Friday, October 5, 2007

POLITICALLY CORRECT CANDY

about a week ago, i was watching a late night re-run of Seinfeld. George and Jerry were sitting in the coffee shop trying to figure out what the deal is with something or other. i wasn't really paying attention because on the counter in the background was a box of Cherry Clans.

i haven't seen Cherry Clans since i was a boy. back when i used to shop at the 5 & 10 for penny candy, pop rocks and candy cigarettes. on occasion, i'd splurge on a box of Cherry Clans to satisfy my sugar fix. sweet and sour, hard and soft, all in one. little round cherry flavored deliciousness to aid in ridding my mouth of all the unwanted baby teeth, once and for all.

in those days, i had no idea how offensive it was. in reality, i failed to understand the meaning behind the confusing name, the derogatory cartoons on the box or the asian inspired font of choice. i never thought twice about the confusing name. things didn't have to make sense when i was 8. it wasn't until seeing them in the distant set design of a sitcom did it suddenly occur to me that it was a play on Charlie Chan. i immediately sent my team of top notch researchers to investigate.

it turns out Cherry Clans were made by the Ferrara-Pan Confection Co.. Ferrara being the founder, pan being his preferred cooking utensil. the same Ferrara-Pan Confections Co. who brought you the Lemonhead, the Jawbreaker and the Atomic Fireball. originally, Cherry Clans were in fact called Cherry Chans. no beating around the bush.

i don't know if threats of anti-defamation litigation got the ball of change rolling, but the name was altered from "chan" to "clan". not too long afterward, the cartoons changed to less enthnically specific caricatures. then, finally, maybe sometime in the mid to late 1990's, the company did a total overhaul of its branding. virtually all of their fruit flavored candies hopped onto Lemonhead's back, freeloading on his (yes, Lemonheads have a gender) success. Cherry Clans are now Cherryheads.
i guess ancient greek warriors found the Alexander The Grape candy equally distasteful. they're sensitive about their humongous feet and indigo complexions, i suppose. i, for one, will miss the mohawk helmet with build in sideburn shields.

it seems good 'ole Johnny Appletreat has hung up his sauce pan hat and closeted his neon green coveralls for keeps. apple growers of america really must have caused a ruckus over Ferrara's insinuation of their misuse of cookware and the slandering of agricultural heroes.

while i understand the need to change the Cherry Clans, did the rest of the treats need equal reprimand. seriously. there were definitely a few times when i bought Alexander The Grapes over Lemonheads purely because i thought i'd look cooler with them in my shirt pocket. he was a conqueror after all. a legendary king, an american pioneer, and a crime solving detective. now they're just generic, bow tied bubble headed nerds. the unique intrigue of yesteryear has turned to unbridled confectionary conformity.

a side note to concerned parents looking out for the welfare of their offspring: the candy's image has changed. they are all now virtually indistinguishable to the color blind. no one's feeling will be hurt... but the candy now comes in almost twice the size with almost twice the candy. while your outrage has successfully shielded your children from the harsh atrocities of human nature, its of little defense against their future diabetes.

touché, Mr. Ferrara.
touché.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

this is great! my friends and i were just talking about the packaging today at lunch!

Drew said...

Funny article. I ended up here because of that Seinfeld episode. I love going to the Ferrara Pan store inside the factory. The only thing missing when you enter is the candy shop guy from Willy Wonka sliding on a ladder singing "the candy man caaaaan!" I hope that place never closes.

Anonymous said...

Im asian and I loved me some cherry clan. They tasted great and I felt that I could rep my heritage with them. I always thought lemonheads were more offensive toward asians.

TYLER said...

Thanks for the comments! i'm curious about the ferrara-pan factory. genuine intrigue.

Tony Zielinski said...

I was driving through Chicago on vacation and saw the Ferrara Pan factory sign from the freeway. I quickly exited the freeway in hopes that factory tours were provided. What we found was a tall, mostly windowless brick building, about four stories high, an oppressive looking cyclone fence and a charming art-deco style concrete entrance with the easily recognizable Ferrara Pan logo carved into it. Inside was the candy shop where they sell all of their candy by the pound and the friendly owner of the company works in the shop. They do not offer tours but the friendly woman was willing to tell us a lot about their history. We told her how much we miss the old version of the candy wrappers and about how we couldn't find their newer flavor, Orangeheads, anywhere in our city (Portland, OR). She was very interested to hear what we had to say and very polite.

Anonymous said...

Am i mistaken or what? I remember a outline picture of charlie chan on the box of the candy(like what Alfred Hitchcock did on his shows)Or was it just a bad child memory?

Kristin said...

I have had cherryheads but they are not the same as Cherry Clan. They must have changed the recipe too. I have thought this for a while

Anonymous said...

I too was just watching the "Big Salad" episode of Seinfeld and saw the candy in the background. This was the first site I found. They were good candies, but now that I look at it, I guess the Asian characters are a little threatening.

Anonymous said...

Cherryheads do not taste like Cherry-Clan. Grapehead does not taste like Alexander the Grape, Applehead does not taste like Johnny Apple Treats. I dont understand why the hell they'd change the recipes too. Theyre still good just not the same. Cherry-Clan was the best.

Anonymous said...

I read this forum since 2 weeks and now i have decided to register to share with you my ideas. [url=http://inglourious-seo.com]:)[/url]

Anonymous said...

You could easily be making money online in the undercover world of [URL=http://www.www.blackhatmoneymaker.com]blackhat team[/URL], You are far from alone if you don't know what blackhat is. Blackhat marketing uses little-known or not-so-known ways to generate an income online.

B said...

glad that i'm not the only one who has thought of cherry clans recently...
and i really miss the taste of them, esp as i don't really like other cherry flavored things.
thanks for the post!

Sheldon said...

What was so offensive about Cherry Clan or the artwork? People are way too sensitive today.