The dispensers began as rectangles called “regulars.” Then they were shaped to look like cigarette lighters, before being fitted with the rubber heads that we all know and love today.
When PEZ was first introduced to Austrians, it was a round mint similar to an Altoid. It wasn’t until PEZ became rectangular and the candies were dispensed from the heads of well-known fictional characters until they really hit their stride.
Of all the discontinued flavors, chlorophyll might be the most confusing of them all. It’s not out of the ordinary for a company to try a few out of the box flavors, but “plant flavor” might be one of the worst out of the box ideas in history. Although, why chew on a blade of grass when you can crunch into a tasty vine flavored PEZ brick?
Initially released on the Austrian public in the 1920s as an alternative to smoking, PEZ did okay. It wasn’t until 1947 when Edward Haas III, inventor of PEZ, decided to release them with the cigarette lighter-like dispenser that we’ve come to love along with the slogan, “Rauchen verboten, PEZ-en erlaubt,” which means, “No smoking, Pezzing allowed.” Catchy!
In 2014, David Blais created a domino chain out of 43 PEZ dispensers and successfully toppled the entire thing.
When it came time to market the hit candy “Pfefferminz” to America, they just grabbed the P, E, and Z from the German word for peppermint to make the word PEZ.
It was called the “Make a Face” PEZ and it came with little noses and eyes that you could use to design your own dispenser. Unfortunately, kids started choking on the pieces and the dispenser had to be recalled.
We may think of PEZ as coming in a variety of fruitastic flavors, but the original ingredient for PEZ was peppermint. (Or pfefferminz, if you’re Austrian.)
The much sought-after Hitler PEZ dispenser is actually an unauthorized dispenser that was almost wiped off the face of the planet by lawsuit from the PEZ people. You can actually see a Hitler PEZ at the PEZ museum in Burlingame, or you can refresh Ebay until one of these bad boys pops up.
The most valuable single PEZ dispenser is a dispenser that was created specifically for the 1982 World’s Fair. In fact, only two are known to exist. It features a green stem and white helmet and sold for $32,205 in 2006. It has a matching dispenser that features a blue stem and an astronaut with a matching blue helmet. The other super expensive dispensers are the “political donkey” dispenser that was owned by JFK. It sold for $13,000. And a set of dispensers shaped like Prince William and Kate Middleton that sold in a charity auction for $13,360.
That’s so much pressure! You could probably make a small diamond at the PEZ factory instead of making candy, but whatever!
Pezamania has been held in Ohio every year since 1991 and you can get pretty much anything PEZ-related there. On the off chance you can’t find whatever you’re looking for at Pezamania, there are always the conventions in Austria, Finland, France, Sweden, and Connecticut.
In “The PEZ Dispenser,” a 1991 episode of the show about nothing, Jerry ruins a recital by placing a Tweety Bird PEZ dispenser on Elaine’s knee. The candy carriers were already collectible, but when the episode premiered the PEZ collecting world straight up exploded (in a good way).
To be precise, each year in the US alone, candy fans eat three billion PEZ bricks! That’s a mighty big sugar rush.
If you’re one of those PEZ Heads who thinks your fav candy should have had a movie before those chumps at Lego, then wring your hands no more! According to the Internet, PEZ will be hitting the big screen some time soon. Hopefully before the decade is out!
Despite squaring up against such luminaries as Mickey Mouse and the OC Choppers crew, Santa Claus is the best selling dispenser of all time. One collector even decorates his tree with his 400 plus Santa PEZ dispenser collection.
At Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, CT you can get lost in your very own love of PEZ. Not only is this maze in the shape of a PEZ dispenser, but there’s PEZ trivia along the way, and something tells us that you’ll get to snack on your favorite flavor as you traverse the 40 minute maze.
Also a space gun! And Santa Claus! Unfortunately the original designs turned out to be too bulky or totally insane. Specifically, the preferred way of eating PEZ out of the space gun was to place the muzzle in your mouth and fire the candy onto your tongue. YIKES!
In 2013, Debra Emory set a record for eating an entire pack of PEZ using a dispenser (and likely had a heck of a sugar rush afterwards).
Steve Glew is a Michigan farmer who came to be known as the rebel king of the bootleg PEZ market. While taking more than 70 trips to Europe, he persuaded factory workers to sell him dead stock dispensers and bribed factory bosses to manufacture rejects for him, which he then sold for up to $500 each.
One wouldn’t think that a PEZ collection would take five whole minutes to look through, but Emmerich’s collection spans an entire room and it’s full of a mix of vintage and modern dispensers and memorabilia.
If you want to eat candy out of the heads of your loved ones, you won’t be able to do it with the help of PEZ… BUT! Thanks to 3D printing, your candy chomping dreams are now possible.
In 2010, drug dealers began to peddle their wares in Midtown Manhattan in red devil PEZ dispensers.