I first mentioned this product of the 60s as I was reminiscing about television.
First came Bosco, begun in 1928. Think Hershey’s Syrup, but nowhere near as nasty tasting. It made a lovely chocolate milk. And, interestingly enough, still available.
Of course that commercial, insidious as all the best commercials are, comes rushing back from the depths of my memory every time I hear a Bossa Nova beat:
But Bosco was soon aced out of our household by Cocoa Marsh, as I faithfully watched Claude Kirschner’s Three Ring Circus.
An older bottle of Cocoa Marsh.
A later bottle of Cocoa Marsh, the kind I was most familiar with.
But what was cool about Cocoa Marsh (some have suggested that it contained marshmallow as a smoothing ingredient, hence the name, but I have not yet been able to verify this) was that you could get a pump. Dang, i gotta get me some of that, and as I recall, we did.
Notice above two images also carried the name of Yum-Berry, a berry-flavored variety of Cocoa Marsh, which I recall very fondly as well. It was short lived, and lasted only around a year if I remember correctly.
Cocoa Marsh marketed heavily through a variety of channels. The Soda Fountain below took the pump concept to the next level, and it looks familiar enough to me that I’d swear on a stack of Saturday Evening Posts that I owned one.
Marketing to older folks was not forgotten as well; here a Lionel O-gauge rail car with Cocoa Marsh vats.
Sadly, despite a massive advertising machine through children’s shows in New York, the product was unable to compete with Nestlé’s Quik™ and Ovaltine™ (which as a kid, I thought tasted like bat guano – sort of like comparing chocolate to carob, and just as disappointing.)
In passing, there were a couple of other products around at the time that popped up on my radar. One was Yoo-Hoo, an odd-tasting concoction that was pitched incessantly by Yogi Berra, and which is still available.
It was very strange tasting indeed, but somehow one got used to it.
The other was Flav-R-Straws, which first showed up in 1956, and which I remember well. They were wildly popular, and I was thoroughly in favor of them.
If only I had a TARDIS.
Edit: As an afterthought, I’m hardly the only one who remembers these things. A line from Diana Rubino’s recent novel, The End of Camelot:
The entire day had her eating Sugar Pops out of the box, washed down with Cocoa Marsh or Yum Berry.
The Old Wolf has spoken.