Bonkers will be bonking you out again soon!


By Shawn Robare

5741481453_25e5050515_oSo, the scuttlebutt in the independent candy world is that Bonkers are set to make a triumphant return to the market sometime this year.  On the heels of their relaunch of the Astro Pop, the reformed Leaf candy company has been hard at work to follow up that re-issue with the long lusted-after chewy fruit candy with the patented “Extra Flavor Boosted Center”.

Strawberry

There’s been rumors of the confections return for the past three or so years, but after launching a Bonkers Facebook page this past January it seemed like the this time it might be for real.  After teasing with some rough shots of Photoshopped packaging, they finally revealed a first look at the candy this morning…

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It’s been roughly seven years since I last waxed nostalgic for my all time favorite extinct candy here at Branded, and it’s probably been about 25 years since i last had the opportunity to enjoy them.  At some point, no matter how alluring the memories are, no matter how fond one was for some treasure lost, you have to move on and let what’s past lay in the rear view mirror growing fainter with ever year.  I should know, being a self confessed nostalgia junkie, the tighter you try to hold onto things long gone the harder they are to get a true grasp on.  The past is like a wisp of smoke, pretty, out of focus and lingering, but as soon as you reach out for it, it breaks ups.  Dissipates.  In my mind there is a pantry of lost edibles, branded, packaged, preprocessed food stuffs that no longer exist and haunt my taste buds.  Sour Cream & Onion Quackers crackers, Thunder Jets Fruit Snacks, Hi-C Ecto-Cooler, and Bonkers candy.  I’ve tried to find replacements (Annie’s Sour Cream & Onion Bunny crackers don’t hold a candle to Quackers for the record), but it’s the closest thing to “chasing the dragon” I’ve experienced nostalgia-wise.  I will say that I had a lot of fun trying to recreate Hi-C Ecto-Cooler that one time though.

Grape

But wait a second, didn’t I kick this article off by announcing to the return of Bonkers candy?  Yes, yes I did, and I’m certainly not trying to put a damper on that news.  Trust me, when it comes to this news I’m probably one of the most excited folks I know.  But as intensely curious as I am to get my hands on this fruity Lazarus, I can’t help but realize that as hard as I might try, I can’t really remember what these tasted like.  Sure, the general idea is there.  I remember they were softer than Starburst, and even more so than Now and Laters.  They weren’t as sour as L&L’s, and taste much more natural than Laffy Taffy.  But at the end of the day I have to be honest, I just don’t remember.  So no matter how excited I am, I kind of have to temper it with the thought that I won’t be reliving my Bonkers eating past much as buying the brand.

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The main thing that sparked this thought is that Leaf is having a contest to send some pre-release samples out to fans to taste-test.  I’d love to be picked, but it made me think about the fact that when all is said and done I wouldn’t be able to give a particularly objective opinion on how authentic the new recipe is.

Orange

That aside, I’m curious about the pictures above because there’s a mystery flavor mixed in that bunch.  I see the Strawberry, Orange, Grape and Watermelon varieties, but I’m not sure what the yellow and green fruit chew is.  Is it a lemon/lime?  Banana/Kiwi?  It’s certainly not chocolate, the other announced flavor…

chocolate

So, anyone out there with a photographic memory or an intensely detailed journal of their tastes experiences from the 80s that has a confident idea of what these used to taste like?

  • http://www.poprewind.com/ Pop Rewind

    I thought I had a very vivid memory of eating blue Bonkers, but after a quick Google search, I don’t see anything about blue Bonkers. I feel like my life has been a lie. If these do end up coming out, I’ll have to stock up and create new memories… and a sugar coma for myself. (–Linz)

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      There was a second incarnation of Bonkers in the 90s after the brand was shuffled around a bit. I wonder if they released a Blue Raspberry version at that point? It’s interesting how much of this stuff has gone undocumented. It’s one of the reasons I love My friend Jason Liebig’s site Collectingcandy.com so much. He’s filling in that pop culture gap!

  • Paxton Holley

    Bonkers were a cross between Starburst chews and the fruitier Bubbalicious chunk gums. I liked them, but I didn’t LOVE them. Interesting that they are making a comeback.

    I want to see the original Twix Peanut Butter make a comeback. Where is that, Mars?! WHERE?!

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Yeah, I hate when long-running product varieties are discontinued, especially when they’re simple and awesome. I mean a Twix with peanut butter instead of caramel sounds like a no-brainer…

  • http://goodwillhunting4geeks.blogspot.com/ The Goodwill Geek

    All of my childhood memories of Bonkers involve being told that no, I could NOT have them. So if one of you guys could just show up at one of my local stores, slap them out of my hand, and then drag me out to my car by my ear, my experience will pretty much be complete. Actually tasting them would just be an exercise in futility.

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      LOL, now that’s the way to have nostalgia and not lose a grip on the truth of the memory!

  • 910dohead

    I loved Bonkers! I remember purchasing what was probably some of the last stock at pic-n-save and was so surprised at even finding some. It must have only been in select regions towards the end, because the stuff disappeared for years before I came across it. I also used to love the commercials with the giant falling fruit. Sadly, I have to admit that I would easily trade Bonkers over Ecto Cooler any day. Here’s my recipe for it. Trust me, it’s very close. You take 3x Hi-C Orange Lavaburst juice boxes (6.5 fluid ounces x3) and mix it with 2/4 cup of tangerine juice. You repeat this mixture until you get your desired amount. I usually make enough to fill a normal pitcher. Add 2 drops of green food coloring (3 if you’re making a lot) to get the right color. Enjoy!

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Oh rad, thanks, I’ll try that! LAst time I tried to make it I used the recipe that called for 1.5 cups of sugar, 1 packet of orange Kool-Aid mix, 1/2 packet of
      Lemonade Kool-Aid mix, 3/4 cup orange juice w/no pulp, 3/4 cup of
      tangerine juice, 14 cups of water, and 4-5 drops green food coloring.

      I made a second batch that I mixed various liquors in, Vodka Ecto Cooler was amazing. :)

      • 910dohead

        I’ve tried that recipe before and it’s way off on the taste. It’s too sugary and doesn’t have that Hi-C element that hits the tongue. I too have dabbled with punching up the Cooler. Here’s my drink recipe:

        The Real Ghostbuster:
        2 Parts Ecto Cooler
        1/2 Part Hiram Walker Peach Brandy
        1 Part Crystal Head Vodka
        1 Part Bicardi Gold Rum (but you can use your favorite rum)
        Add a splash of Pineapple Juice

        A drink my buddy and I made paying homage to the Ghostbusters films/animated series and our love for tiki rum drinks. They’re all liquors related to the movie and cartoon. The Hiram Walker is what Murray is drinking in the scene just after getting kicked off the university campus and coming up with the idea of Ghostbusting. The Vodka is Dan Aykroyd’s personal brand and the Ecto Cooler is what brings them together. The rum and pineapple is our two favorite ingredients in most classic tiki drinks. If you ever get a chance to try it, let me know what you think.

        • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

          Nice call on the liquors to add. I also did the Crystal Head for just that reason.

  • DUSTINDUSTRIES

    Dude I have had a fixation on Punch Candy for over 15 years now. I likely stumbled on to Branded scouring the internet for this and many other 80s items. It is my Grail of candy items and the closest I have been was last year when I purchased a Mini pack from Argentina. It still had the candy in it but it had turned to mould dust. I payed $34 incl. postage and I used to buy the larger pack for 10c up to 1993 . If you see a new design on and old wrapper of a Classic then buy what you can of the Original.

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Yeah, it’s weird, but I would seriously consider paying money for old Bonkers wrappers even though they are literally 25 year-old trash. I was just thinking about that the other day actually. I had an idea for an Onion-style article (so fictitious and leaning towards humor) about how the old empty cans of beans that hobos ate out of during the 1920s would be worth millions today :p

  • http://www.shezcrafti.com/ ShezCrafti

    This news just made my day. I used to love Bonkers! Especially the grape, which is weird, because I typically don’t like grape-flavored candy. The commercials were a lot of fun, too.

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      It’s weird, for me, when it comes to fruity candy I tend to like the flavors that taste the least like their real-world counterparts. So Strawberry, Banana, Watermelon, Grape, etc. Yeah, I totally didn’t get chosen to taste test, so I’m like the rest of the pathetic losers in the world, I have to wait for it to hit store shelves… ;)

  • http://geekyvixen.wordpress.com Stacey Rader

    I can tell you exactly how the strawberry Bonkers tasted. They had a tangy quality that strawberry Starburst didn’t possess, and yet they also had a smoothness to them that was only rivaled by the way Strawberry Shortcake dolls smelled.

    Needless to say, I’m excited about their triumphant return.

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Wow, what a flavor profile. I’m crossing my fingers that these new versions live up to that memory, for you and me both!