In the original 1971 film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the Wonka Bar was one of the major bars that the kids around the world bought, hunting for a Golden Ticket. But when the real-world Wonka brand launched in early 1972, it launched with the Super Skrunch and Peanut Butter Oompas – there was no namesake Wonka Bar included. At least not at first.
Right around 1975 or 1976 however, Concorde Confections launched a lineup of four-flavors of simply-named Wonka Bars. I’ve been looking for a wrapper for one of these for years.
The Wonka Bars of the mid-1970’s were a taffy type of confection, and they’re ones I remember enjoying, too. Based on what I’ve been able to research though, I don’t think they were around all that long.
In my years of collecting and talking with other folks about 1970’s Wonka, there aren’t that many people that even remember these. As for turning up wrappers from them, I’d never been able to find an image of one, let alone an actual example, until earlier this year. Finally, from out of the L.M. Kallok Confectionery Collection came not one, but four examples of 1970’s Wonka Bar wrappers – one representing each flavor released.
Removing a wrapper from a taffy bar is notoriously difficult, and the examples from the Kallok Collection reflect this – none of them are entirely intact. Two of them are cut down to just the front sections. And here they are:
Easily one of the most striking wrappers to come out of the 1970’s candy decade, the Wonka Bar features a logo with a bit of a neon/disco look to it. To my eye, the whole thing really pops. I think it’s awesome.
Using the scans of the partial wrappers I have, I wanted to create a composite of a completely intact 1970’s Wonka Bar wrapper – so I did:
I seem to recall that, as a kid, my favorite was the vanilla flavor of these, but it’s a distant memory. Even so, seeing them now after so many years is incredibly satisfying, and takes me back.
These probably lasted two or three years at most, and certainly didn’t make it past the late-1970’s. By 1980, these would be gone, and the world would be without a proper Wonka Bar once again.
After today, the original Wonka Bar with its striking wrapper and assorted flavors, need not be forgotten any longer.
If anyone has fond memories of this one, please leave a comment.
Very cool! Thanks for the Wonka memories. I vaguely remember these too. Good job on the reconstruct. I’ll have to feature this on my 70s site. =)
Yeah , I love the look of these , they’re great
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Think about this — the logo is made to look like a neon sign with the word “Bar” in it. Thus with the dark background, it is made to evoke the look of a tavern at night. — Pretty provocative for a kids’ candy product! That’s something that they couldn’t get away with today!
So they never had a Wonka Bar that looks like the one in the movie? That really surprises me. Didn’t they release some commemorative bars around the time Burton’s Wonka came out?
Yeah they had Nutty Crunch Surprise, Triple Dazzle Caramel, and Whipple Scrumptious Fudgemellow Delight released as real bars in UK, and some original flavors in Japan too.
That logo/font is super cool! Nice find!
Wow! I nice packaging design. My friend said when the movie was first released in theaters back in the early 70’s there was an intermition half way through and they had Wonka candy for sale at the theater for the kids. How exciting? Do you have any Vintage or original Wonka memorabilia you’re interested in selling. If so, please email me. I don’t come across that stuff too often. Just thought I’d ask. Thanks for sharing!
There was a Wonka bar released at the time of the film release in 1971 made by The Quaker Oats Company that was very short-lived. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonka_Bar
Sarah, Thanks for the link. Unfortunately, Wiki entries on candy history tend to often be less-than-accurate.
That isn’t to say that such a Wonka bar never existed, but I suspect that what people are referring to Or remembering is the Wonka Super Skrunch bar, as the one that was distributed to theaters and later sold to stores.
There’s no record of Quaker pursuing a trademark for a Wonka bar, but you just never know. For now, the information you’ve shared adds another wrinkle to what I’ll call a “mythical” product. I hope one day I can. Cover evidence of it actually existing.
Here’s two non-wikipedia mentions of Quaker Oats and Wonka bars. http://www.timburtoncollective.com/articles/catcf1.html
Neither of these sites actually say what the original Wonka bar was like, but since the Scrumdidilyumptious was around for years, I’m betting that’s not the one they’re referring to. I recently read Ray Broekel’s Candy Bar Book, and it seems like he may even have mentioned it. I know I read about the partnership somewhere not too long ago, anyway.
Those other two links are just all referencing the same thing; this vague mention from the documentary of “Wonka bars” being given away in theaters. This is how candy history is mythologized. But Internet mentions are not hard evidence.
Broekel’s book is a source that you can trust as well-researched, and he indicates that Skrunch and Oompas were the Wonka products at launch. He doesn’t mention the existence of a true “Wonka bar” from that period, and if anyone would have known about it, I’d have counted on him to be the guy who would.
I have industry trades that cover the release of the film and touch upon the theater “sampling program” but they are not specific to what was sampled.
Ive contacted Quaker and they have no record of this kind of bar being produced, though I suspect they have few existing records from the period, anyway.
While it is not out of the realm of possibility that a Wonka bar was produced and given out at theaters, chances are that what was given out were early versions of the Wonka Skrunch.
The idea of these mythical Wonka bars from theaters being real is a fun one, and I would love to see one surface.
But like the myth of the 16″ Marathon bar (only sold in California 7-Elevens), and similar tales born on the net: You can’t disprove them, and people remember what they remember, but sadly that’s often not accurate.
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I need to revive this post to clarify about the bar. Actually, yes, there WAS a real Wonka bar in 1971. I had to go to Newspapers.com to refresh my then-8-yr-old brain to remember the exact time of the promotion. At the time the movie came out (which I never got to see until I was in my 20s!!) Burger Chef had a limited-time promotion where kids got 1 free Willy Wonka’s Super Skrunch bar with any purchase. I just now found the ad in the 12 December 1971 Corpus Christi Caller-Times (TX), but where I got mine was in our town, Covington, KY. So this offer was apparently at all Burger Chef restaurants. The ad shows a drawing of the candy bar in its wrapper.
I remember the day we went. My mom was baby-sitting her two stepdaughters, who were 5 months older and 3 years younger than me. We ordered the small hamburgers to-go, but Mom gave each of us kids money to buy our hamburger, so we’d each get a free Wonka bar. As we were getting into the car, I realized I had enough allowance change in my purse to buy another (about 25 cent) hamburger and get another free candy bar. So Mom waited while I went back in and ordered another. When I got back in the car, 5-year-old Lisa was furious that I had TWO candy bars. Mom replied that I’d used my own money to buy it, so it was fair I had two. Along with the free candy bar, we also got a golden-colored piece of paper that was made out to be like a Golden Ticket. It actually said “Golden Ticket” on it. But instead of a free trip to Wonka’s factory, it was just a promotion to buy a candy mold kit, to make your own candy at home. I didn’t order that. After this free candy bar promotion, I remember seeing the candy for sale in stores and sometimes at quick serve sit-down restaurants. In 1974 we moved several states away and I don’t remember seeing Super Skrunch after that.
I just realized you meant the title of the BAR to be “Wonka Bar”–not the BRAND. It’s interesting that when the Wonka-BRAND bars were first released, it was under the brand “Willy Wonka’s” but somewhere in time it was just shortened to “Wonka’s.”
Yes, and I mention Super Skrunch in the opening paragraph of the post. So I did cover that.
You can find my detailed history of the Super Skrunch bar elsewhere on the site here:
The Willy Wonka brand retained the possessive moniker “Willy Wonka’s” until several years after Nestle had acquired the company (in the early 90’s). Then, in the late 1990’s, they finally rebranded to a singular “Wonka”.
I’m surprised there aren’t more Wonka wrappers around, because they came with the candy making kit. I remember pouring the chocolate in the molds, then packaging it!