#150 Good & Plenty
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This piece is from the Amperbr& series featuring brands with ampersands.
Can you hear this in black & white?
Once upon a time there was an engineer,
Choo-Choo Charlie was his name we hear.
He had an engine & it sure was fun,
He used Good & Plenty candy, to make his train run.
Charlie says, “Love my Good & Plenty!“
Charlie says, “Really rings the bell!“
Charlie says, “Love my Good & Plenty!
Don’t know any other candy, that I love so well!”
Remember that jingle? If so, you most likely watched the commercial on a black & white TV, maybe even with rabbit ears.
I wonder why the lyricist didn’t pen the last line “Don’t know any other candy, that tastes so swell!” as that word was the cat’s pj’s back then. Anyway, this will bring back memories to some of you & show others what hand-drawn animation in a contemporary style was back in the middle of last century:
October 24th is National Good & Plenty Day—
celebrating the oldest candy in America
Good & Plenty is the oldest branded candy in the United States, first produced by the Quaker City Confection Company in Philadelphia in 1893. Choo Choo Charlie appeared in advertisements starting in1950. Apparently he used licorice in place of coal (they’re both black, afterall) to run his train.
Good & Plenty has been made by Hershey since 1996 & the flavor hasn’t changed one bit (although the packaging & even one important detail in the name has — keep reading). Facts about Good & Plenty are featured on their website at hersheyland.com
Good & Plenty is still very popular, & is a staple in movie theaters along with Junior Mints, Sugar Babies, Jujyfruits & Milk Duds. It’s always been one of my favorite candies for two reasons: I like the flavor of the crisp outer shell, a bit spicy, breaking through to the chewy center of black licorice. But that’s just half of what I like about Good & Plenty.
Oldest candy, newest colors
I love the stylish colors of Good & Plenty (the original packaging, anyway). The combination of pink, black & white has always been a favorite color scheme of mine. (I wear a pink tie with a black suit when I dress up, but usually it’s just a pink tank top & black shorts.) The boxes used to be only pink, black & white. The candies are pink & white (as shown in the AmperArt poster), with a black licorice center that’s visible only after you’ve munched through the thin candy shell.
Although invented 60 – 70 years prior, Good & Plenty’s colors were spot-on contemporary during the 1950s and early 60s. Remember when homes, fashion & advertisements were combinations of pink, black, white & gray back then? (Not TV ads, though — black & white only, no pink inside those tubes.)
The color scheme is still very popular today in fashion, packaging & even pharmaceuticals. Brings back a nice touch of mid-century-modern. Here’s my senior cat’s arthritis supplement for good mobility & plenty of comfort. In fact, I just sprinkle it on top of her food because she gobbles it up like candy — her version of Good & Plenty.
Notice anything different?
Several decades ago Good & Plenty added purple to the package & took out the black. It’s more colorful and appealing to most people I suppose, but I miss the pink/black/white package. (Not to mention purple & brown are my least favorite colors — perhaps why I hate peanut butter & jelly?) Fortunately when Good & Plenty changed the packaging they did not change the contents. The candy is still pink & white shells & black licorice center.
But that’s not all. Compare these old & new packages. Can you spot the major difference? Hint: it’s a major change in branding that made AmperArt #150 Good & Plenty possible.
I’m sure you ampersand fans noticed that not only did the typestyle change (which just happened to be a very fitting & popular mid-century Bodoni to complement the mid-century color scheme), but the name changed as well, at least in its typography: the “and” was replaced with our favorite character. (& that’s what makes this AmperArt edition possible.) I think the ampersand in the name is brilliant and progressive, so in tune with today’s branding & communication. (However, it can’t be typed out exactly in a URL like the old name could.*) The new lettering is also perfect, as the roundness complements the shape of the candy itself. The new brand designers could have (& maybe tried) turning those two Os into cross-sections of the candy, making the inside (the “counter” in type lingo) black for the licorice & coating the outside (the main O shapes) in pink & white. But I’m glad they settled on exactly what it is today. Very licorice, very friendly (in a cute way, even) & very contemporary.
However, I still hate the purple, so this is what I would do:
If I had my way, I’d stylize the new package with retro colors. Then frame & hang it among mid-century-modern décor.
Here’s something interesting & perplexing. There’s another candy similar to Good & Plenty but with many colors & many flavors. So far, so good. But why did they deviate from the original “and” in “Good and Plenty,” instead using the contraction ” ‘n “? Even when the packaging was updated to match the new Good & Plenty look, the ” ‘n ” was retained. Only later on did the conjunction change, logically, to an ampersand.
From a logo designer’s perspective, it’s a pleasant surprise when things just fit. Sometimes it’s pure coincidence, as in the words Plenty & Fruity: they’re both the same number of letters, and more serendipitously, they both end in “y” which not only allows the last letter to fit nicely, but continues the unique brand identity of the stylized “y.” Also as a designer I’ll say that they should have left the letters solid, not highlighted in the latest version. The candies yes, the logo no. But that’s a moot point anyway, as you’ll read in the last line below.
About Good & Fruity (or Good ‘n Fruity or Good and Fruity) from Wikipedia:
Good & Fruity is a multicolored, multi-flavor candy with a similar shape to Good & Plenty. Unlike Good & Plenty, Good & Fruity contains red licorice. The candy was produced by The Hershey Company.
Before 1992, all Good & Fruity candies contained the same-flavored red gummy center, relying upon the hard candy shell to provide the different flavor according to color. Around 1992, the formula was changed, and the candies’ interiors became color- and flavor-coördinated with the outer shell to give the candy a “fruitier” taste.
Good & Fruity was out of production for an extended period, but returned to the Hershey Foods lineup in March 2008. The third recipe was modified from the original and 1992 versions: the more recent recipe was closer to a jelly bean and does not contain red licorice. The name was slightly changed, originally “Good ‘n Fruity,” with the new name containing an ampersand instead of “n.” The candy also contained the following flavors: cherry, orange, lemon, lime, and blue raspberry.
I’d like to try these “new & improved” fruity flavors, but unfortunately they’ll be hard & stale by now. In mid-2018, the candy went out of production again. But at least they finally got the ampersand in the logo where it rightfully belongs.
Just the black part
This section is all about black licorice. Because I love black licorice. That’s such a perfect flavor to pair with the outer candy shell in Good & Plenty, & you taste the black licorice only after breaking through the spicy flavor of the pink & white shells.
Have you ever tasted real licorice? Salted licorice? Double salted licorice? Read a few paragraphs down.
There’s another candy that is similar to Good & Plenty — the long colorful pieces in licorice bridge mix. That & scotch kisses (marshmallow & caramel) were my favorites at the Sears candy & nut counter. Ah, the good old days with the aroma of fresh popcorn in that section of the ubiquitous department store.
That licorice bridge mix (as opposed to your standard chocolate bridge mix) was a sea of licorice pastilles — long pastel candies similar to Good & Plenty, licorice dots, and colorfully sprinkled licorice pieces, all in a bin where the counter person scooped out however much you wanted. Fun & delicious!
For the die-hard licorice connoiseur, there’s a store that sells every type of licorice from every country — the British spell it “liquorice” — with a name that says it all: Licorice International with a retail shop in Lincoln, Nebraska. That would entice me to take a road trip, stopping at old-fashioned diners along the way. Licorice International has a wonderful online store, too, with lots of facts about licorice. You can select licorice by country, by type, & by brand. There’s a good selection of samplers, too. Good ol’ Good & Plenty is included in the American Favorites Sampler.
If you love licorice — & you’re adventurous — & you like salt — try some salted or even double salted (Dubbel Zout) licorice. It’s mainly from Holland. Licorice International has a Salty Sampler. You can also find salted licorice in local candy stores and gourmet markets, but I really like this website with all its categories and information. There are 57 varieties of licorice from Holland alone!
Next time you’re driving across country on Interstate 80 be sure to stop in the Licorice International shop. You can also see every type of licorice they carry on their website. But if you can hold off on your licorice craving & could use an interesting & heartwarming story right now, visit this page about how Licorice International started and flourished…especially the part about the sweet little lady.
More good facts & plenty of them
I found a blog that is chock full of information about candy, candy & more candy! There’s a page about Good & Plenty that would make this article three times as long, so just go to that page and enjoy reading how Good & Plenty used to taste different (what doesn’t? — although I still think it tastes pretty good); how you can get Good & Plenty straight from the factory where it’s fresher & softer; also how trials went with other flavors such as Good & Minty (it didn’t stay on the market long). For plenty of good reading about candy in general, their home page is candyblog.net.
I’m hoping to get some good, & plenty of, comments about licorice, mid-century-modern, or Choo Choo Charlie.
Have a good Halloween & enjoy plenty of treats.
ABOUT THIS SPECIAL AMPERART SERIES FEATURING BRANDS WITH AMPERSANDS
Amperbr& (pronounced “amperbrand” — but you got that, didn’t you?) is a special series within the AmperArt collection, featuring company & product names which contain the word “and”; or a contraction such as “ ‘n ”; or the ampersand itself. In each case, the conjunction is replaced by an ampersand which is set or stylized in the primary typeface of the brand’s logo. The Amperbr& series includes:
#89 Guns & Roses
#90 Arm & Hammer
#124 Shake & Bake
#127 Slip & Slide
#150 Good & Plenty
Search Amperbr& for others.
The focal point of each Amperbr& poster is the ampersand, & obviously only brands are featured that contain “&” or “and” or the contraction “n” (there are surprisingly many). Prominent colors & shapes of each brand’s logo & trade dress are featured in each piece. In #90 Arm & Hammer, for example, the ampersand is an exact reproduction of the ampersand in the logotype, at the same angle. The burst is radiating at various strengths as well, same as the package. (That was an interesting discovery.) Finally, the border displays the red, blue & flesh (the arm) as on the logo &packaging. The colors are sampled & matched to the brand’s palette.
Originally, the concept was to contain the brand elements within a square, with the name of the brand set in a nondescript font top & bottom, as such:
But you, my dear ampersand fan, are intelligent & sophisticated. No need to insult you by spelling out what brand each image represents. (However, if you are unfamiliar with the brand, it’s in the title of the poster.) I decided to forego the brand’s name & utilize the entire canvas for the star of the show, the ampersand.
Logos have been my passion since I was a kid, so this series is very special to me. My first logo was a star with a circle drawn around it. It was for an imaginary company called Circle Star. I have no idea how I came up with that name nor what the “company” did. But that was my first logo, probably before I even heard the term. (“Corporate identity” entered my vocabulary not too much later. Today it’s called “brand identity” which actually goes beyond just the logo. That happens to be my forte.)
I am very excited about the Amperbr& series. Expect a new piece every so often within the AmperArt series of “Ordinary Phrases & Ampersands Extraordinaire.”
Production notes for #150 Good & Plenty:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: Adobe Illustrator
Fonts: none; the Amperbr& theme contains only the brand’s ampersand
Ampersand: hand-drawn, traced from logo
Note: “&” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
You may repost the image & article. Please credit AmperArt.com.
To download a full-size high-resolution 11x17-inch poster suitable for printing & framing, click on the image.
Chaz DeSimone is the creator of AmperArt and owner of Desimone Design. He was adding serifs to letters when he was just a little brat scribbling on walls. Now he’s a big brat and his entire career is design, so long as each project requires the most sophisticated, logical, captivating results. Contact him at email@example.com to discuss your project, pick his brain, or just talk shop.