Well Hallowe'en, or what passes for it now, is a couple of days away kids! Every year, when it rolls around, I am reminded of one of my favorites as a trick-or-treater, a sleeve of Bozo bubble gum balls. I was all about chocolate and bubble gum as a kid, with the chalky Necco wafers, Mary Jane's and the like going to my dad straight out of my bag, while I hoarded $100,000 Bars, Baby Ruth's, Almond Joys and any and all bubble gum.
Bozo, at the time (mid 60's to mid 70's) came in a clear sleeve. This promo ad gives you a good idea of the look:
I always seemed to get the assorted flavors and the whole shebang got popped into my mouth in one swoop once opened. Happy days!
Bozo was a very early Topps product, sold in bulk originally to the wholesalers, who in turn supplied the folks with vending machine routes and businesses. It was a very important early line for Topps and they were able to avoid a lot of packaging costs by dealing in bulk.
This July 29, 1950 Billboard article indicates a surge in popularity for ball gum, which caused some consternation at Topps (or more likely, their PR firm). At a guess, this is when all those red topped Oak vending machine "trees' started appearing in the exit corridors and vestibules of grocery stores:
Bozo popped up in something resembling the party-sized Bazooka boxes found in stores for a spell in the 1960's but it seems to have flitted in and out of US retail consciousness for a couple of decades, possibly due to waxing and waning legal issues with Bozo the Clown. It seems to have had a more sustained existence in Canada and there were countertop vendors that carried the branding, distributed by O-Pee-Chee:
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