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Baby Ruth is an American candy bar made of peanuts, caramel, and chocolate-flavored nougat covered in compound chocolate.[1] Baby Ruth is currently owned by the Swiss company Nestlé.

Baby Ruth
Baby-Ruth-Wrapper-Small.jpg
Baby-Ruth-Split.jpg
Product type Confectionery
Owner Nestlé
Country United States
Introduced 1921
Previous owners
Website www.babyruth.com

In 1920, the Curtiss Candy Company refashioned its Kandy Kake into the Baby Ruth, and it became the best-selling confection in the five-cent confectionery category by the late 1920s.[2][3][4] The bar was a staple of the Chicago-based company for some seven decades. Curtiss was purchased by Nabisco in 1981. In 1990, RJR Nabisco sold the Curtiss brands to Nestlé.[5]

Contents

EtymologyEdit

 
Box of Curtiss' Baby Ruth candy bars at General Store in Portsmouth, North Carolina.

Although the name of the candy bar sounds like the name of the famous baseball player Babe Ruth, the Curtiss Candy Company traditionally claimed that it was named after President Grover Cleveland's daughter, Ruth Cleveland.[3][4] The candy maker, located on the same street as Wrigley Field, named the bar "Baby Ruth" in 1921, as Babe Ruth's fame was on the rise, 24 years after Cleveland had left the White House, and 17 years after his daughter, Ruth, had died. The company did not negotiate an endorsement deal with Ruth, and many saw the company's story about the origin of the name to be a devious way to avoid having to pay the baseball player any royalties. Curtiss successfully shut down a rival bar that was approved by, and named for, Ruth, on the grounds that the names were too similar.[6]

In the trivia book series Imponderables, David Feldman reports the standard story about the bar being named for Grover Cleveland's daughter, with additional information that ties it to the President: "The trademark was patterned exactly after the engraved lettering of the name used on a medallion struck for the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, and picturing the President, his wife, and daughter Baby Ruth."[7] He also cites More Misinformation, by Tom Burnam: "Burnam concluded that the candy bar was named ... after the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Williamson, candy makers who developed the original formula and sold it to Curtiss." (Williamson had also sold the "Oh Henry!" formula to Curtiss around that time.) The writeup goes on to note that marketing the product as being named for a company executive's granddaughter would likely have been less successful, hence their "official" story.[8]

However, David Mikkelson of Snopes.com denies the claim that the Williamsons invented the recipe, as Mr. George Williamson was head of the Williamson Candy Company, producers of the Oh Henry! bar. He continues to say that "the Baby Ruth bar came about when Otto Schnering, founder of the Curtiss Candy Company, made some alterations to his company's first candy offering, a confection known as 'Kandy Kake.'"[9]

MarketingEdit

 
The Baby Ruth sign at Wrigley Field

To promote the candy, company founder Otto Schnering chartered a plane in 1923 to drop thousands of Baby Ruth bars over the city of Pittsburgh — each with its own miniature parachute.[4][5] Thereafter, Schnering performed the parachute drops in various cities in over forty states.[4]

As if to tweak their own official denial of the name's origin, after Babe Ruth’s “called shot” at Wrigley Field in the 1932 World Series, Curtiss installed an illuminated advertising sign for Baby Ruth on the roof of one of the flats across Sheffield Avenue, near where Ruth's home run ball had landed in center field.[10] The sign stood for some four decades before being removed.[11]

In 1985, Nabisco paid $100,000 for the product placement of Baby Ruth to appear in the film The Goonies.[12]

In 1995, a company representing the Ruth estate licensed his name and likeness for use in a Baby Ruth marketing campaign.[13]

On p. 34 of the spring, 2007, edition of the Chicago Cubs game program, there is a full-page ad showing a partially unwrapped Baby Ruth in front of the Wrigley ivy, with the caption, "The official candy bar of major league baseball, and proud sponsor of the Chicago Cubs."

Continuing the baseball-oriented theme, during the summer and post-season of the 2007 season, a TV ad for the candy bar showed an entire stadium (played by Dodger Stadium) filled with people munching Baby Ruths, and thus having to hum rather than singing along with "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch.

IngredientsEdit

 
A Baby Ruth bar

Original flavor U.S. edition, listed by weight in decreasing order: sugar, roasted peanuts, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated palm kernel and coconut oil,[14] nonfat milk, cocoa, high-fructose corn syrup and less than 1% of glycerin, whey (from milk), dextrose, salt, egg, monoglyceride, soy lecithin, soybean oil, natural and artificial flavors, carrageenan, TBHQ, citric acid (to preserve freshness) and caramel color.[15]

SizesEdit

In addition to the single 2.1-ounce (59.5-gram) bar (sold in packages as Full Size), Baby Ruth is also sold in a 3.7-ounce (100 g) (King Size, and in packages of Fun Size and Miniatures.[14][16]

Related productsEdit

Nestlé produces a Baby Ruth ice cream bar with a milk chocolate coating, chocolate-covered peanuts, and a vanilla-and-nougat flavored ice cream center.[17] Nestlé also produces Baby Ruth Crisp bars, which are chocolate-covered wafer cookies, with a caramel-flavored cream and crushed peanuts. This is part of a line of Nestlé products under the Crisp name, including Nestlé Crunch Crisp and Butterfinger Crisp.

In popular cultureEdit

In 1929, the Curtiss Candy Company sponsored "The Baby Ruth Hour", a CBS Radio program.[4]

The Baby Ruth bar is infamously featured in a scene in the 1980 movie Caddyshack that takes place at a pool party.[18] Two teenage girls are sitting at poolside and one girl offers to share the tasty confection with her friend, when a third teen — a boy — asks for a piece of the candy and the girls refuse his request. The boy then tries to take the candy bar from the first girl, thereby accidentally knocking it into the pool, much to the young ladies' annoyance. Thinking someone had defecated in the pool due to the candy's perceived resemblance to human feces, all the partygoers make a mad scramble out of the pool. When Carl Spackler (Bill Murray) is cleaning out the pool afterward and recognizes the offending item as a Baby Ruth bar ("It's no big deal!"), he takes a bite out of it, much to the disgust of the country club's owners (played by Ted Knight and Lois Kibbee), who still believe it to be feces.

Baby Ruth was used in the American film The Goonies[19] by Chunk to befriend Sloth.

In the film The Sandlot, Scotty Smalls (after using his stepfather's Babe Ruth-autographed baseball in a game and wanting to get it back after he hit it over the fence into a backyard) mistakenly tells his friends that it was autographed by "Baby Ruth", to which his friends knew what he meant to say and shout "BABE RUTH!" before running to the fence to see the ball before it's taken away by a demonic dog they call "the Beast".

In the film The Mighty both Max and Kevin are awarded Baby Ruth bars for taking care of a problem in a local store.

In the film Hellboy, a Baby Ruth bar is used to lure and mollify the infant Hellboy when he is discovered after the destruction of the Nazi portal.

A popular song from the year 1956 was "A Rose and a Baby Ruth," written by John D. Loudermilk and recorded by George Hamilton IV.[20]

In the movie Four Brothers, Angel Mercer (played by Tyrese Gibson) offers to give a local kid playing baseball an entire box of Baby Ruth bars if he helps Angel by creating a distraction so Angel can ambush a dirty cop at his home.

In the television series "Friends", Rachel Green (played by Jennifer Aniston) and Ross Geller (played by David Schwimmer) are discussing baby names, almost settling on the name Ruth until Rachel excitedly says "Yes! We're having a little baby Ruth..." and they realise the obvious brand recognition joke.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Klein, Christopher (September 25, 2014). "Babe Ruth v. Baby Ruth". History (network). Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  2. ^ Smith, A.F. (2007). The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. Oxford Companions. Oxford University Press. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-0-19-988576-3. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Kawash, S. (2013). Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-374-71110-8. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Smith, A.F. (2012). Fast Food and Junk Food: An Encyclopedia of What We Love to Eat. Fast Food and Junk Food: An Encyclopedia of what We Love to Eat. ABC-CLIO. pp. 33–34. ISBN 978-0-313-39393-8. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Zeldes, Leah A. (2011-06-27). "Named for slugger or president's kid, candy is Chicago's baby". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  6. ^ Case of George H. Ruth Candy Co. v. Curtiss Candy Co, 49 F.2d 1033 (1931), Urban Legends Reference Pages: Baby Ruth
  7. ^ What Are Hyenas Laughing At, Anyway? (1995), p. 84.
  8. ^ How Do Astronauts Scratch an Itch? (1996), p. 288-289.
  9. ^ Do Elephants Jump? (2004), p. 264-265.
  10. ^ Wrigley Field. Potomac Books. 2006. p. 254. ISBN 978-1-61234-411-9. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  11. ^ Johnson, S. (2008). Chicago Cubs Yesterday & Today. MVP Books. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-7603-3246-7. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  12. ^ Cones, J.W. (1997). The Feature Film Distribution Deal: A Critical Analysis of the Single Most Important Film Industry Agreement. Southern Illinois University Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-8093-2082-0. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  13. ^ Sandomir, Richard (June 6, 2006). "Baseball adopts a candy, whatever it is named for - Business - International Herald Tribune". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  14. ^ a b Gomstyn, Alice (November 14, 2008). "Chocolate Lovers Pained by Candy Changes". ABC News. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  15. ^ Congressional Record, V. 147, PT. 18, December 11, 2001 to December 12, 2001. U.S. Government Printing Office. 2006. p. 2131. ISBN 978-0-16-075591-0. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  16. ^ Nutribase (2001). The NutriBase Guide to Fat & Fiber in Your Food. Avery. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-58333-111-8. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  17. ^ MacInerney, D.M.L.; Ryan, C. (2016). Ed. F. Kruse of Blue Bell Creameries. Texas A&M University Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-62349-363-9. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  18. ^ Praeger, D. (2007). Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product. Feral House. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-932595-21-5. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  19. ^ Molinari, M.; Kamm, J. (2002). Oops!: Movie Mistakes That Made the Cut. Citadel Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-8065-2319-4. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  20. ^ Coston, D. (2013). North Carolina Musicians: Photographs and Conversations. McFarland. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-7864-7461-5. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit