This post is part of our series ranking the top 25 bygone products and trends we'd like to see return.
Some candies strike the public fancy by flavor (Snickers) or price. Other gain fame for a clever name (Bit O' Honey) or iconic marketing (the Reggie Bar). The Marathon Bar came oh so close to the latter, thanks to its pitchman, Mini-Duke.
The chocolate and caramel confection was introduced by Mars in 1973. A ruler was printed on its red wrapper to emphasize the generous proportions of the treat (which weren't greater than other candy bars, just further extruded).
What most people remember best about the treat, though, which was discontinued in 1981, were the commercials featuring John Wayne's son Patrick. Dressed as a cowboy, Mini-Duke portrayed Marathon John, whose arch-rival, Quick Carl, 'did everything fast'. Marathon John challenged him to eat a Marathon bar fast. Carl had to, of course, admit defeat.
These and many other discontinued candies are now imported or reproduced by boutique providers. But no-one can fill Mini-Duke's shoes, pilgrim.
What candies were an essential part of your childhood?