Oh Henry!
October 9, 2019 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Maybe you thought the most delicious caramel, peanut, and chocolate candy bar was named for a famous baseball player...nope. Or maybe a famous writer?....nope again. It turns out that candy bar names can be steeped in controversy, and the Oh Henry! bar is not alone.

The accepted version begins in Chicago in 1920, and the Oh Henry! was the first of Chicago’s holy trinity of chocolate/peanut/caramel candy bars, pre-dating the Baby Ruth (Curtiss Candy Co.) by a year* and Snickers (Mars, Inc.) by a decade!

But: it might have been invented earlier.
Either way, the Williamson company owned the recipe and made it a hit by an aggressive ad campaign that included a small card with only the words Oh Henry! on it that was custom designed to fit in the front of a Ford radiator, and candy salesmen would put one on every Ford they could find.
They were so popular for a while that society ladies would cut them in pieces to serve at parties, but these days they are hard to find.

That story not salty enough? How about the Baby Ruth Bar?
Originally the Curtiss Company's Kandy Kake, the bar was rebranded and sold for 5 cents to undercut the 10 cent candy market.
Otto Schnering, who went by the Ferris Buellerian moniker Chicago's "Candy Bar King", came up with the name, but apparently didn't want to pay what the star athlete was asking so he concocted another story.
Not to be outdone by their marketing competitors, Schnering once dropped thousands of Baby Ruth Bars from an airplane over the city of Pittsburgh.

Fortunately, there was one candy bar unquestionably named for a star athlete. The Reggie! bar.
A type of Bun Bar,
they were also made by the Curtiss Candy Company. Alas they have been gone since 1981.
posted by OHenryPacey (26 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've never noticed Oh Henry bars whenever I visited the US so I always figured it was a Canadian only thing like Coffee Crisp. I'm going to assume they've been there but that I was just too busy looking for stuff I couldn't get at home.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:42 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


So you're saying it's not named after the vacuum cleaner? Huh.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:53 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Oh, Henry!

Back to the candy bar -- fun, salty post! Thanks!
posted by filthy light thief at 2:57 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Over the decades there must've been a lot of kids staring at their high school literature syllabi and thinking that any writer that could inspire a candy bar is probably not going to be a heavy, dark read.
posted by ardgedee at 3:00 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]


Or maybe a famous writer?....nope again.

Obvious bullshit is obvious. "Oh, our new Mark Twane bar? Nothing to do with the author! You see, there was a young boy who used to come into our shop named Mark..."
posted by The Tensor at 3:08 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


She screamed "Oh Henry"
As she squeezed his Peter Paul and Zagnuts and said
"You're better than the Three Musketeers".


--John Valby
posted by chavenet at 3:20 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]


Caramel, peanut, and chocolate? Feels like something's missing.... Ah yes, the big chunk of fuuuudge.

Also, chalk me up as someone else who thought that Oh Henry!s were Canadian. I don't recall ever seeing them around here in the Seattle area; though, I did notice around ten years ago that Coffee Crisps became available in some grocery stores.
posted by mhum at 3:46 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Regular Oh Henry bars are ... okay. The Peanut Butter Oh Henry bars, with Reese peanut butter, are astounding. I have 1.5 in my freezer right now.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:57 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Also a fun thing to do with these is pop them in your mouth and suck all the candy/chocolate off and save the peanuts for later. There's an amazing amount of them, really.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:58 PM on October 9


suck all the candy/chocolate off and save the peanuts for later

A pastor was visiting one of his elderly church members. As they were chatting in her parlor he noticed a bowl of peanuts on the coffee table. He just loved peanuts so he grabbed a handful and started eating them. They were so good! He didn't want to be rude and tried to resist, but he couldn't help himself and grabbed another handful.

While the woman was in the kitchen making tea he absentmindedly continued munching, and by the time she had returned with the tea he realized the bowl was empty! He apologized profusely, but she replied, "Oh, don't worry about it, dearie, it doesn't matter - once I've sucked all the chocolate off of them I don't like them anymore anyway."
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:30 PM on October 9 [4 favorites]


Is...is nobody going to say "eponysterical"?

(Or possibly Oh-ponysterical?)

posted by ilana at 4:36 PM on October 9


Dropping thousands of Baby Ruth bars on an unsuspecting public seems like a bad idea.
posted by cazoo at 4:37 PM on October 9


Nothing beats a Mallo Cup in my opinion.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 4:41 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]


Dropping thousands of Baby Ruth bars on an unsuspecting public seems like a bad idea.

As God is my witness...
posted by The Tensor at 4:44 PM on October 9 [13 favorites]


Goldenberg's 4ever!
posted by JawnBigboote at 4:44 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Are there any pictures of the Oh Henry red card that "fits in a Ford radiator"? I've been googling a while but no joy.
posted by CCBC at 4:52 PM on October 9


posted by mhum Caramel, peanut, and chocolate? Feels like something's missing....

It's got peanuts, chocolate, nougat! It's delicious, scrumptious, outstanding!
posted by mattdidthat at 4:54 PM on October 9


In Canada, Vachon makes Jos. Louis cakes since, apparently, 1932. According to the company, they were named for the owner's two sons, Joseph and Louis, and not for the boxer Joe Louis; if they did start making them in 1932, this is credible, since Joe Louis didn't turn pro until 1934, and only became World Champion in 1937.

They also make May West cakes, which are clearly a reference to Mae West.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:02 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


(source)
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:05 PM on October 9


The “Copy” bar (further down the page on the “The accepted version” link) is masterful marketing:
“Due to the wide spread practice of imitating Oh Henry!, we, the sole makers of that justly famous candy bar, feel that it is our duty to the candy loving public to offer the finest imitation of Oh Henry! that can be made for 5c. Hence, this 'Copy' bar. Of course, it's not as good nor as large as Oh Henry!—it couldn't be for 5c."
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:31 PM on October 9


The Peanut Butter Oh Henry bars, with Reese peanut butter, are astounding.

This is important and true.
posted by wreckingball at 5:44 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Is...is nobody going to say "eponysterical"?

Post Your Name Month
posted by hippybear at 7:29 PM on October 9


If you haven't read that article about the Pittsburgh Baby Ruth drop yet, you should do that. The "punchline" is really something.
posted by rifflesby at 1:03 AM on October 10 [2 favorites]



Holy shit, you weren't kidding. James Burke would be proud. "Destination: the Moon or Moscow, the planets or Peking."
posted by The Tensor at 3:25 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


Oh great, now I have to watch all of Connections again with the book in my lap like I did when I was 10.
posted by hippybear at 8:59 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of a National Lampoon history exam taken by Larry Kroger (he was a student at Estes Kefauver High School before he went to Faber.) The question was "What candy bar is named for a baseball player?" He answered "Johnny Snickers."
posted by gp_guy at 5:51 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


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