It’s Oscar Sunday, and on a night that celebrates the cinema, I’d like to celebrate a few pieces of candy packaging that have a Hollywood connection.
In a way, so much of the vintage candy I talk about is connected to the movies. After all, how many of our favorite confectionery treats were consumed during matinees in dark theaters?
I can easily recall a few Summer Saturdays where my brother and I would settle in for a Sinbad adventure or later when Star Wars exploded into my young world through the power of the silver screen. On those days, I’d usually pick a Sprite along with a box of Hot Tamales or Milk Duds to join me for the fun.
Though I don’t have any vintage photos from inside my childhood movie theater, Jim French allowed me to share one of his, from a family album. It features his theater’s snack bar, as his grandmother looks on (she was manager of the theater at the time.) I think this captures the era so well – look at all of those great old candy boxes!:
Candy and the movies just go together – it’s a magic combination. So it should come as no surprise then, that candy makers have often made overt efforts to solidify their cinematic relationship.
With a name like Movietime, it’s clear that the Walter Johnson Candy company was hoping to get this one into pictures, or at least into picture houses.
And how about Fenn’s Big Bogie – do you think they wanted to tie into the name of the man who won an Oscar in 1951 for The African Queen?
Another wrapper I found in my files might not be connected to the movies at all, though I’m confident the name is a less-obvious riff on the love of celebrity.
A far more obvious connection to Oscar night comes out of the candy bars produced by the Hollywood Candy company. When I first started collecting candy packaging, I wasn’t familiar with the name, but I did know a few of their brands.
The Hollywood Candy company was founded in 1912, and through most of the twentieth century, they were one of the largest confectionery companies in the United States. Producing popular brands such as Zero, Butter-Nut, and PayDay, they also had a namesake bar – Hollywood.
Here’s a later Hollywood wrapper featuring a dramatically different design:
Though they were still producing candy bars as late as the 1980’s, the Hollywood Candy Company isn’t around anymore. Only a pair of their classic bars still exist, Zero and Payday, and those are now produced and sold by Hershey.
So that’s all for today’s Oscar-inspired entry.
I love the magic of the movies, so I’ll be sitting down tonight to watch the Oscars – I’m also curious to see Billy Crystal back as host. I think it’s going to be fun.
Finally, one of my favorite vintage Hollywood Candy ads. It features a memorable trio I call “The Wrangler Girls”: