Whatever happened to my Cherry Chan?

I’m not sure I can explain it, but there’s a grocery bag full of candy sitting on top of my fridge. Leftovers from Halloween, I think. So feeling the urge for some cheap candy, I open a bag and find a box of something called Cherryhead candy. Cherryhead? Hmm. Wait, this box says Ferrara Pan! This used be to be called Cherry Chan! Why’d they cha– oh… hey, I never thought of that. And I’m Asian, for Chrissake.

For those of you who never spent a quarter with the neighborhood ice cream truck, here’s Cherry Chan:

Wow. The nostalgia. The borderline racism.

Unfortunately when they changed the name to Cherryhead, I think they changed the formula, too. I recall these being chewier on the outside, with more sour on the inside. But maybe I’m confusing them with Lemonhead candies. And what’s this crap about Cherryhead being a “fat free food” and containing “real fruit juice?!” Seriously, who gives two shits about whether a twenty-five cent box of candy is healthy or has real ingredients?

By the way, I found that image over at The Candy Wrapper Museum (Don’t you just love the Internets?), which also has this great candy packaging image:

Wow. That’s not kosher by any standard. I wonder if Candy Crafters’ Inc ever had Darkie Licorice Chews or Spicy Spic Jumping Beans?

Oh, and I just opened a box of Lemonhead candies, and they are exactly the way I remembered them. Thank God. Though they, too, apparently, are a fat free food made from real juice. Good Christ.

Ooh, one more thing. A real life example of inflation at work. Notice the Cherry Chan box says 1.05 oz? Guess how much candy the Cherryhead box holds? You guessed it: 0.8 oz! Man, a quarter just doesn’t buy you much these days. Then again, I used to empty the whole box into my mouth sometimes, so this may be a good thing.

6 thoughts on “Whatever happened to my Cherry Chan?”

  1. A-men Brother!

    I stumbled upon your commentary because I was searching the web to see if I could order some Cherry Chans..er..Cherry Heads, as I guess they are now called.

    I grew up eating these things and I never noticed how offensive the name was, but your right, it is offensive.

    If you think that’s bad, in 2003 I was in New Orleans, where my grandmother, who is black, just like me, purchaised a couple of cans of soda that were watermelon flavored…Can you guess what they had a drawing of on the can? Yep a little dark skinned black kid, with a huge pick-a-ninnie grin.

    You would think you wouldn’t still find stuff like this in the 21st century. But I guess as a society, we have a long way to go.

  2. I’m going to try some Cherryheads tomorrow,, I know for a fact that your absolutely right about the flavor of cherry Chans your description is spot on from what I can remember as well. Yea I guess that name could be offensive. As far as your heritage ,,if it took you even a second to understand why they changed the name,, your not Asian,,, your 100% American 😉

    Thanks for the memories..

  3. BTW, I know this is rather late, but just ran across this site. I believe they changed the name to Cherry Clan, and changed the image to Asian looking cherries, for a while, before Cherry Heads!

    1. They were originally named for the detective show Charlie Chan and featured a picture of him. The show probably told them to quit using their actor’s image, so they switched to the cherry faces with what were considered Asian features in order to stay faithful to the Charlie Chan/ Cherry Clan theme. They were cute, but as people should know in this day and age, people of Asian decent have as varied features as any other race. Most people of Asian decent like the cool dude who wrote this article probably wouldn’t give a hoot, but I can see where it could be offensive to some. Like Francis was saying about that soda, it’s not really nice to pigeonhole people’s races into stereotypes, even if the intention is not malicious, and just meant to be funny or cute. I’m white, and I would probably think that honky candies with little white faces and round eyes were funny, but that’s just me, I’m sure some people would be plenty ticked off. Great article by the way!

  4. Of course a white person weighs in to tell other people what they should find offensive. I never saw Cherry Chan but I sure remember Cherry Clans.