It’s fair to say that PEZ has become one of the most recognizable candies in the world. Whether you’re an avid collector, or ‘Pezhead’ as they’re known, or you are just a lover of candy, PEZ and their dispensers have been a popular choice of candies for decades. With their many flavors and popular cartoon character dispensers, PEZ has become one of the biggest collectibles out there and can sell for thousands of dollars. While that may be exciting to some people, many of us still enjoy eating the little bricks of candy. So, sit back, pump that favored dispenser and enjoy 10 Things You Didn’t Know About PEZ Candy – Part 2.
10. $4 Million In PEZ Smuggling
We all know that PEZ dispenser collections have become a truly big business in the world. Some people like to collect them for fun while others see a money-making object. While there are some PEZ dispensers that do go for quite a few thousand dollars, not everyone can see the business potential for dealing in the famous candy dispensers. Unless of course, you are a farmer from Michigan. During the 1990’s Steve Glew became one of the biggest PEZ dispenser smugglers the world has ever seen. Known as the ‘PEZ outlaw’ Glew claims to have made over 4 Million dollars from his PEZ adventures. How did he do this? We hear you ask; well, according to his own words Mr. Glew took over 70 trips to Europe, and in particular, Eastern Europe, and each time he visited he managed to bribe factory bosses into letting some of their stock go as ‘rejects.’ He then continued to smuggle them from Europe and into the U.S, fooling customs agents in around 13 different countries. Once back on U.S soil Mr. Glew sold his cargo for $500 each. Who knew that such a profit was to be made for black market PEZ dispensers? Apart from Steve Glow that is.
9. PEZ Can Thank Seinfeld, Sort Of
We all know that PEZ is a popular and tasty candy but it is also one of the most popular collectibles in the world. eBay often report that PEZ dispensers are among the top-selling items they have. While this may not come as much of a shock to many people, the reason for this sudden interest in collecting PEZ dispensers might. Starting out as a mint to help people give up smoking, the PEZ company soon realized that their unique dispensers could have characters on top and could be advertised to children. Thus the PEZ as we know and love was born. While PEZ was popular with the baby boomers right up until the 1980’s, PEZ was only really popular as a candy. While some people did collect the quirky dispenser characters, it was nothing compared to today’s collectors. The ‘PEZheads’ as we know them, didn’t really start until the 1990’s with the first PEZ convention held in 1991. There are many people out there that believe that this sudden surge in all things PEZ related was down to an episode of Seinfeld. In ‘The PEZ Dispenser,’ Jerry ruins a piano recital by placing a Tweety Bird PEZ dispenser on Elaine’s knee. While PEZ was already popular and somewhat of a collectible item, after this episode aired, PEZ exploded. Coincidence? We don’t think so.
8. Nearly 8 Foot PEZ Dispenser
Throughout history, humans have pushed themselves to be the best they can possibly be and to conquer all that surrounds them. To aid us in our quest to discover all, we as a species are excellent at developing the tools and technology we need. With every new piece of technology comes the inevitable firsts and world records; who is the first? Who can do it the fastest? The biggest, the smallest, etc. With every new equipment or discoveries that come along, our first goal has always been to push it as far as it can go and PEZ is now different. Over the years there have been many records set involving the famous brick candy. First up is the biggest PEZ dispenser in the world; that stands at a whopping 94 inches, which is 7 feet 8 inches tall. To put that into perspective that’s taller than NBA legends Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, as well as Andre The Giant and he had giant in his name. The huge PEZ dispenser is in the shape of a snowman and can be found in the Burlingame Museum of PEZ memorabilia in California. It weighs 85Ibs and can hold up to 6480 PEZ candies. As a bit of fun, the museum dispenses mini versions of this world-beating candy dispenser as souvenirs at their gift shop.
7. Other World Records
Continuing on with our world record theme and humanity’s quest to break through the walls of what is possible, we first turn our attention to the art world. While we’ve mentioned the biggest and tallest PEZ dispenser in the world, the other PEZ item to be in the ‘tallest’ category is a sculpture made entirely out of PEZ bricks. The sculpture is actually a series of PEZ sculptures in B.C Canada, and they depict the London skyline. Known as ‘London Calling’ the artwork consists of the London Eye, Tower Bridge, and Big Ben all of which were part of a collection to celebrate all things British. The Big Ben clock tower sculpture is the one that landed itself in the record books as it stands at an impressive 5ft x 5ft x 7ft. It took over 10,000 dispensers to create the piece and is the biggest collection of candy art in the world. Other World records involving PEZ include the fastest person to eat a packet of the brick candy which is a speedy 45 seconds. The longest domino chain of PEZ dispensers is also on the list; 55 colorful dispensers were lined up and successfully toppled in a continues line. We’ve all wanted to try that one, we just need to buy more dispensers.
6. You Don’t Have To Be A Character To get On A Pez But It Helps
Believe it or not but PEZ actually started out as a product for adults. Long before the colorful characters on those infamous dispensers, PEZ’s target audience was grown-ups. Starting out selling their candy’s in tins, PEZ quickly moved to the flick dispensers we know today but they were simple and plain. A few decades later PEZ had realized that children loved their candies so, they started to tailor them for this market. Starting to add children’s favorite characters of the day, such as Popeye and Santa Clause, PEZ soon struck up a deal with Disney and the rest, as they say, is history. Even though PEZ is famous for having fictional character’s heads on their dispensers, real people have made the cut too. Well, actually only three official people have ever been on a PEZ dispenser. To celebrate the U.S’s bicentennial PEZ made a Betsy Ross, Daniel Boone, and Paul Revere dispenser. There was once an Elvis Presly PEZ dispenser made, but that was only for the movie The Client. The rock band KISS did have a PEZ dispenser released as a limited edition but that’s it. In fact, PEZ gets inundated with requests for real people to be added to their dispersers almost on a daily basis and each time they refuse. One of the more recent people to be given the big thumbs down by PEZ was celebrity Kim Kardashian. Incidentally, the other popular request that PEZ gets a lot is a replica of individual loved ones, but PEZ has a firm line with this and the answer is always no. However, with the advancements of 3d printing, this request may be more attainable in the near future.
5. What?! Hitler Has A PEZ!
No, you didn’t make a mistake we really did say Hitler. Ok, so we did slightly mislead you as this isn’t an official PEZ dispenser but it is possible for you to dispense your favorite flavor of brick candy from the head of the ex-German dictator. As with any product that becomes remotely popular or valuable there will be people out there ready to make a quick buck with knock offs. On pretty much any street corner or market anyone will be able to buy a knock off of many high-end brands; from perfumes to bags, watches to jewelry, they are everywhere and PEZ, so it seems, is no different. We don’t know who and we don’t know why but someone decided that what PEZ really needed was the head of Adolf Hitler dispensing its candy. So, they produced this dispenser and unleashed it ion the world. Quite understandably PEZ Candy INC. was furious and tried hard to rid the world of this monstrosity, and they very nearly succeded with a big lawsuit. However, some did survive and while one of which can be seen in the Burlingame Museum of PEZ memorabilia in California, the rest have become much sought after items by collectors. Many other unauthorized PEZ dispensers have been made including; Pee-wee Herman, The Beatles, Elvis and even Monica Lewinsky have all been made into fake PEZ dispensers, but none have quite caught on as much as Adolf Hitler. What a strange world we live in.
4. PEZ Visitors Center
If anyone is ever looking to truly see PEZ in its natural habitat then a trip to Orange, Connecticut is in order. Home to the PEZ making factory, in which they make over 12 million PEZ bricks a day! It is also home to the PEZ visitors center which boasts an extensive look at PEZ. Including memorable, trivia and a complete history of the company. The visitors center also offers interactive games, scavenger hunts and exhibits that will get all PEZ fans involved and excited. Not only that but you also get the chance to see into the factory and watch the magic candy being made. Not many candies have such a place that is devoted to them, but then PEZ isn’t like any other candy. They have a special place in a lot of people’s hearts that nothing will ever come close to. For all those people that feel this way then a trip to the factory and visitors center is a must. To ‘PEZheads,’ it’s up there with Graceland!
3. The Most Expensive PEZ Dispensers
Over the many decades that PEZ has been making their infamous candy dispensers, there has been an array of character heads that have donned the top. Not only has PEZ used popular cartoons and other fictional characters but they have also produced special and limited edition PEZ dispensers. Because of this, and the ever-growing interest in collecting said dispensers, some of these are worth a lot of money. The most expensive PEZ dispenser ever is the 1982 World’s Fair special edition PEZ dispenser. The reason that they are so valuable is that there are only two of them in existence. One is blue with a blue stem and the other is white with a green stem. In 2006 one of them sold for a whopping $32,000 which makes them the most valuable by far. Next on the list, but far down from the top spot, is a 1940’s ‘Locking Cap lighter’ style dispenser, which is what some of the first dispensers were made to look like. This cream-colored dispenser sold for about 2 and a half thousand dollars. Other PEZ dispensers to break the thousand dollar mark at auction were a ‘political donkey’ dispenser owned by none other than JFK. That piece sold for around $13,000. At a charity auction, a pair of PEZ dispensers modeled on Prince William and Kate Middleton fetched an impressive 13,000 as well. Although true ‘PEZheads’ won’t be able to get their hands on these rare gems, they may be able to get the allusive Mr. Patato Head dispenser. It was called the ‘Make a Face’ dispenser and it came with little face pieces, just like a Mr. Patato Head. However, the company recalled it as these little face parts were seen as choking hazards. Although the ‘Make a Face’ dispenser is by no way the most expensive, it is one of the rarest out there and any genuine collector would love to add this to their other PEZ friends.
2. PEZ The Movie
Over the years movie studios have been looking in more diverse, or possibly stranger, places to come up with inspiration for their next big blockbuster. While books have always been a great source for Hollywood, video games are fast becoming the next big source of inspiration after books. However, the movie business still needs to find a new and exciting source. With success such as Angry Birds and The Emoji Movie, apps and phones are even providing good material and The Lego movies have paved the way for the toy industry to be on the big screen, but what else? Well, it seems as though candy could hold the key. Envision Arts Production has reportedly bought the rights to PEZ and plans to bring the PEZ world to the big screen. Several writers have been attached to a script, including Brother Nature and Cops scribe Cameron Fay. Although no big details have been released as of yet, we’re hoping that this movie is still in the pipeline. After all, who wouldn’t want to see an animated world that is populated by PEZ dispensers? With the range and wealth of characters that PEZ has, providing they can get the rights of course! But if this is done right then the PEZ movie could be bigger than the Lego movies.
1. Plant Flavor
Since PEZ’s first conception by Austrian Eduard Haas way back in the 1920’s, PEZ has tried many different strategies to stay in business. Just as with any company that wants to succeed, PEZ has had to evolve and change their products in order to stay relevant and popular. One of the avenues that PEZ has changed is its flavors. Originally starting with just one flavor, Peppermint, PEZ now has multiple flavor combinations to its name. Raspberry, Strawberry, and Cherry are among the more popular and real winners for PEZ, but it might be interesting to know that not all of their flavors have been winners. PEZ once tried to market a plant flavored candy. Using Chlorophyll, which is a green pigment found in plants and algae, PEZ used the chlorophyll to try and create a ‘Vegy’ flavor. Other odd flavor choices have been; Coffee, Flowers, Yogurt, and Licorice. Some of these flavors are actually still available to buy, but not in the U.S.