The Marathon candy bar

C. Frankland of Lawrence, Kan., asks, 'Whatever happened to ...?'

The Marathon Bar was a full eight inches of braided chocolate and caramel. Introduced in 1973, the bar stood out, thanks to its bright-red package and gargantuan length. Inch markings printed on the wrapper showed that it was as long as it claimed. (The length was the result of its braided shape; it didn't weigh more than standard candy bars.) When sales didn't meet expectations, Mars Inc., took it off the shelves in 1981.

America's Marathon Bar is not to be confused with the Marathon Bar sold in the United Kingdom. Britain's Marathon was a chocolate-carmel-and-peanut product sold in the United States under a more familiar name: Snickers.

In 1990, Mars decided to change the Marathon's name to Snickers, the world's No. 1-selling chocolate bar.

But Mars didn't want to lose the candy bar's British fans. So for 18 months, the candy bar's wrapper sported both the Snickers and Marathon name, the latter in smaller type. Then the Marathon name was dropped. Snickers/Marathon went from the UK's No. 9 candy bar to No. 3.

If you wonder 'Whatever happened to...' write us at: One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail: whatever@csmonitor.com

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