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According to the Candy Wrapper Museum, the first Abba Zaba bars were manufactured beginning in 1922 by Colby and McDermott. Before Annabelle Candy Co. started manufacturing Abba-Zaba, the packaging featured racially insensitive imagery. Annabelle Candy Co. will only say that the wrapper has been the same for as long as they have manufactured the candy.
The bar was later manufactured by the Cardinet Candy Co. along with U-No Bar. Annabelle Candy Purchased the Cardinet Candy Co. in 1978. Annabelle now manufactures both candy bars in addition to others.
Abba-Zaba bars can be found almost exclusively west of the Rockies. The wrapper features a yellow and black checkerboard "taxi" pattern. They can be purchased in bulk on the web. They can also be found in candy specialty stores anywhere in the US and Canada.
In popular culture
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Favorite confectionary of a young Don Van "Captain Beefheart" Vliet, the candy lent its name to a song that appears on his 1967 Safe as Milk album. In fact, the album itself was originally to be entitled "Abba Zaba", changed only when the company would not allow the usage of their trademark name. The artwork on the reverse of the album sleeve still features a black and yellow checkerboard pattern reminiscent of the Abba-Zaba bar's wrapper.
Abba Zaba bars are also referenced on a vinyl album titled "A Child's Garden Of Grass" in early '70s.
In the Boardwalk Empire episode "Erlkönig", set in 1924, Gillian offers her grandson Tommy an Abba-Zaba.
At the end of the 2010 American Dad! episode "Best Little Horror House in Langley Falls", Toshi, dressed as a samurai for Halloween, kills the five serial killers terrorizing Stan, Francine and Roger, seemingly in order to rescue them from certain death, only to picks up the Abba-Zaba dropped by the final killer with his samurai sword and taking a bite from it.
In the 2009 Two and a Half Men episode "Warning, It's Dirty", Evelyn offers her client Marty Pepper an Abba-Zaba.
In the Salute Your Shorts episode "Telly and the Tennis Match," Telly tries to buy a new tennis racket with her camp store account money but finds out there isn't enough because she spent most of the money on Abba-Zabas over the course of the summer. Ug suggests she join Abba-Zabas Anonymous.
In the 2005 Gilmore Girls season 5 episode "But I'm A Gilmore," Kirk attributes his candy hangover to Abba Zabas.
Midge shares her strategy for obtaining the bars in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Season 1, Episode 6 “Mrs. X at the Gaslight”: “There’s a vending machine in the employee break room that’s broken, so if you hit it just right, free Abba-Zabas.”
An empty Abba-Zaba candy wrapper is shown on the floor of Camille Preaker’s (played by Amy Adams) bedroom in “Vanish,” the first episode of HBO’s Sharp Objects, which is based on Gillian Flynn’s best selling novel of the same name.
- The Candy Wrapper Museum. The Candy Wrapper Museum. Retrieved on 2014-03-30.
- Pacyniak, Bernard (September 2004). "Sweet on Annabelle". Candy Industry Magazine. 169 (9): 18–25. ISSN 0745-1032.