Boomers Loved SweetTARTS

Every Halloween, boomers from coast to coast would rummage through their bag of booty for their favorite candies. Many of them were old favorites, like Milky Way, Snickers, Necco Wafers and Chuckles, while others were truly boomer candies, introduced during the prime boomer Era. One such candy favorite is SweetTARTS.

Sunline, Inc., the candy company that brought Pixy Stix to boomers in 1952, heard that parents wished for a less messy version of the popular sugar-in-a-straw candy. The result was SweetTARTS, introduced in 1963. The sweet and sour, tablet-like candies were based on Pixy Stix. The orange, grape, cherry, lemon and lime flavors gave a sweet kick like Pixy Stix, then had a sour after-note. The candy was an instant hit. By 1964, the company had sold more than $8 million worth of SweetTARTS.

Try though Mister Boomer and his friends might, it was impossible to dissolve a SweetTART on the tongue. Impatience was rewarded when a bite turned the tablets to Pixy-Stix-like dust, which was part of the fun. Kids had their favorite flavors, though Mister B didn’t mind any of them, except for not being a fan of grape.

Mister Boomer’s sister was especially fond of the sweet and sour tablets. At the height of her Halloween cravings, she would be willing to trade premium candies for a foil bag of SweetTARTS. Mister Boomer, possessive of all that he collected, would assess the quantity of SweetTARTS with which he was willing to part; after all, he was not going to barter unless he could grab some of his top favorites in return. Usually, he’d trade for Almond Joy or Snickers, if his sister was amenable. She liked Milky Way and Three Musketeers, so she wasn’t willing to trade with those. Sometimes he’d settle for extra Kits or Smarties, or maybe PayDay or malted milk balls, if candy bar chocolate wasn’t on the table. In any case, he wasn’t going to trade away his last couple of packages of SweetTARTS that he had worked so hard to attain.

This has absolutely nothing to do with SweetTARTS, but how can you resist an appearance by Bobby Pickett on American Bandstand, lip-synching Monster Mash?

Mister Boomer hasn’t had any SweetTARTS in a few decades, but hears the latest company owners have amped up the sour flavor. It seems today’s kids like sour even more than boomers did.

What memories of collecting and eating SweetTARTS on Halloween do you have, boomers?

Boomers Did Not Kill Themselves Taking Selfies

As Halloween approaches, our focus turns to the macbre, like people literally dying to take the perfect selfie. Boomers didn’t even take selfies, let alone start a wave of selfie deaths. True, boomers took their fair share of risks while street racing, crossing in front of trains, riding bikes off of steep hills and the like, but the vast majority of those ventures were not life-threatening; there is no boomer equivalent to selfie deaths.

Mister Boomer has previously discussed the explosion of selfie taking and the differences between picture taking in the Boomer Generation and today (see Boomers Watched the Evolution of the Selfie). Is it any wonder that so many boomers are baffled by the pervasive plethora of pictorials present today? Now comes word that people are actually going to such great lengths (and heights) that they are dying while taking selfies. The number of fatalities are steadily increasing each year, to the point that these statistics are now measurable. The first study of this new phenomenon has been released, and the results are both baffling and fascinating. Like Mister B said, macbre.

Strange as it may seem, some of these deaths are planned as documented suicides, but more often than not, they become fatal by accident or neglect. Curious as to how people die while taking selfies? Worldwide, the number one manner of death by selfie is drowning. That is followed by falling, transportation, electrocution and animals.

The closest thing Mister Boomer can recall to this strange behavior is when his family visited Yellowstone National Park in the early 1960s. His father, while in no way snapping a photo of himself, did perform a feat of derring-do when the family walked onto the viewing platform of Yellowstone Falls. While rushing waters roared over the side, Mister B’s dad leaned over the wooden railing, looping one leg over a railing post in the process. Extended out over the edge of the falls, he steadied his Kodak box camera and snapped his shot, while Mister B’s mother yelled at him furiously.

Risky though it seemed at the time, the only real danger his father was in — most of his body was on the inside of the railing — was that if he bobbled his balance, he might have dropped the camera. Nonetheless, even in retrospect, Mister Boomer can’t say that particular photo was any more spectacular than the one that he snapped from the safety of the platform proper. So the idea that someone would lean out of a moving vehicle, climb great heights without support, approach wild animals or high voltage — all in the name of a selfie — seems unfathomable to Mister B.

Halloween horrors aside, how do you feel about people taking tremendous risks for the sake of a selfie? Have you ever taken a foolhardy risk for a picture, boomers?