In the 1970’s, the Pangburn Company of Fort Worth Texas created a novel bit of pop art paper craft when they came up with the cardboard packaging for their Trog-Lo-Dytes chocolates. There’s never been anything quite like it in the world of candy packaging before or since, so make the jump to see Pangburn’s unique and unusually-named Trog-Lo-Dytes Action Packs!
Before I begin today’s showcase, I want to share my personal history with Trog-Lo-Dytes and how they played a part in me becoming a candy collector.
Sometime back in the 1970’s, I was a wee lad shopping with my family at our local Tempo retail store when I spotted a compelling bit of candy packaging on one of the candy isle shelves. At the time, I probably looked a little something like this:
Tempo was the first big retail store to hit our small Nebraska town in the late 1960’s, though stores like K-Mart and ALCO would follow a decade later and by the early 1980’s Tempo was gone.
So it was that I picked up that oddly-compelling bit of candy packaging with the strange illustration that decades later I would learn was a Trog-Lo-Dyte Action Pack. I remember intently investigating the package for a few moments and finally asking if I could have it. Receiving a parental veto of said purchase left me gazing upon this colorful oddity one final time before placing it back on the shelf, likely to never see it again. But something about the artwork or the function of the packaging struck me, because the memory of it stayed with me even though the shape and form of that recollection would mutate over the years.
Decades later, when I embraced the hobby of candy, I sought to bring focus to that blurry memory. The quest to bring clarity to my childhood confectionery mysteries is what initially prompted me to become a collector, and this was one of the big ones.
At the time, my foggy memory recalled a rectangular package with sideways opening flaps that somehow visually transformed a grasshopper illustration into a merged grasshopper-motorcycle centaur-like creature. The name “Grasschopper” was part of it somehow and remained clear in my brain over the years.
So with that scrap of memory, I put the question of this strange Mad Fold-In like candy package to the Cerealbits.com forum hoping someone would have the answers I was seeking. It was there that my buddy (and Mr. Toast creator) Dan Goodsell concluded that what I was describing sounded a lot like a Trog-Lo-Dyte package.
Dan’s tip would quickly lead to more information and eventually I would find my “Grasschopper” Trog-Lo-Dyte Action Pack, though it wasn’t exactly as I remembered. Rather than rectangular it was square, and instead of side flaps it featured cut-outs that allowed a sliding panel to change the artwork.
The following is an animated GIF of the Grasschopper Trog-Lo-Dyte package:
Here’s a side view series of photos, showing how a Trog-Lo-Dyte package functioned:
So I finally had my answer in hand and it was awesome. It was the culmination of a search and the answer to a confectionery mystery that began decades earlier in my youth. It was also the first time I learned that memory does not always get things as right as you think and that sometimes it invents details that never were.
The confectionery product included within the Trog-Lo-Dyte Action Pack package was a simple piece of milk chocolate. I don’t know exactly how it was placed within the package, as I’ve never found an unopened Trog-Lo-Dyte package or seen photos of one, and I don’t have any memory of the chocolate itself. I assume it was tucked in between the movable back and front panel, though that’s just a guess.
Pangburn created Trog-Lo-Dytes to be collectible, as there were at least 46 different versions (I have 35 different in my collection) and each one was numbered. The artwork and humor across the Trog-Lo-Dytes Action Packs presents quite a range and unfortunately I don’t know who any of the artists were. If anyone out there knows who they might be, leave a comment or send me an e-mail.
Now it’s time to get to the fun – here are all of the Pangburn Trog-Lo-Dytes packs I’ve found over the years:
Aren’t those great? As I was scanning all of these and bringing them together for today’s post, I noticed something I was never aware of previously – that each Trog-Lo-Dyte Action Pack has a variation!
I don’t know which came first, but apparently Trog-Lo-Dytes were printed with and without the “Keep on Troggin'” slogan on the back. I have several examples of both versions of the same pack within my collection – here’s an example of one of them:
So, while a “complete set” of Trog-Lo-Dytes could amount to 46 different Action Packs, if you add in the Keep on Troggin’ variation, that number doubles to 92! As for me, I’ll be quite thrilled to one day find the 11 missing packs that will complete my collection, variation or no.
I was a bit curious as to how these Trog-Lo-Dytes Action Packs were constructed so I unfolded one and was surprised at how simple it was. No glue is used in the construction as everything is held together by cleverly engineered folds. Here’s a look at one unfolded and flat:
As you can see, some of the artwork has been scraped off, likely due to repeated use of the movable panel.
Because of my childhood encounter with them, Trog-Lo-Dytes will always be a special part of my collection and a confectionery release I’ll hold close to my heart. I think they’re a unique and special offering that deserves to be remembered.
That’s everything I’ve currently got and have been able to figure out about Pangburn’s Trog-Lo-Dytes Action Packs. I hope everyone enjoyed the look at this unique bit of confectionery packaging that is the Mad magazine fold-in of candy – Pangburn’s Trog-Lo-Dytes Action Packs!
See you next time!