Twelve Days of Christmas: Uncovering Wonka’s 1991 Christmas Boxes!

CC_WonkaChristmasEarly90's_TITLE PLATEI’ve often pointed out that where candy packaging is concerned sometimes tracking down a specific piece can be much like archaeology. Oftentimes you start without any hard evidence that a piece existed at all. Sometimes that first evidence is a photo or the mention of the product on a list or ad. In some instances the path to discovery can take a good deal of time, a good deal of luck, or both.

Such was the case with the subject of today’s post; a pair of holiday-themed Willy Wonka candy boxes from the early 1990’s that I recently had the pleasure of uncovering.

Before April of 2012, I’d never heard of the two holiday Wonka boxes I’m going to cover today. It was then that fellow enthusiast Brandon Coker e-mailed to share an image he found from an old newspaper archive, featuring two Christmas Wonka boxes neither of us recalled or had ever come across. This was the image he sent:

Willy Wonka Christmas candy box newspaper ad - 1991

Willy Wonka Christmas candy box newspaper ad – 1991 – Image courtesy Brandon Coker

As you can see, that first look was less-than-ideal. Like looking through a picture window in a blizzard there was so much to see but still so much obscured in this fax-like image of a 20+ year-old newspaper clipping. The exciting thing about it was simply learning of the existence of these Wacky Wafers Fruit Flurries and Runts Merry Mix boxes at all, along with the images of them (even if the images were less-than-ideal.) And yes, there’s a Christmas Gobstoppers box in there too, but that’s a story for another time.

Since first glimpsing these boxes in that ad early last year, I wondered when or if I’d ever find them. Surprisingly, I only had to wait 18 months to finally uncover examples of both the Runts Merry Mix and Wacky Wafers Fruit Flurries boxes. I was excited to add them to my collection and I’m thrilled to be able to share high-quality images of both of these festive holiday Wonka boxes with you today – and here they are:

Sunmark - Willy Wonka's - Runts Merry Mix - 3.2 oz Christmas candy box - 1990

Sunmark – Willy Wonka’s – Runts Merry Mix – 3.2 oz Christmas candy box – 1990

Sunmark - Willy Wonka's - Wacky Wafer Fruit Flurries - 3.2 oz Christmas candy box - 1990

Sunmark – Willy Wonka’s – Wacky Wafer Fruit Flurries – 3.2 oz Christmas candy box – 1990

Pretty snazzy-looking boxes, don’t you think?  After wondering about these boxes for so long, it was incredibly satisfying to finally see them in all their colorful glory. I hope you enjoyed seeing them, too.

It’s great to be able to say that Merry Runts and Wacky Wafer Fruit Flurries can now be added to the list of found-and-documented vintage candy packages.  But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that for every piece found, there are even more waiting to be discovered.  So while this hunt has concluded, the quest to find the next unknown or forgotten candy package is just beginning!

And that’s everything for today’s entry in our Twelve Days of Christmas. See you next time!

About Jason Liebig

A New York City based writer, editor and sometimes actor. After spending much of the 1990′s in the comic book business helping tell the stories of Marvel Comics’ X-Men as series editor, he has since split his time between developing his own entertainment properties while still consulting and working on others. Having been described as “the Indiana Jones of lost and forgotten candy”, Jason is one of the country’s premier candy collectors and historians with his discoveries appearing in countless blogs, magazines, newspaper articles, and books. Always happy to share his knowledge and unique perspectives on this colorful part of our popular culture, Jason has consulted with New York’s Museum of Food and Drink and has also been a featured guest on Food Network’s Heavyweights, France’s M6 Capital, and New York’s My Google Profile+
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7 Responses to Twelve Days of Christmas: Uncovering Wonka’s 1991 Christmas Boxes!

  1. Brandon says:

    Great finds! Have a merry Christmas!

  2. luke says:

    great finds!! always love seeing nineties wonka rarities!

  3. Todd says:

    So cool to see a newly discovered Wonka artifact!

  4. Nick says:

    Oh, my…I just remembered something about 2000/2001’s Christmas box.

    The whole thing was wrapped with a “bow” that looked like the gates to the Wonka factory (two pieces of cardboard that interlocked, but you get the idea).

    You opened the gates, and saw a large flap with a snow-covered silhouette of the factory and Wonka in his flying Wonkamobile, delivering presents a la Santa.

    You lifted the flap, and on the inside of it was the factory’s “main hall,” with the biggest, most ornate tree you ever saw, with Oompa-Loompas still decorating it.

    And within…Special, Christmas-themed Nerds and Runts, decked out in red, white, and green.

    Here’s where it gets pretty neat: When you ate the candy, you received two passwords: “DANDY CANDY” and “WONKA WONDERLAND.”

    These passwords were level-skip codes in a Christmas game, which I will describe now:

    You, an Oompa-Loompa, possess the star for Willy Wonka’s Christmas tree, but you got lost from your group. You have to get the star back to the factory in time!

    SCENE ONE: Climb up a mountain, and be sure to watch out for mountain goats and falling boulders.

    SCENE TWO: Get on a toboggan and go down the other side of the mountain.

    SCENE THREE: Traverse an icy river (basically “Frogger”) and get to the factory.

    The whole game was timed, so if you hit obstacles…watch those precious seconds burn. “DANDY CANDY” allowed you to skip Scene One with full time intact; “WONKA WONDERLAND” did the same for Scene Two.

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