Stop The Presses!! A Wonka-Weekend Rewind!

I’ve said many times that what I love about candy history is that there are always surprises in store, even when you think you’ve got something all figured out.  Well, last night was no different.

A few hours after getting the second-half of my big Wonka Weekend finished and posted last night, I received an e-mail that was a bit of a shocker and sort of derailed a lot of what I’d written over the preceding 72 hours – but not really in a bad way.

It all began when I e-mailed my pal, Brandon Coker, as I thought he’d enjoy reading what I’d brought together on these two Wonka classics.  Brandon is a fellow collector/historian, as well as a good friend.  Over the years, we’ve assisted one another during our investigations into the oftentimes obscure history of vintage packaging.

After seeing what I’d posted, Brandon e-mailed to tell me that he’d recently uncovered new information and images regarding the early years of Wonka.

As I looked over the images and information he sent, my first thought was, “Can I rewind the last few days so I can include all of this awesome new material into what I’ve already written?”  Anyone with a spare TARDIS I can borrow?

Of course you can’t turn back time, so I opted for this metaphorical “Stop the Presses” post, today.

Brandon explained the source of his findings: “I found these a while back, doing some research in the US Patent & Trademark Office archives.”  And with that bit of background out of the way, let’s get to the goodies!

To start, we have the very first versions of both Oompas and Super Skrunch wrappers.  These would have been what Oompas and Super Skrunch looked like on day one – “Rookie card” wrappers, if you will.  Before this, I’d never seen an example of either of these [Note: I’ve included the U.S. Trademark Office seal, when present.]:

Quaker Oats – Willy Wonka’s – Oompas candy wrapper – 1971

Quaker Oats – Willy Wonka’s – Super Skrunch – candy wrapper – 1971

Next up is a mid-70’s style wrapper for Oompas.  This would seem to match the style shown for the 1975 Super Skrunch wrapper I revealed in my earlier article.  This is another piece I’ve never seen before:

Sunmark-Concorde – Willy Wonka’s – Peanut Butter Oompas – candy package – 1975

Here is a 1977 Super Skrunch wrapper.  I already featured a 1977 Super Skrunch in my article on Friday, but this is a vending machine bar example, which I didn’t have:

Sunmark-Concorde – Willy Wonka’s – Super Skrunch – 25-cent vend bar candy wrapper – 1977

And finally, here’s a 2001 USA version of the Oompas fruit chews packaging:

Nestle – Wonka – Oompas fruit chews – candy package – 2001

The following two wrappers deserve special introduction, and possibly a bit of a disclaimer.  It is my belief that these two wrappers were never put into mainstream production.  I theorize that these were produced in extremely limited amounts, only to meet the minimal requirements for trademark renewal.

First up… a Wonka Oompas wrapper dated from 1991!

Sunmark – Willy Wonka Brands – Oompas – candy wrapper proof – 1991

This Oompas wrapper proof above features only two-color graphics, but that’s not all that’s unusual about it.  The logo used is the same as that from the 1981 Oompas package, while also including the full-body mascot from the early 70’s packs.  It’s a very strange mix, and adds to my belief that this was a limited run produced purely for trademark renewal.

The following Super Skrunch wrapper has similar unusual elements:

Nestle – Wonka – Super Skrunch – candy wrapper proof – 1995

Once again, this wrapper seems to be an odd mix of modern (for 1995) and vintage.  There are many elements ripped right from the 70’s wrappers, while clearly incorporating all of the proper design elements needed for a 1995 production wrapper.  While it’s not impossible that this bar was given a brief production run, on this I am doubtful.  My guess is, it was printed up and sold to one store simply to warrant the renewal of the trademark.

The final image today doesn’t come from the U.S. Trademark Office archives, but instead comes from Brandon Coker’s personal collection.  This is an image of a kids-size t-shirt, produced as a premium in the 1970’s for Willy Wonka’s Super Skrunch.  I hope you’ll agree that it’s pretty awesome:

1970’s Willy Wonka Super Skrunch – kids t-shirt

And that’s everything for this unexpected Wonka Weekend Rewind!  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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3 Responses to Stop The Presses!! A Wonka-Weekend Rewind!

  1. Brandon says:

    It’s always a blast when new surprises like these turn up. It makes for a fun hobby!

  2. Kerry Cisneroz says:

    Hoping you do a story on Willy Wonka Dina-Sour Eggs. Man did I eat those like crazy when I was a kid. They came in a cool black box, and basically were a jawbreaker shaped like an egg. As if you don’t already know! You are the Candy King. Do you have anything on them?

    • jasonliebig says:

      I do have some things on Dina-Sour Eggs, for sure. But I’m still looking for a couple more pieces before I can present a reasonably complete look at the brand.

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