A Quick Taste of Counter-Culture Candy — Or When Social Movements Become Tasty Treats!

I wanted to share something quick and fun today, so I came up with two pieces that reflect the counter-culture movement of the 60’s and 70’s, albeit in a small way.

Hippies – what can I say?  I grew up with them in the 70’s, and I kinda dig ‘em.

First up is something from the makers of Smarties (the USA sugar tablet version, not the M&M-like Smarties available everywhere else on the globe).  We all know candy necklaces and in 1970’s the Ce De Candy Company offered up these groovy “Candy Love Beads”:

Ce De Candy Inc – Candy Love Beads – trade ad – August 1970

Yes, you could indeed be a cool cat with your candy necklace in 1970.  I’m sure the Haight-Ashbury crowd would have enjoyed love beads they could eat.  Seriously.

The other piece I have for today is an odd one, and it’s where today’s wonderful little shirtless mascot originates from.  Feast your eyes on Gypsy Boots:

Gypsy Boots – Gypsy Boots Energy Bar – candy bar wrapper – 1970’s

Sure, it’s as much energy/health food bar as it is a candy bar, but that’s fine.  It’s still awesome, and awesomely weird.

[Edit:  I somehow missed the Wikipedia entry and dedicated site for Mr. Gypsy Boots, famous alternative health food guru.   - check it out here and here.]

It’s always interesting when a cultural or societal movement eventually becomes a way to market products, especially products for kids, like candy.  It eventually happened with the counter-culture of the 60’s and 70’s with things like Ce De’s Love Beads (though Gypsy Boots was authentically produced by one of the very first health-food enthusiasts).   Tick forward a bit more, and you’ll find that the Punk Rock movement became very marketed, along with skateboarding, rap and hip-hop, and so much more.  Just about any social movement or trend can and will eventually become used to market products.   Which isn’t to say it’s a bad thing, because that’s sort of how our consumer culture operates, but I find it fascinating and fun.

One last fun bit for today… a perfect example of the punk rock movement being altered and used to market a candy product.  Here is one of my favorite 1980’s candy pieces – a box for Willy Wonka’s Punkys:

Sunmark – Wonka – Punkys candy box – 1986

I hope my gum-collecting pal (and punk rock pioneer) Jeff Nelson will appreciate that one.

And that’s all for today.  Thanks for dropping in!

By the way – still working on that “whopper” of a feature-length piece for this week, but it’s not quite done.   It’s turning out to be a bit more research and time-intensive than I had planned.  But all in the service of coming up with something really cool.  Sorry for the delay but stay tuned.

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 A Quick Taste of Counter-Culture Candy — Or When Social Movements Become Tasty Treats!

  1. Leonard Kallok says:

    A strange item that I saw in the late 60’s but never bought was the “Hippie Hypo” – one of those “what were they thinking of?” pieces that was soon pulled off the market because of the obvious drug conotation. It was a clear plastic syringe shaped object filled with tiny round cake decks candy. I remember reading about the controversy surrounding the product, but have never been able to tract down any history. The “Hypo” was placed right out there with the standard candies and was not a headshop novelty.

  2. Pingback: Halloween Smarties from the 80′s! | CollectingCandy.com

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