they may not be available much longer, but if they are seasonal they’ll probably be back next year.

That’s everything on the wonderful return of this classic Life Savers flavor and my eleventh entry in our Twelve Days of Christmas.  See you next time!

About Jason Liebig

A New York City based writer, editor and sometimes actor. After spending much of the 1990′s in the comic book business helping tell the stories of Marvel Comics’ X-Men as series editor, he has since split his time between developing his own entertainment properties while still consulting and working on others. Having been described as “the Indiana Jones of lost and forgotten candy”, Jason is one of the country’s premier candy collectors and historians with his discoveries appearing in countless blogs, magazines, newspaper articles, and books. Always happy to share his knowledge and unique perspectives on this colorful part of our popular culture, Jason has consulted with New York’s Museum of Food and Drink and has also been a featured guest on Food Network’s Heavyweights, France’s M6 Capital, and New York’s TheActionRoom.com. My Google Profile+
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2 Responses to Twelve Days of Christmas: The Return of Life Savers Stick-O-Pep!

  1. Edward J. Noble, Jr says:

    My name is Edward J. Noble, Jr. I was born on the 10th of August, 1949 to my father Edward J. Noble. My great uncle was Edward J. Noble and my grandfather was Robert P. Noble..founders of The Life Savers Company.
    I have the original proof of the ad “Just born…” written by my father’s friend Dick Neff back then, and I have the note Dick Neff sent my father stating that the idea for the “Just born…” magazine ad that he wrote and that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post on the day I was born… was inspired by my upcoming birth!
    Just for your information. Cordially, Ed Noble, Jr.

  2. Duane Doherty says:

    Hello,, its nice to see that someone thinks about the old candy vintage other than myself ,,, as you posted a comment on the stick/O/Pep sorry to correct you it was spelled Stik O Pep without the (L) I to was born in the that error ,, lol,, i have here before me the original candy and the wrapping as well,, never ever been open as a child i thought the wrapping was cool so i saved it, and the candy inside , and your right i was Christmas candy in my Christmas stocking as it hung on the fireplace , the wrappings is like new, and how id love to take a piece and taste it lol ,

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