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Sunday, August 20, 2023 | Cryptic Collectibles

Text and photos by JAMES BURRELL

Back in the 1970s and ‘80s, a trip to the local convenience store provided numerous possibilities to get your candy fix. Alongside the ubiquitous Popeye Tasty Candy Cigarettes, Garbage Can-dy (complete with mini plastic trash can), Bazooka Bubble Gum and Cracker Jack, young horror fans could choose from Drac Snax, Munchy Mummies, and probably the best creepy candy product of them all – Mr. Bones

Original Mr. Bones candy store display.

First released in 1977, Mr. Bones was produced by popular bubble gum and trading card maker, Fleer Corporation. The product consisted of pieces of colorful, fruit-flavoured bone-shaped candy that could be connected to create a mini skeleton. If that wasn’t fantastic enough, the interlocking candy was housed in miniature plastic coffin-shaped containers, complete with hinges and a diagram located on the underside of the lid showing the various pieces you’d need to build your own “Mr. Bones.” 

The design of the tiny caskets (which were produced in a variety of colours like red, black, blue, white, pink, green and yellow)  was engineered by veteran designer Vero Ricci, who also invented the plastic trash can for Garbage Can-dy and miniature sarcophagus for Munchy Mummies. After binging on a handful of the tiny sugary bones, children could use the coffins to store their allowance money, or better yet, use them to bury their Kenner Star Wars or Remco Mini Monster figures in the backyard. Fleer reportedly continued to manufacture Mr. Bones until the 1990s. Interestingly, a nearly identical product called Bone Shaker Candy (produced by confectioner Swizzels Matlow) was also available in the UK and Canada in the 1980s.

Now, decades after he disappeared from variety store shelves, Mr. Bones has been resurrected as a set of posable action figures by San Francisco-based toy and collectibles manufacturer, Super7 as part of the company’s hugely popular ReAction retro-styled figure line. Standing a shade over 3 ¾ inches tall, the figures feature the classic five points of articulation (heads, arms and legs) featured in action figures of the 1970s and ‘80s and are available in three versions: classic, glow-in-the-dark and a fluorescent variant. The classic version has softer colours to emulate the look of the candy and features card art that closely replicates the vintage retailer display packaging; The fluorescent offering features brighter, neon-like colours for the figure and card. For the glow variant, both the figure and packaging glow in the dark; The card back features glow accents that illuminate vividly in the dark. 

Unfortunately, the toys do not come with the miniature plastic caskets that fans know and love, but the figures are housed in clear coffin-shaped plastic bubbles, and an illustration of the coffin appears on the cards. The figures do come with a neat little headstone accessory, featuring the inscription, “He’s So Real,” which is a fun touch. And for those who still own their original candy containers, the figures can be posed nicely alongside (or even inside) the tiny caskets. Kudos to Super7 for taking an offbeat confectionary product from the past and creating a line of figures from it. And for those who want to wear their favourite creepy candy character on their backs, the company has also produced a Mr. Bones T-shirt. 

SRP for the figures is $20 USD each (not including shipping) and are available from various online retailers and directly from the Super7 website at Mr. Bones – Super7

The shirt retails for $30 USD and is also available on the Super7 site.

Get up close and personal with Mr. Bones in the gallery below.

James Burrell has been fascinated with monsters and all things scary since the age of three. Growing up in Toronto during the 1970s and ‘80s, he fed his insatiable appetite for horror with a steady diet of Hilarious House of Frightenstein and Saturday afternoon TV matinees of Universal, Hammer and Amicus flicks - all while eating too many bowls of Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Franken Berry. An avid collector of monster figures, model kits, vintage board games, tie-in novels, records, comics and movie posters, James continues to search for that next item to add to his eclectic and ever-growing collection of horror ephemera. He is the recipient of the 2010 Rondo Classic Horror Award for Best Interview, for his feature on Sir Christopher Lee that appeared in Rue Morgue’s 100th issue and penned two volumes in The Rue Morgue Library.