Mid-20th Century “Sweeties” – Part 2 ~ by Pam Crooks

If you read my post last month, “Satisfying that Old-Time Craving for Sweeties” (you can read it here), you’ll know that I wrote about the different candies that housewives made based on an old cookbook from the 1888.  It was fascinating to learn what satisfied their sweet tooth, the popular flavors at the time, and how they even made their own chewing gum!

This month, we’ll move up into the 20th century, and I suspect many of you will come walking down memory lane with me.  After our country emerged from the Depression and the Second World War, America prospered. Industrialization flourished. With more women working outside the home, families had more expendable income. And treats like the following fast became favorites.

Mid-century, the big super stores hadn’t arrived yet. I’ll bet you had a little mom-and-pop market in your neighborhood. I sure did, and it’s one of my fondest memories.

Only three blocks away from where we lived, a group of us kids would walk down to the “Little Store” with our pennies in hand. The store owner, Mr. Mueller, had the patience of a saint. He’d stand quietly by while we poured over all the different candies he offered, and oh, the choices were such sweet torture! Red licorice was a favorite of mine – one penny each – and no, they weren’t wrapped individually then like they are now.

Are you ready to stroll with me?

BB Bats taffy originated in 1924. Eventually the suckers evolved into Kits. Banana was always my favorite.  What was yours?


This was my favorite gum ever!  To this day, black licorice any way I can get it is my salvation.


Another favorite from the 1950s. Very similar to a Butterfinger candy bar and coated in coconut.  At one time, a chicken was part of the label, but customers thought it was a chicken-flavored cracker (of all things) so the chicken was removed.


Root Beer will always be a favorite for me!  My dad would carry a couple of these in his pocket. What a treat when he surprised me with one!

Of all of these candies, this one was probably my least favorite.  I’m not sure why – it was good, but I guess there was something about that raspberry liquid oozing out that steered me away. But definitely a classic!

These were so fun!  Ice cream cones with marshmallow dusted with sugar crystals. 

A roll of candy with this many pieces always seemed like a bargain to me.  I still see them now and again in specialty stores.

Oh, butterscotch.  Be still my heart!!  Root beer was a close second for me.  Cinnamon, not so much.

It’s a wonder I didn’t pull out a filling with these suckers!  But licking this caramel-flavored candy until it was gone could take hours!  Yet another classic.

Do these “sweeties” bring back memories for you?  Even my husband had fun reminiscing with me!  

What was your favorite candy that you spent your pennies on while growing up? 

Let’s reminiscence, and I’ll send one of you this four pack of Regal Crown candy from 1953!  (Now THIS is what sour cherry candy was meant to be!!)

Comin’ up next month – Classic Christmas Candy in 2020!

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Pam has written 30 romances, most of them historical westerns, but her newest releases are contemporary sweet romances featuring the Blackstone Ranch series published by Tule Publishing. Stay up on the latest at www.pamcrooks.com

48 thoughts on “Mid-20th Century “Sweeties” – Part 2 ~ by Pam Crooks”

    • Oh, I believe it, Denise! That Sugar Daddy would cling and hang on, wouldn’t it? But oh, so tasty, and kept us licking for a long, long time.

      I loved me a candy necklace, too. Our necks would get sticky after munching and licking. We always felt so pretty when wearing one. A genius invention for little girls, don’t you think? 🙂

  1. I loved getting a Sugar Daddy, then seeing how long I could keep it. Tootsie rolls, and lollipops. A jawbreaker would last a very long time.

    • Good morning, Veda! To this day, I still love Tootsie rolls. Tootsie pops – the chocolate ones – were the best. I couldn’t wait to get into that Tootsie roll in the middle. Ha!

    • What, Laura??? You didn’t like Blackjack gum?? Ooooh, so good! But then, anything black licorice has my name on it to this day.

      Aw, don’t feel old. I think we’re about the same age. It’s fun to walk down memory lane!

    • We never, ever got pop, anxious58. Not until we were much older. Although my mom made Kool-Aid almost daily. All that sugar – my goodness!

      I remember vividly the first time I ever had a Mountain Dew. What a treat! It was in a little gas station diner, and my dad took us all out to lunch. Something else we rarely did. No wonder that sticks in my mind as a great memory.

    • LOL! Ah, yes, the candy cigarettes! Since at the time, both of my parents smoked (very, very common back then), us kids knew just how to hold the cigarette. Remember how you could make it puff every time you exhaled? LOL. I’m sure parents nowadays would shudder at that subtle encouragement to smoke.

  2. The closest store when I was growing up was 5 mi. away. So didn’t get to go much. Did love Black Jack gum. Do you remember Teaberry Gum?

    • Hmm. Teaberry doesn’t trip a memory, Estella, but I just did a quick Google search. It was first made in 1900, so it ranks up there as a classic gum. No doubt it was displayed with Black Jack and the others. And the wrapper DOES look a little familiar, now that I think about it.

  3. I was always fond of the Squirrels penny candy haven’t seen them in years. There was a country store right across the road from us and if we got a nickel we would go over there and buy us something. Most of the time we would buy the Big Time candy bar because it was the biggest candy bar she had at the store.

    • Oh, I love your memories, Quilt Lady! I Googled Big Time candy bar. It was gone by the time I was buying penny candy, but you’re right – you could buy one for 3 cents, which undercut the Hersheys/Mars bar selling for a nickel. It was around in the 30s up until 1955 (when I was born) or so.

      So, yes, you would’ve spent your three pennies wisely because it was indeed a big candy bar!!!

      A little trivia about Squirrel candy…officially called Squirrel Nut Zippers, it was named in the 1920s after an illicit drink during Prohibition! Amazingly, it’s been around until 2018 when they the company ended their operation. Fascinating!

      Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Red candy coins, mallow and peanut butter cups, Bun bars yum! Haystacks, Pixie sticks, Chunky Bars, licorice, Starks..

    • Smarties are another good one, Debra. I actually gave those out at Halloween these year. They never go out of style!

      Good to know about Cracker Barrel! It’d make a fun little gift to fill a bag with old-time candies for Christmas. Hmm. Now you’ve got me scheming . . .

  5. Don’t enter – I don’t do Cherry!! But Dad’s Root Beer is made here in Indiana – love seeing all of these old candies!

  6. I lost a tooth on a Milk Dud once. One milk dud ended up costing me over $800.
    But that’s not the topic.
    I remember ALL OF THESE, Pam. Wow, I THOUGHT CHICK O STICKS was chicken flavored and never tried them. Seriously, they’re not? I just figured it was some kind of salty snack thing.
    Root beer barrels. Yum.

    What was my favorite childhood candy….we were really poor. Candy was a HUGE treat. I remember I loved those coconut candies, soft–they looked like little haystacks. gosh what were they called?

    I think my dad would bring them home like…once a year…hoping we WOULDN’T like them so he’d get to eat them–I’m from a family of eight kids. But of course we all learned FAST to love them.
    We got those hard candies that looked like bright ribbons in a sack at Christmas, along with unshelled nuts and an orange or apple.

    Still thinking. What fun to think about CANDY!!!

    • Yep, Mary! Chick O Sticks had nothing to do with chicken flavor!! Talk about bad marketing. Think of all the kids they lost as customers who were fussy eaters, right?

      I’m guessing the coconut haystacks were called that. I couldn’t find them the original candy on Google, but tons of recipes came up that were called coconut haystacks.

      My grandmother would have those ribbon hard candies at Christmas. They were very festive, but not a favorite of mine. And oh, we had oranges and apples, too! To this day, we hand them out to our married kids to keep our tradition alive.

      Unshelled nuts is another one! My mother would put them in her big Pyrex bowl and set them under the Christmas tree. Another treasured memory.

      Our generation lived much simpler lives. Fresh oranges were a treat…just like they were on the frontier.

      Thanks for the memories, Mary!

  7. I miss those treats and those days very much. I would indulge in caramilk bars, any type of chocolate bars would be great.

  8. Your post is wonderful and gives me warmth since the treats and the times certainly are remembered fondly. I enjoyed Jujubes, and bubble dubble gum.

    • Oh, Jujubes! Yes! Man, that’s a name from the past. Alas, I had very little bubble gum in my youth. My mother insisted it was too hard on our teeth. But I remember that pretty pink color with the crease down the middle. And didn’t it have a little comic book or something in the wrapper?

    • Yep! I think Oh, Henry bars are still around, aren’t they? Except Google tells me they aren’t, anymore. They were first made in 1920, and no one seems to know who the “Henry” was for sure. That would be interesting trivia.

      I’m with ya on the licorice! Black, of course!!

  9. I remember all of these – also teaberry gum, Beeman’s gum, Chocolate mint sticks, and the round candies that looked like they had flowers on the flat surface. Necco wafers were used when playing receiving Communion; Butterscotch candies were the best, and I loved Blackjack gum. I think Australian black licorice is the closest to it in taste! Can still find many of these in the Vermont Company Catalog. Bonomo’s turkish taffee and Bit-O- Honey could definitely help pull out a loose tooth.

    • Hmm. Round candies with something like a flower in the center. That sounds vaguely familiar to me. I couldn’t find anything on the Internet, but there was something…..

      Yes!! The Vermont Company catalog was my inspiration for this blog. Such fun to browse their candy selections.

      I had to smile at your Necco wafers for practicing Communion – they are the perfect size. LOL!

  10. Oh what memories! We had “the corner store” and there were so many choices. Remember candy cigarettes or those little wax Coke bottles? I remember so much of what you mentioned, plus JuJuBees (way to pull out a tooth, that was a candy that lasted until you pried those little things out of your teeth), Mary Janes, Bit O’Honey, Big Daddy, dots on paper, big grape gumballs (that my grandmother said made her want to throw up; sometimes she was a scary grandma!) and my all-time favorite Fireball gumballs. You can get Fireball hard candy now but not the gumballs. I would probably still chew them today if I could find them. :-).

  11. I ate everyone of those candies that was mentioned. I loved the Root beer barrels and the candy cigarettes.
    And of course, the chocolate Neccos.
    As for the gums, Cloves and Beeman’s gums were my favorites.

  12. I remember eating all those candies mentioned in your column. I spent my pennies on the root beer barrels, Bit O Honey and candy cigarettes. Probably a reason I love candy today. Those were the days when we could go to the Saturday matinee for twenty-five cents. Oh, I’m showing my age,

    • Oh, no. We went to the Saturday matinee for a DIME! So I’m really showing my age. LOL!

      And I’m with you on loving candy, Jackie. Especially this time of year.


  13. Hi Pam! Oh was this ever a walk down memory lane. I liked Black Jack gum and Cloves gum. Actually, I’d spend my pennies on Chic O Sticks too. Thank you for lightening my heart today with fun memories. What a sweet read!

  14. I loved the root beer barrels! Thank you so much for taking us down Sweet Memory Lane. Have a Great rest of the week and stay safe.

    • Another root beer barrel lover! Best wishes to you, too. Covid is setting records around here every day. Getting harder and harder to stay healthy and safe without becoming a total hermit!!

  15. What a great post!!! Some of these candies are new to me probably because of difference in location. Others are very familiar and brought back great memories. I, too, have seen many of these in the Vermont Country Store catalog. I wonder if Mary’s candy was the coconut bonbons our neighbor lady always gave us kids. I loved them even though one of my sisters didn’t. They are also in the catalog.

    • Hi, Alice! It seems you either love or hate coconut, (put me on the love scoreboard) but I’d love to try one of these haystacks. I’m curious what else is in them.

      So glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. I had to call my husband over when I started reading this so he could share. We both have such great memories. There was a little store near where he lived and there was a “store” right across the street from our elementary school. It was just a house and the couple had turned their closed in porch into a small candy store. I rarely had one to spend, but when I did, my favorites were the BB Bats, the ice cream cones, root bear barrels, Mary Janes, the dot candies on a strip of paper, and candy cigarets. My husband added the wax bottles with “soda” inside and Fire Balls. Necco wafers were and are an all time favorite. I was so upset when they stopped production. Luckily the brand was purchased and will be out soon if it isn’t already. I hope they also put out the conversation hearts at Valentines. I recognize the SloPokes. I liked the Sugar Daddy (Junior and large) and Sugar Babies. How could I have forgotten Tootsie rolls. They are still a guilty pleasure. Obviously, It was hard to make a choice the few times I did have money. If I was lucky enough to have a nickel and felt extravagant, I would buy a Hershey Bar.

    Thank you so much for the enjoyable walk down memory lane. We both really enjoyed it. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas Season. Stay safe and healthy.

    • Oh, Patricia, you warmed my heart when you shared my blog with your hubby! I must admit I brainstormed with my hubby, too, while pulling this together. Neither of us had any money when we were growing up, but he had a good memory for some of the candies I forgot.

      I can just see the little store on the porch! Things were much simpler back then, weren’t they? Folks just did with what they had. No one heard of malls or strip malls or plazas back then.

      I loved hearing from you, as always!

  17. My two favorites were Sugar Daddy and Black Cow. Both were day-long suckers and would last for several days if “treasured” appropriately ?

  18. I had a Mom/Pop store across the street. My Mom would only let me go over on occasion. We knew the owners. I would by Bazooka bubble gum. It was one cent. I also liked Sweet Tarts and Boston Baked Beans. Occasionally, I would be allowed to get a candy bar. It would be a Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar.

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