item 1 >>> Now Playing… Eggbert the Easter Egg/Rosemary Clooney Rosie recorded tons of kiddie records, and not just for Christmas.
item 2 >>> LQQK @ †h∆†!… The Peeps Yeah, well…laff darn ya!
item 3 >>> Peepless in Peoria…Sadly, today’s special posting on Peeps is not all I’d hoped it would be…regarding their origins, I can only find contradictory bits and pieces. Maybe by next Easter I’ll have the full story. What is known is that Sam Born (real name?…above, center) was a Russian immigrant to the US in 1910, who learned the chocolate making trade in France. He opened a small candy store in New York City in either 1916, 1917, or 1923…and soon after started a wholesale manufacturing business. It moved to the present location in Bethlehem, PA in 1932. Now the “modern” origin of Peeps is given as 1953, when Just Born Inc. purchased the Rodda Candy Company, founded by Canadian immigrant Roscoe Rodda in 1891. Some stories say this was done for Rodda’s jelly bean business, others say Sam had his eye on the marshmallow chicks they would make by hand with a pastry-tube (above left…3 colors from 1953, b&w image said to be from “around 1960,” still with “wings.”). A machine to speed up the process was devised by either Sam’s father or an employee named Pravin Pant, from Nepal, and they went national in 1958.
item 4 >>> Who Made What Now?…But the way the history is recounted, it makes it sound as if Just Born Peeps were available for Easter, just as we find them today, pretty much from that date forward. In cases like these, there is no better evidence than advertisements, so what do we make of the above, a page from a wholesale candy catalog from 1977? At least in terms of marshmallow candies for Christmas, they were still made under the Rodda name, 22 years after the sale to Just Born. I can find no comparable Peeps ads from then, or the decades before, so I don’t know just what to think. Nor do I remember Peeps from my childhood, as I’ll get to in item 10. But one question I can answer with some degree of certainty is how many colors Peeps come in, and when each was introduced.
item 5 >>> Peeps Au Naturel…Above we see how Peeps start out, in a vat…and what they look like before the colored sugar coating is added. Taking the 1953 photo as evidence, we will assume that for decades Peeps came in Yellow, White, and Pink. In 1995, Lavender (not Purple!) was introduced as the “4th color.” Then in 1998, to commemorate what they called the company’s 75th Anniversary, Blue (well, Teal or Turquoise, technically) was added as the “5th color.” From my ad clippings, the first sighting of Green came in 2007…and Orange, which I have as a Hallowe’en offering as early as 2003, was added to the Easter lineup in 2009: “…and now Orange” read the ads. All together, you may have counted 7 colors, but according to their website, today Peeps come in only 6 colors…apparently White is no longer made. (Note: “4th” and “5th” color sited above shows they were counting White at that time…my most recent clipping of White is from 2001.) And Red was introduced sometime in the late 2000s, available only at Target. Thus below, we see the “Official 6″ plus Red…”color code” is from their current website.
item 6 >>> Ultimate Peeps Spectrum…So the Official 6, plus the supposedly retired White, and the Target Red gives you 8 in all. But there’s one more…Just Born currently makes an ever-increasing variety of Chocolate peeps, either completely covered, or what they call “dipped” which has chocolate only on the bottom or base of the chick. New this year is a dipped Peep in “Chocolate Mousse,” a flavor they’ve been using for their Bunnies and Hallowe’en Cats for several years. So the tale of the tape: the Official 6…plus White, Red, and now Brown…I call it 9 Colors in the Peeps Spectrum, and this is my blog so that’s final…the answer is 9. Any chance for further colors? As far as I know, the only other color they’ve ever done is Black, also for their Hallowe’en Cats…but who knows? Are Swirled Peeps coming next year?
item 7 >>> But If You Must…count the Chocolate Peeps as colors, which I don’t except for the Mousse, there are at least 4 more varieties of those…altho it’s almost to the point where there’s so many different kinds, it isn’t fun any more, as they say. Not quite, but almost. And don’t forget the Sugar-Free…yikes! Oh yeah, and the new Peepsters, which despite the Chick outline on the package, aren’t.
item 8 >>> And for You Incorrigible Completists…A couple years ago, they had Peeps inside Eggs…must have seemed like a natural at the time, but I guess it didn’t catch on, as they no longer appear to be available.
item 9 >>> Believe Half of What You See, and None of What You Hear…so advised Marvin Gaye back in the day. While I put great stock in what I find in old advertisements, you must be careful colorwise. For example, below top, you see what the Lavenders looked like when introduced in 1995…compared to both Lavender and Blue in 2006…no match. And below bottom, a webshot of undetermined origin…the Pink, Yellow, and Orange look kosher, but the other 2…Blue? Green? Lavender? Hard to say…
item 10 >>> The Big Mystery….is what we had as kids. You know, my memories can prove to be faulty, Lord knows…like the town where I grew up…I had that wrong. Seriously tho…I remember we had something, just don’t remember calling them Peeps…but Chicks or Chickies, I think. In 2004, the Tell Chocolate Corporation of Brooklyn announced that “Chickies” would not be made that year…and since then, the trail has gone very cold. Below is info printed out by me in April of that year…sadly, the photo is rather small, and I can find no trace of it on the web today. I can tell you for a fact that on April 30, 1999, Tell filed for a trademark on the phrase “Original Marshmallow Chickies.” Check back here next year.
Upper right are salt-and-pepper shakers…lower right from 1955. Well anyway, Happy Easter! And try to act like some bunny…
shameless plugs, slightly chewed by the Easter Beagle…
Other Daily blog at http://stolf.wordpress.com (the legendary Stolf’s Blog)
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