Saturday, October 28, 2017


Well kids, I didn't think I would be able to pull off a Hallowe'en themed post this year but a fortuitous eBay listing (and win!) has come to the rescue. And it features something I never really knew existed.

Topps began Hallowe'en themed sales programs very early in the classic Bazooka era (1947 until 1982, when Bazooka Joe and the Gang got a makeover) and as we have seen, issued a product called Trick or Treat Gum around 1950.  I've seen only a few of their Hallowe'en brochures over the years but a couple feature somewhat klunky "loot bags" that I always assumed were just appropriately themed bags of bubblegum tabs that could be dumped into an existing retail display.  It never occurred to me that these bags, generally filled with 100 or so pieces of Bazooka, were meant to be purchased whole with the contents being handed out by mom while junior grabbed the bag while trick or treating.

This is a prime example of such an offering:

Looks like a paper mask came along for the ride!  The bag itself is the size of a large lunch bag, so I doubt the average kid back in the day would want to deal with something so small. The dating is a little tricky but not too daunting. 

This is a better look at the bag detail:

Prior to the middle of 1958 that upper left corner of the wrapper said "The Atom" before it was changed to "Topps". So it's from 1958 or later.  How much later is a little hard to say without a brochure from the right year but if you look at the graphics there is no little symbol showing Bazooka as a registered trademark after the "a" on the front but it's there on the bottom-whether it means anything having it and not having it on the same item I can't quite say right now and they may have just mixed and matched for years. They were also using full color graphics on the loot bags by 1965, so it's no later than 1964.

The bottom of the bag also has a couple of clues:

"Young America's Favorite" was in use still in 1963 (and possibly '64 but I can't find wrapper scans from that year), tho' I can't quite figure when they stopped using the Parents Magazine seal.  So no help really from the bottom, at least without further research. 

So right now I have a possible range from 1958-64. I'll have to keep digging.

There was no help from the inside by the way:

Oh yeah, I found this next one in some weird Pinterest eBay aggregation.  I think it's from 1949 as Al Capp was doing work for them at the time, or so I believe.  Plus, the Twin Chews (penny tabs) had only debuted that year and the Circus-like lettering at the top fits that year as well:

That is one outstanding piece of Topps history, I'd love to find one of the point of sale posters someday!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the chewing gum/trading card giant should've included a toy blackjack as well...

Happy Halloween!!