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Fannie May

Posted by sambr 
Fannie May
February 16, 2018 01:30AM
Chocolate. A suitable Valentine's subject.

Over the years, Peggy Lee appeared in many print advertisements for commercial products. Her biggest money spinner was probably cigarettes. One rather more innocuous product was Fannie May candies, and she probably didn't get paid for appearing in their ads. Fannie May Candy was a Chicago institution and when Peggy Lee allowed her name to be used for promoting their chocolates, she joined an amazing list of very famous stars, and the not-so-famous, who had given testimonials for Fannie May in Chicago ads. There were stars of screen, stage, radio and television, singers and band leaders, sports personalities, comedians, broadcasters, even a writer and a famous chef. In later years, the company added a tag liine to the ads that claimed 'Not one single dollar has ever been paid for these friendly comments on FANNIE MAY Candy.' What the provider of a friendly comment usually did receive was a free plug. Stars of a Hollywood film got acknowledgement for their film opening in a Chicago theatre and band leaders, singers and comedians got a boost for a local personal appearance.

The first 'personality' advertisement appeared at the end of 1940 and they continued regularly until the end of 1955, sometimes weekly. A few more trickled out from 1956 to 1963.

Peggy Lee appeared at least twice in Fanny May ads. The first was during her visit to Chicago at the beginning of 1951 when she was performing in the American Legion flop musical, [i]Red, White and Blue[/i]. [quote]“You Can Taste Quality in Every Delicious Piece of Fannie May!” Says Peggy Lee, Singing Star of The Musigirl Revue RED, WHITE & BLUE, OPERA HOUSE[/quote] Rather pedestrian copy; other weeks it was a lot more inspired. 'The Musigirl Revue' makes the show sound something other than what it was.

The second testimonial came in 1955 when [i]Pete Kelly's Blues[/i] was running at the Chicago Theatre. [quote]“Such deliciously [u]different[/u] candy! You'll really thrill to FANNIE MAY PIXIES!” Says Peggy Lee, Starring with Jack Webb In Warner Bros. Hit “Pete Kelly's Blues” B & K CHICAGO THEATER[/quote]Pixies were Fannie May's version of turtles, also a Chicago invention (pecans and caramel in milk chocolate).

Fannie May Candy Company started in Washington, DC in 1919. One of the founders was Clarence C Archibald. It was his brother H Teller Archibald, and sister-in-law, Mildred King Archibald, who formed the Chicago company in 1920 under the name Archibald Candy Co, but using the Fannie May name. The chocolates were made fresh daily and the company was immediately successful, expanding from the one original store in 1920 to 28 shops in 1925, 41 in 1932, 66 in 1941 and eventaully over 200 in several mid-west cities. The company was taken over in a leveraged buyout in the early 1990s and began an expansion program, buying other candy companies including Fanny Farmer and Laura Secord. Over-extension led to bankruptcy and the closing of all the Fannie May Chicago stores in 2004. A Utah-based company bought Fannie May and continues to produce the chocolates.

[size=x-small]A partial list of the stars who appeared in Fannie May ads:
Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, Bert Lahr, Ed Wynn, Art Kassel, Clark Gable, Arthur Treacher, Hildegarde, Jane Froman, Russ Morgan, Ted Lewis, Jimmy Dorsey, Buddy Ebsen, Greer Garson, Glen Gray, Tommy Dorsey, Ann Miller, Gracie Fields and Edgar Bergen, Deanna Durbin, Gene Tierney and Don Ameche, Red Skelton and Eleanor Powell, Jack Oakie, Constance Bennett, William Bendix, The Andrews Sisters, Gertrude Niesen, Bonnie Baker, Del Courtney, Joan Blondell, Ginny Simms, Joel McCrae, Zasu Pitts, The Merry Macs, Kitty Carlisle, Shirley Temple, Sophie Tucker, Olsen & Johnson, Victor Borge, Basil Rathbone, Joe E Brown, Frances Langford, Tony Martin, Guy Lombardo, Rudy Vallee, Jack Benny, Perry Como, Barbara Stanwyck, Andy Russell, John Garfield, Bob Hope, David Niven, Lunt & Fontanne, Jane Powell, Charles Boyer, Bing Crosby, Conrad Nagel, Betty Hutton, Marion Hutton, Ronald Reagan, Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray, Humphrey Bogart, Esther Williams, Dennis Day, Jo Stafford, Danny Kaye, Julie Wilson, Milton Berle, John Carradine, Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz, Bob Crosby, Charles Coburn, Mae West, Sylvia Sidney, Nancy Olson & William Holden, Jane Wyman, Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, Jimmy Durante, Peggy Lee, Patti Page, Van Heflin, Jose Ferrer, Rhonda Fleming, Boris Karloff, Lou Costello, Sid Caesar, Frankie Laine, Gordon MacRae, Jeff Chander, Vic Damone, Julius La Rosa, Johnny Desmond, June Valli, Linda Darnell, Tony Curtis, Ann Sheridan, Burt Lancaster, Tony Bennett, Shelley Winters, Danny Thomas, Sophie Tucker, Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Joni James, John Wayne, Mickey Spillane, Pat O'Brien, June Valli, Jennifer Jones, Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra, Gary Cooper, Ernest Borgnine, Ginger Rogers, James Cagney, Joan Bennett, Donald O'Connor, Joan Crawford, Lauren Bacall, Liberace, Vivian Blaine, Fran Warren, George Gobel, Anita Ekberg, Sandra Dee, Audrey Hepburn, Kirk Douglas, Mitzi Gaynor, Jack Lemon, Cary Grant.[/size]
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