“Cause a little bit of summer is what the whole year is about.” –John Mayer
“I’m melting, melting, melting . . .” No it’s not the bad witch from the Wizard of Oz. It’s we chocolate bars! Come summer everyone is ready to ditch us because we melt in the heat. Hey, we get it! We do get gooey, lose our shape, stick to your fingers and aren’t too much fun when you find us flattened in your pocket or squished at the bottom of your purse.
We’re not happily packed in your beach bag, included on your summer picnic table, or thrown in your kid’s bat bag for a sweet tasty treat. No, we’re long forgotten. Or maybe if we’re really lucky, just chilled in your refrigerator. But it’s all good because we’re here to offer you some other alternative sweet treats for the Summertime Blues.
So let’s roll out “Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer” and enjoy candies like SweeTarts, which were created by Joseph Fish Smith, owner of Sunline Inc. in 1963 in response to parents wanting a less messy version of the well-liked Pixy Stix and Lik-M-Aid treats for their kids. The sweet and sour flavors were cherry, grape, lemon, lime and orange.
If you’re hooked on some “Hot Fun in the Summertime” without the chocolate mess, try packing Smarties Lollies, or Charms Blow Pops as a treat for your kids. My dad always had a huge plastic container of Smarties Lollies on top of the meat counter at our neighborhood store. Kids came in after school and bought them for a nickel a piece. (I’d bet a lot of lunch money went toward those purchases!) The Charms Blow Pops were made popular by The Charms Company and were the company’s best-selling product of all time. This first bubble gum filled lollipop was developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s by Ross Cameron, Walter Reid, and Vince Ciccone.
We’re into summer now so if you’re “Walkin on Sunshine” and looking for another melt-less confection, try sunny yellow, sweet and sour Lemonhead candy. Mmmmmm . . . I’d always buy a box of them at the matinee show at the Manos Theater when I was growing up. They were first introduced in 1962 by the Ferrara Candy Company. Salvatore Ferrara’s grandson was a forceps baby and he thought his grandson’s head looked lemon-shaped. Hence his inspiration for their candy name. Whenever I see a yellow and blue box I remember how they made my mouth pucker with their delicious bursts of flavor.
If you want to put a hot blast in those “Summer Nights,” have the courage to try some Atomic FireBalls, another candy produced by the Ferrara Candy Company back in 1954. In 1963 the following quote from a grocer appeared in a newspaper article: “They’re somewhat like jawbreakers . . . only hotter than &-$%!!” The heat comes from the capsaicin (a chili pepper extract) added to the candy, not the cinnamon.
So what are you waiting for? “Summer’s here and the time is right for Dancin’ in the Street.”
All we need is candy . . . sweet candy . . .
(Did you know the artists of the summertime songs throughout my article?)
Here they are:
“Summertime Blues,” 1958 by Eddie Cochran, then in 1967 by The Who.
“Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy, Days of Summer,” 1963 by Nat King Cole.
“Hot Fun in the Summertime,” 1969 by Sly and the Family Stone.
“Walkin on Sunshine,” 1985 by Katrina and the Waves.
“Summer Nights,” from Grease 1978 by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.
“Dancin’ in the Street,” 1964 by Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, then David Bowie and Mick Jagger in 1985.