Yesterday’s Valentine’s post was all about Sweethearts, but I have confess to unconsciously dropping the “h” and “e” and typing SweeTARTS instead, several times when drafting it. Guess I was just excited about today’s post which is dedicated to Sweetarts Hearts and a few other Willy Wonka Valentine’s treats!
Sweetarts were first introduced to the marketplace in 1963 (yes, it will be Sweetarts’ 50th Anniversary this year!). I’m not sure when they first did a special Sweetarts package for Valentine’s Day, but the earliest I’ve ever come across is this small one from right around 1970:
I really dig the graphic of the peace heart on that pack. I should note that while the packaging had Valentine graphics, that was still a pack for standard Sweetarts candy.
The earliest Sweetarts specialty Valentine’s candies I have evidence of is from 1977, for Sweetarts Hearts. As you might expect, these were heart-shaped Sweetarts sold during the lead-up to the Valentine’s Day holiday. I’m excited to share this 1977 package as you won’t find it anywhere else – it’s a CollectingCandy.com exclusive! Check it out:
Take note of the inverted heart shape for the “A” in Hearts. As I’ll be showing, that graphic touch would continue to be used for the next 30 years on Sweetarts Hearts packages.
Two years later in 1979 Sunline would introduce a boxed version of miniature Sweetarts Hearts. Though this is from an era long before Sweetarts were an official part of the Wonka brand, I can’t help but think of the mascot on this box as some kind of alternate-universe Cockney version of Wonka:
I am fortunate to have one of those 1979 boxes in my collection (and it’s another exclusive you won’t find anywhere else!):
It’s safe to say that Sweetarts Hearts became an annual holiday release for Sunline, though the next piece I can share with you comes from a few years later. This one comes courtesy of my good pal Brandon Coker and is for a chewy variety of Sweetarts Hearts:
From here, I have to jump a full twenty years forward for the next iteration of Sweetarts Hearts I could find. And that’s not because there weren’t Sweetarts Hearts being made during that twenty year gap. It’s just that no packages for those years have surfaced just yet. So if you find one – let me know!
This next example of Sweetarts Hearts comes from my friend and candy-blogger extraordinaire, Cybele. Back in 2007, she documented the boxed version of mini Sweetarts Hearts and I’m so glad she did as it allows me to show you the box today:
Please take note of the graphic touch of the inverted heart as the “A” in Hearts for the Sweetart Hearts logo. It’s great to see that carried on through multiple decades.
This next piece isn’t quite a Sweetarts Hearts, but it is an interesting Valentine’s Sweetarts piece and I wanted to include it here:
Next up is a box I know I have in my collection, but couldn’t locate for today’s post. It’s the modern packaging for Sweetart Hearts. This one comes from my always-gracious pal Sera and her Candy Enthusiast blog. Sadly, it seems the latest packaging redesign has finally done away with the inverted heart “A”. Still, it’s a great-looking box:
[Editor's Note: About two hours after posting today's entry, I was running errands and found evidence that the inverted heart graphic is still in-use for Wonka Sweetart Hearts - at least on some versions of the product. See pic.]
That brings us all the way up to the modern era of Sweetart Hearts. For the moment that’s the entirety of what I’ve uncovered regarding this Valentine’s Sweetarts specialty, but I hope to uncover more in the future. That 1988-2006 period is a big one to not have any Sweetarts Hearts examples from – so I gotta get to finding them. When I do, I’ll be sharing them here.
So while that wraps up my coverage of Sweetart Hearts, that’s not all I’ve got for today. Though there is an expanse of other Wonka-related Valentine’s goodies I could share, I wanted to select just a few that would be fun to see.
Jumping back to the 1990’s again I’ve got a trade clipping describing the Willy Wonka Valentine’s lineup for 1993 (for those who were here last year, I did include this in my 2012 Valentine’s post):
Lots of amazing pieces of packaging in that trade announcement – I’d love to find any one of them.
Finally, I have a pair of other Wonka-related heart-shaped candy offerings. First up, Runts Mini-Hearts:
Great to see all those old Runts mascots playing around with the hearts on the package.
My last piece to share today is another CollectingCandy.com exclusive, and it’s for Spree – though this is from a time before Spree was brought into the Wonka family. Very similar in the way that Sweetarts became a Wonka sub-brand decades after its introduction, so did Spree:
I like that one quite a lot.
That’s everything for this Valentine’s Day post – and it also wraps up our little four-day countdown to the holiday. However you celebrate Valentine’s Day, I hope you spend it happily and sweetly. That’s how I plan to be spending mine.
See you next time!