Astronaut Neil Armstrong: 1930-2012

Neil Armstrong – NASA Photo

I was saddened to learn the news yesterday of the passing of Neil Armstrong.  The first man to step foot on the moon, he was a hero to countless people around the globe, including me.  So I felt I had to push back my planned post, and find a way to write about him today instead.

Though Armstrong has no direct ties to the world of confection that I’m aware of, candy makers and candy marketers were certainly as captivated by his accomplishments as the rest of the world was.   And that’s what I’ll be covering in today’s post.

I’m not old enough to remember the moon landing, as I was a young infant when it happened.  My mother tells me that she was feeding me as she watched the historical landing on television.   So, like many of my readers, I grew up in a world where man had already stepped foot on the moon.

It’s hard for me to imagine how it must have been for the generations before me, to have watched and cheered as the Apollo missions progressed, and as mankind finally achieved this impossible-seeming goal.   It must have been magical and awe-inspiring.

But while that magical era has passed into history, the accomplishments from it have continued to inspire the generations since.   This has not been lost on candy marketers, and here is my favorite candy piece that endeavored to invoke that sense of wonder and fascination:

Canada – Hostess Foods – Moon Dust Grape – popping candy – Astronaut foil package – 1980’s

Canada’s Hostess Foods are connected to the earliest days of Pop Rocks, so their Moon Dust candy product has a great confectionery lineage.  The silver foil packaging, perhaps not intentionally, also evokes the look and feel of the old silver food packs that astronauts squeezed their meals and snacks out of during that era.

The space race and our fascination with it has been reflected in other ways within the confectionery world, beyond space-themed products.  It was also tied into various mail-away offers on existing brands, like the one on this Necco Sky Bar wrapper:

Necco – Sky Bar 10-cent candy bar wrapper – Trip to the Moon Talking Map mail-away offer – early 70’s

And here’s the wrapper for a set of Topps’ Man on the Moon bubble gum cards:

Topps – Man on the Moon bubble gum trading cards wrapper – whales tooth offer – 1969

Next up is something that’s just a bit of moon-related fun.  It’s Moon Money bubble gum:

Moon Money bubble gum – 1-cent display box – 1960’s – Image courtesy Dan Goodsell

The last piece I have to share is more snack-cake than candy, but it’s too beautiful not to include.  I told you that Moon Dust was my favorite candy piece with a lunar theme – and that’s true.  But this next one is my overall favorite piece of astronaut-themed packaging.

It’s for a product that reflected the enthusiasm for the Apollo missions and astronauts better than any I’ve ever encountered.  Here are Mickey’s Orbits.   To my eye, this package is a work of art:

Mickey’s Launch Pak – Orbits – Creme Filled Frosted Devil’s Food cakes box – early 1970’s

It’s hard to believe that someone like Neil Armstrong could ever leave us, but he has.  Fortunately, he’s left us with so many good things, not the least of which is clear evidence that mankind can do great things when we work hard and work together.

Thanks, Neil.

Neil Armstrong – AP Photo

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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2 Responses to Astronaut Neil Armstrong: 1930-2012

  1. Matt says:

    Great entry, Jason. I remember playing with my plastic Saturn rocket with detachable stages, complete with lunar lander in the cone, while the moon landings were on television. I don’t recall Moon Dust but remember Space Dust, which I believe was very similar, very well.

    A couple of years ago, I was at an antique store and bought a commemorative coffee mug of the moon landing. It apparently wasn’t licensed by NASA as it doesn’t say anything about NASA or Apollo or the astronaut’s names. On one side it says “Destination Moon” and on the other, it shows the view of the Saturn rocket from below along with “Men on the Moon” and “July 1969”.

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