Back in the 70s, there was a true giant in the confectionery world. Sporting a bright red wrapper and containing a full 8” of chocolate and caramel goodness, the Marathon Bar couldn’t help but catch your eye in the candy aisle. And if you were a kid trying to get the most from your measly allowance, this was a surefire way to get some bang from your candy buck. Let’s take a look back.
The Mars Candy Company introduced the world to the Marathon Bar in 1973. The confection consisted of chewy caramel, braided to look similar to a long pretzel, which was then dipped in a luxurious layer of milk chocolate. If time was of the essence and you needed a quick snack, this might not be the candy bar for you. One of these babies could give the jaw a heck of a workout, leaving it feeling like it had just completed a chewing marathon worthy of the Olympics.
This long-lasting ability was the topic of discussion in the series of memorable ads that touted the Marathon Bar. The star of these commercials was none other than film icon John Wayne’s son, Patrick, who portrayed a heroic chap named Marathon John in the ads. His nemesis was Quick Carl who proudly proclaimed, “I like to do everything fast!” The one thing Marathon John knew he couldn’t do fast, however, was eat a marathon bar, and he slowed Carl’s sinister ways to a crawl by simply giving him something to chomp on for a few hours – the candy cavalry, as it were.
Unfortunately, the Marathon Bar didn’t enjoy a similar longevity on store shelves, and by 1981, the last of these memorable candy bars left the candy aisle for good. One can only hope that the resurgence in popularity of various retro candies will someday lead to a return of the Marathon Bar – ready to help make the world safe again, and give our jaws a collective workout along the way.
If you were a fan of the Marathon Bar back in the day, we welcome your memories in our comments section. And if you would like to see the candy bar return to store shelves, share that with us as well, as we tip our hats to this long-lost, but not-forgotten, treat from yesteryear.
Photo credit: Jason Liebig