Friday, February 24, 2006

"What is that? A Pez dispenser?"

I love PEZ, and I don’t care who knows it. I have about 20 dispensers staring back at me from a shelf in my study as I type this now. My favorites are the cartoon and superhero ones.

But I wonder why it is that they’re so darned irresistible. I’ve never offered someone a PEZ and been refused. Gum? No, thanks. Lifesaver? Nah, I’m good. PEZ? Don’t mind if I do.

I’m not sure whether it’s the candy, the dispenser, or the motion of tilting the character’s head back and then swooping in like Dracula to remove the precious sustenance. (Ed Note: For sanitary reasons, please do not combine the Dracula move with the acceptance of PEZ from a friend, neighbor, or kind stranger.)

Also, I’ve not proven it yet, but I’m pretty confident that a combination of PEZ obsession and the experimental 70’s were the inspiration for the Pac-Man video game. However, this nugget is missing from PEZ Collector’s News’ historical research. Their reconstruction of the history of these bricks of confectionery goodness reads thusly:

“It all started in 1927 in Austria when Edward Haas came up with this new peppermint candy. An adult breath mint that he decided to market as an alternative for smoking. The word PEZ comes from the German word for peppermint (pfefferminz). They took the first, middle and last letter and came up with the word PEZ. Short and easy to understand.

PEZ used to be carried around in pocket tins. Then in 1948 they came out with the "easy, hygenic dispenser" that we all know now to be a regular. In 1952 PEZ wanted to expand their sales so they set their sights on the U.S.A., to make their product more appealing to Americans. They placed heads on the dispensers and marketed it for children.

It is unknown which dispenser was first but it was either the Full Body Robot or Full Body Santa. In 1973 PEZ built their U.S. plant that is located in Orange, Ct. In 1983, Mr. Scott McWhinnie became "PEZident" of PEZ here in the U.S. In 1990 the size of the plant was doubled. It operates 24 hours a day. That's right, 24 hours making PEZ candy. In 1987 feet were added to the base of the dispenser. To date PEZ has made about 300 different dispensers.”
As I’ve toddled around the web, I’ve learned that I’m not the only one who loves PEZ. In fact, compared to some of these good folks, I’m not sure that they’d categorize my feelings as love at all. Maybe more of a kinda like.

All the same, at this time, I’d like to nominate PEZ as the official candy of The Realm of Possibility.

And if you guys feel as strongly as I do, cast your vote, check out these sites, and have some Tweety Bird PEZ on me.

Official Home of PEZ

Collecting PEZ.com

PEZ Central

16 comments:

DugALug said...

Ken,

He is a secondary side note:

keep in mind that the schmoe offering you a PEZ probably also swooped down on the dispenser like dracula before they kindly tried to distribute one to you.


Just a thought. I love PEZ's growing up too. And now, when I see them I get a brief chuckle.

-Doug

P&S said...

Is that one vote for official Realm candy?

DugALug said...

Hmmmm,

Not really my favorite, but I could certainly go for that.

If it is up to Rich, I am betting it will be smarties or peeps. He used to sit on my couch with a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi and consume these little boogers like Ricky Williams frollicking in a ganja field. (I hope Rich reads this).

-Doug

P&S said...

Yeah,

He still stays hopped up on Mountain Dew, peeps, Gummi fill-in-the-blank, and Double Bubble any time he can.

In keeping with the food pyramid however, he has added beef jerkey, sunflower seeds, and fried chicken when he can get it.

Rich said...

Y'know, you guys could say this stuff to my face instead of behind my back.

Brett said...

Ken - I guarantee that I could refuse your offer of a Pez. They're just not that good and I've never understood the fascination with the dispensers.

Clever marketing? Perhaps. Worthwhile kitsch? You're pushing it. A serious collectible? What is the world coming to?

DugALug said...

Rich,

You know I love you! In fact I am gonna call you right now!

-Doug

Rich said...

Thanks for the phone call, Doug!

1/2 of you are braver than I gave you credit for.

Rich said...

beef jerkey, sunflower seeds, and fried chicken

How 'bout a post on adding these three most excellent dishes to The Realm's main course?

And, yeah, gummy-something needs to be the candy of the domain.

DugALug said...

Rich,

I guess it is better than pork-chops and apple-sauce, but I thought this was all about candy.

How about some candy-categories:

Here are my picks for the Candy-Realmy-Awards:

Best Pure Chocolate: Godiva Dark Chocolate
Best Hard-Tac Candy: Werther's Originals
Best Mint: Altoids
Best Sugar-Candy In a Dispenser: PEZ
Best Use Of A Jello-Rind: Sour Gumi-Worms
Most Creative Candy: Cigarette Packs Gum (remember that great role model for us)
Best Value Candy: Charleston Chews
Best Overall Candy: Godiva-Anything.
Lamest Excuse For A Candy: tie=> Peeps (sorry Rich, but they suck) and the gum in Topps Trading Cards.
Best Not Declared Candy, but they really are Candy - Nestles Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.

-Doug

Rich said...

You know what I think the best thing about this whole post is - a post I've been supporting, with what, at least three or four comments?

I think the best thing about it is that it mentions "24" twice (just the number, I realize, but it's still good advertising).

Probably, all of our posts should.

P&S said...

Brett,

That sounds like a challenge.

You, me, and a Bono PEZ dispenser.

Main street at High Noon.

I say you fold. And if I'm wrong, I'll eat one of those disgusting peep phlegm-balls.

Are ya yella?

P&S said...

Doug,

Don't misunderstand me. I like other candies, as well. And recognize their importance and delectability.

I'm not supporting PEZ as the best-tasting candy in the world. Only the official candy of The Realm. Partly because of their "kitsch" value as Brett put it.

While Godiva may arguably be the best-tasting candy, I can't think of a better candy than PEZ to represent the slightly off-center Realm (though Bottle Caps might be a close second).

DugALug said...

Ken,

I concede to your alledged wisdom.

-Doug

Rich said...

Hey! I like Bottle Caps. You may have a winner there.

DugALug said...

What about

Nerds And Pop-Rocks... just don't add Coca-Cola

-Doug