Answers to Quiz #57 - April 22, 2006

What was the name of the company that owned this truck?
Who owns their trucks now?
Submitted by David Lepitre.
The Sperry Candy Co. of Milwaukee, WI.
The company was sold to Pearson's and
eventually was bought by Brach's Candy Co. of TN.
One truck was bought by Tom and Ed Seebach, owners of
Champion Chick of Milwaukee, WI.
One truck was bought by "Capt." Bob Henniger of LaCross, WI.
American Heritage Magazine
Land of the Candy Bar
Ray Broekel
October/November 1986
Volume 37, Issue 6

Drawing upon a lifetime of study,
our author chooses ten classic
American candy bars worthy of
special attention.
10. Chicken Dinner

One of the early nut rolls, the Chicken Dinner bar was introduced by the Sperry Candy
Company in the early 1920s, and its first wrappers carried the drawing of a roasted
chicken. The unusual name was meant to echo the feeling of well-being and prosperity
associated with “a chicken in every pot”—a slogan that went back to Henry IV of
France and which would be revived for the 1928 Republican campaign. Fleets of Model
A trucks disguised as giant, sheet-metal chickens were used by the Sperry people to
deliver their creation. The makers took an amazingly long time to discover that a roast
chicken didn’t convey the image of candy to most people, but at last, several years
after the bar’s debut, the picture of the chicken was dropped from the wrapper. Sperry
stuck with the name, however, and it is a tribute to the bar’s quality that it surmounted
that obstacle for some forty years before finally disappearing in the 1960s.
Candy Wrappers, Ads, Postcards, Etc.
The Candy Wrapper Museum

The world according to candy: "Hey, kids, what would
you like for dinner tonight? A 'Full Dinner,' a 'Chicken
Dinner' or a 'Chicken Dinner Jr.?' "Gee, Mom, I'm still
kinda full from the 'Full Dinner' I ate for lunch. I'll just
go for the 'Chicken Dinner Jr.' tonight."
Ebay Auction

Seller: nateandaimee
Winning bid: US $20.51   
Ended: Mar-29-06 22:37:06 PST
Item location: Fond Du Lac, WI, United States

This is a Chicken Dinner Candy advertisement found in a wall that we tore down while
remodeling a bar we purchased a couple of years ago. This advertisement is in good
condition. The 160 year-old building it was found in was previously in history a post
office, general store, and a gas station before becoming a bar. This item is from 1926
or earlier! Measures 4.25" x 3.125" -- Item will be shipped in a picture frame that we
used to display in our bar.

Brian's New Rockhead Blog

Forget About the Bird Flu With This Chicken

Not quite a Weinermobile, but pretty sharp nonetheless. I
Chicken Dinner Poster

Please note: Due to the printing process used in its manufacture,
this item will not bear the same resolution found in traditional
color-separation techniques. This is a lower quality print offered
because of its unique subject matter. Do not subject this poster
to heat mounting, the toner will melt.
Chicken Dinner Candy Display

8 x 10 silver photograph of two store displays for
Chicken Dinner candy with an advertising sign in the
background. Circa 1920 silver photograph.
Chicken Dinner Candy Store Signs and Displays
Clockwise from lower left:
Chicken Dinner Good Candy Trucks
Forms and Spaces: Sculpture in La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1992.
by Stephannie Hammes and Dr. Leslie F. Crocker
Captain Bob's infamous chicken truck is another of La Crosse's well-known pieces of
art. "Henrietta" is a sheet metal and fiberglass chicken on a 1953 Ford truck body. It
was created in the 1920's by the Barg and Foster Candy Company in Milwaukee. Later,
a fleet of 8 were sold to the Sperry Candy Company in St. Louis, Missouri. The
Republican campaign slogan of 1932, "A chicken in every pot" inspired the company
to make the Chocolate Chicken Bar and the trucks were used to promote the product.
In the 1950's the candy bar and the trucks were phased out. A personal friend and
Sperry employee sold the truck to "Capt'n
Bob" Henninger with the stipulation that "
he could take Henrietta for a joy ride
whenever he visited." It was probably at
this time that Henrieta was mounted on a
new truck body. This is the only one of
the original eight remaining. Not only was
Henrietta a moving sculpture she was also
vocal. She came equipped with a
loudspeaker, and was the first talking float in any Octoberfest parade.
Cap'n BOB's Chicken
3325 Mormon Coulee Rd.
La Crosse WI
dial 788-7720
Actually, the truck was purchased in 1959 by Ed Seebach from the Sperry Candy
Company. The truck, used as a promotional tool in the 50’s to sell candy bars, has been
used in the same way by the Champion Chicken Business ever since.

The chicken has been moved to various trucks throughout the years (as seen in the
pictures) and still holds a special place in the community.

See for several cool pictures of the
chicken truck in recent manifestations.
Slide of the Week: November 11th, 2005
Chicken Dinner Candy Truck,
Milwaukee, WI 1956

A giant chicken nests on a pick-up truck
parked in front of a Chrysler-Plymouth
dealer. Behind it in the window a coral ‘56
Chrysler Windsor is on display. What the
Oscar Meyer Weiner Mobile is to Oscar Meyer the Chicken Dinner Candy Truck is to
Chicken Dinner Candy.

Yes, there really was a candy called “Chicken Dinner Candy.” It must’ve been
something like eating sweet chicken bullion. The Sperry Candy Company in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin manufactured the odd candy. Even with its rusty chrome wheel cover the
colorful one-of-a-kind pick-up promoted the candy better than any billboard could as it
drove around town making promotion stops. Color-wise, the fender skirted, turquoise
and yellow two-toned truck is a stark contrast to the hot pink chicken perched on top
like a camper. Perhaps the big bird was stocked with the sweet treat and the wings
flapped up to create shade for the window to buy the candy.

Whatever happened to this strange candy, this time it was made, who concocted it and
where is this truck now? Was it vegetarian or was there chicken in it? I wish I could
tell you. Mmmmm.

Charles Phoenix
Los Angeles
November 11, 2005
Cached Google Images of Chicken Trucks
(I had trouble bringing them up in my browser.)
Chicken Dinner Candy Advertising Truck

8 x 10 silver photograph of Chicken Dinner
Brand Candy advertising truck. Printed on linen
with tab on the left for binder placement.
Shows the wildly decorated truck with signs
advertising the famous candy. By Long -
photographic logo in the negative.
Chicken Dinner Candy Float Silver Photographs

Two 8 x 10 silver photographs of Chicken Dinner Brand Candy parade float. The
images feature the similar floats and drivers taken from slightly different angles. Each
printed on linen with tab on the left for binder placement. E.J. Wasson Commercial
Photos of Bay City, Michigan backstamps on each.
The Sperry Candy Co.
The Book of Threes
A Subject Reference Tricyclopedia

The Chicken Dinner was originally created by Milwaukee-based Sperry Candy
Company, and I guess the idea was to convey a sense of wealth and prosperity "a
chicken in every pot." (Another of Sperry's big sellers was the Club Sandwich bar.)
Sperry was bought out by Pearson's in 1962; five years later, it was sold to Winona's
Schuler Chocolate Factory, which itself was the originator of the corn-flake-spiked
Duck Lunch bar. (If you want to work up a real Minnesota jingoist fury, consider that
Schuler was sold in 1978 to Tennessee's Brock Candy Company, so goodbye to the
Cold Turkey, Snow Maid, and Snow Cherry--what do they know about snow in
Tennessee?) Schuler was sold in 1978 to Brock Candy Company. In August 1994
Brach purchased Brock Candy Company forming Brach & Brock Confections, Inc.
Elizabeth and Glen Sperry
Founders of the Sperry Candy Co.
Wisconsin Centenarians
Born in Elkhorn on January 12, 1897, Elizabeth had an interest in the culinary arts and
was an entrepreneur at an early age. As a girl, she dug up horseradish roots from
around the railroad tracks, ground them and sold the horseradish door to door.  She
cooked for bachelor uncles on a farm nearby, and after high school worked at her
sister's restaurant in William Bay. Elizabeth married Glen Sperry in 1917 and went into
the restaurant business with his brother. She and Glen started a candy business.  The
Chicken Dinner and Denver Sandwich candy bars became famous. Glen opened a pool
hall and soda fountain. Elizabeth tells of racking pool balls for Curly Lambeau when the
Parkers were in town. There are three daughters and many grandchildren.
Extra Credit goes to Pat Snyder and Loren Godburn for submitting these pictures of
other well-known food-mobiles.  (No, that's not them in the picture, although they are
both "weiners" of the contest this week.)
Our readers' comments:

Betty Halberg
- Col. Sanders?  Now in a museum in Kentucky?

Richard Cleaveland - Milwaukee is my home town, but by the time this picture was
taken I was 30 and had moved away.

Judy Pfaff - The only one remaining may be the sculpture in La Crosse, WI.  But, I
would like to think that the other 7 chicken trucks must have found good homes
somewhere in our world perhaps beside the Oscar Meyer Weiner car/truck in some
suitable museum or fun park. I am putting LaCrosse, WI on my travel list.

Loren Godburn - Are the trucks now owned by Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner

Carol Haueter - Too bad the one man band isn't around. It would be a match made in

Delores Martin - It was interesting reading about the chicken truck.  It was interesting
about the candy also even though the candy itself doesn’t sound good.  I thought that it
was interesting that it came about because of the chicken in every pot.  Doing a search
on the Sperry company brought up a web site that had a kinds of candy listed and what
company made it.  I was surprised that I got this quiz so easily.  I just did a google
search on the chicken truck.   Talk to you later.

Eva Royal - Colleen, I love your emails and am pleased to be a part of the quizzes.  
Thanks for your kind words and my new title.   I was glad to be a contributor.   

These are...two pictures....The Captain Bob picture is as it was shown on the website
and reversed so I could compare it to the Chicken Dinner Sperry Co. I thought the
Sperry Candy company picture was really neat with the little chicken mobiles in the

The really great option on the Indiana Parade website
edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/kcc&CISOPTR=29&REC=12 is you can
point your cursor at any spot on the picture and it will enlarge clear enough that you
can see the faces of the drivers and read the fine print. I have enlarged this picture in
sections and put them together in order to count them.  
I count 9 chicken mobiles!  
What do you think.  Somewhere I read that there were only 8.

Starting left to right; The first 2 cars do not have a chicken on top. The 3 car is the
first to have a chicken, then the next car looks like a roadster with a smaller chicken
behind and possibly in a separate trailer? The 4, 5 & 6 cars each have a chicken top.
The 7 car really looks like a van with Eat Chicken Dinner in large letters and the last car
#8 looks like a touring car with advertisement on the side but no chicken. From the
looks of the cars ages, they might be parked in order of their origin. Isn't is unusual that
for all those years the price of the candy bar stayed at 5c?

Looking forward to your analysis.  Eva
The Chicken Dinner Marching Band
salutes our winners!

Pat Snyder                Stan Read
Lincoln Mulkey                Loren Godburn
Don Schulteis           Richard Cleaveland
Rick Mackinney                Judy Pfaff
Debbie Wesley                Eva Royal
Nancy Gamelin                DeeDee King
Mary Fraser           Maureen O'Connor
Kelly Fetherlin                Rick Roof
Elaine C. Hebert                Carol Epp
Delores Martin                Carol Haueter
Debbie Sterbinsky                Betsy Scott
Mike Pfister
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discount towards the purchase of the
Forensic Genealogy book.
Quiz #57 Results
found this giant postcard at an estate sale a few weeks ago, and only after bringing it
home did I notice that it wasn't for a food delivery truck, but a rolling ad for Chicken
Dinner brand candy bars! Produced by a Milwaukee company, I weep at the thought of
this thing rolling down the very roads I drive on today, long before I was born.
According to the back of the card, there were FLEETS of them! Sob! Oh, where did
we go wrong, America? Where did we go WRONG?!

Sigh... this guy has another picture of one, with a little more history as well as a
speculation on the name of the candy, while
this site has a wrapper image from a
spin-off treat. This Ebay auction is fabulous, too...