See that Opal Fruits wrapper? Those sweets were made to make your mouth water. Others from days gone by were designed to knock your teeth out. Who hasn’t got nostalgic about sweets that have been confined to the great corner shop in the sky, writes Jon Wilde.
You knew you’d had a toffee when you’d had a Toffo. Tough as old boots, they required patient sucking until the chewing could commence. The traditional toffee Toffo endures to this day, but the Assorted variety, complete with strawberry, chocolate and banana flavours are, sadly, a distant memory.
A bubble gum and a comic all in one, Bazooka Joe launched in the US shortly after WW2, and became a sensation among British kids looking to adopt some American cool. Such was its dry, flaky consistency that blowing bubbles with it was a highly prized art. The miniature comic strip always raised a laugh. As if that wasn’t enough, wrapper coupons could be collected to secure tantalising, state-of-the-art prizes. X-Ray specs that enabled the wearer to see through clothes was, unsurprisingly, a hugely popular choice. With a Bazooka Joe movie in the planning stages, a triumphant return to the nation’s tuck shops should not be ruled out.
“Comes up peanuts slice after slice,” boasted the adverts. If you preferred your peanuts buried in layers of nougat and caramel, then encased in a tranquil milk chocolate, you couldn’t go wrong with Marathon. Then, in 1990, the Mars parent company renamed the bar Snickers to align it to their global brand. Marathon die-hards swore blind that the new bar was smaller and less nutty though there is absolutely no evidence for this.
Everyone who was at school in the 80s remembers the mighty Wham bar but fewer recollect its rare sister sweet – the Gorgo bar. Measuring in at the same gargantuan proportions as the Wham, the Gorgo was a sour lime green strip of chewy toffee laced with black incendiary fizzy bits. The wrapper depicted a giant lizard creature, which was fitting really because this slab of confectionary was a real monster. You would go to work on it at first break, revisit it at lunch and then again at home time, but the beast would always live to fight another day. Sadly, the Gorgo is now extinct. All that’s left of it are fond memories, a fair amount of dental treatment and a handful of nostalgic pleas for its return online.
“A man’s gotta chew what a man’s gotta chew,” proclaimed the TV ads, featuring a cartoon cowboy tied to the stake. Offered a last request by blood-thirsty bandits, he chose a Texan bar, taking so long to devour it that the bandits fell asleep and he was able to make his getaway. This chocolate covered nougat/toffee delicacy lived up to its billing as the bar that lasted longest, easily outpacing its mid-70s rival, the Yorkie. The Texan sadly faded into obscurity in the 1980s. Relaunched as a limited edition in 2005, it then returned to that great conveyor belt in the sky where it remains to this day. Gone but never forgotten.
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