Screaming Yellow Zonkers! (Allan Katz)

Original Box (circa 1970)

Front - "Crispy Light Butter-Glazed Popcorn Snack!  The taste speaks for itself!  EAT!  Net Wt. 6 1/2 oz. (one/five thousand four hundred twenty-seventh of a metric ton)"

Left Side - "What to do with Screaming Yellows Zonkers!: Put them in your mouth.  Put them in your friend's mouth.  Read to them.  Dress them up and take them to the show.  Tease them.  Yell back at them.  Iron them.  What not to do with Screaming Yellow Zonkers!: Don't put them in a room with a beast.  Don't ignore them.  Don't paint them blue.  Don't lie to them.  Don't buy them a new car.  Don't leave them in a store.  Don't buy them shoes.  Don't let them talk to strangers."

Right Side - "What Zonkers! are made of: Authentic sugar; absolute popcorn; honest corn syrup; vegetable oil with integrity; legitimate butter (3%); real salt; plus all the ingredients that all America has been asking for: emulsifier (lecithin), antioxidant (BHA and BHT) and beta carotene.  Zonkers! - patent applied for!  And now a word from our sponsor - Ovaltine Food Products A Division of the Wander Co.  Villa Park, Illinois 60181."

Top - "Easily cheaper than diamonds of equal weight - This complete box only ... 37 cents."

Bottom - "This might be the bottom of the Screaming Yellow Zonkers! crisp light butter-glazed popcorn snack! box.  There is one way you can check this.  Open the top, and turn the box upside down.  If the Zonkers fall out, this is the bottom.  If they fall up, this is the top.  If nothing happens, this box is empty."

Back - "How to raise Zonkers: Select two Zonkers who adore each other, find them a cozy room with soft lights and a touch of beautiful music, gently spray the air with a hint of perfume from India, set a gourmet's table, accent with a carafe of Ovaltine, and wait forever. 
            "The Disappearing Zonker Trick: After putting on your magician's outfit, look around the house for a handkerchief, two hard boiled eggs, and a small piece of radium.  Then take seven Zonkers and place them neatly into the exact center of the handkerchief.  Two eggs are arranged near each other and under your hands.  Tie a half-hitch knot in the radium.  Then make the seven Zonkers disappear.  Your friends will be amazed.
            "Washing Instructions: Using a mild cantaloupe, wash by hand in luke warm water, drip dry.
            "The Greatest Zonker of Them All: A long, long time ago - before there were spaceships or even plastic - people used to get hungry.  And they would say to each other, 'Got anything good to eat?' and they would answer each other, 'What's it to ya?'  And they got hungrier and hungrier.  Then one day, someone (Arnold probably) said, 'Why don't we all eat the Zonker I've been saving?'  So they did.  And although it didn't make the people less hungry, it was still a nice gesture.
            "How to Trick a Zonker: Buy him a couple of presents, praise his wisdom, and tell him that you have a diamond mine in your mouth.  Next, hand him a little miner's hat, a cute little flashlight, and the deed to your mouth.  As he enters, grab the light, bite down, cover your ears, and prepare yourself for a wonderful treat.  You have just eaten a Zonker.  You have also eaten the deed to your mouth.
            "What Zonkers Are Lighter Than: An anvil, 12 humming bird wings, 3 medium sized trout, brown or beige, a very small cloud, 1/2 leaf, the smallest person, tar, the competition, all the tea in China, everything in the world put together.
            "Win a Continent!  Now Zonkers offers you the chance to win the continent of your choice.  And all you have to do is correctly identify this mystery voice, 'Hello, what is my name?'  The winner will be judged strictly on the basis of originality, and correctness of the answer.  No entries will be accepted after August 21, 1947."

Circus Box

Front - "Screaming Yellow Zonkers! Circus (Poster Offer on Back) New Crazy Writing.  Crispy light buttery, glazed popcorn snack!  EAT!  Net wt. 6 1/2 oz. (one/five thousand four hundred twenty-seventh of a metric ton)"

Left Side - "Giant Circus Poster: Here's your first and last chance to get your hot little hands on the Screaming Yellow Zonkers Brothers and Sister Miracle Circus Poster.  So pay attention, cutey-face.  It's a terrific 25" x 48" full color poster depicting circus acts that are so incredible that the performers have never successfully completed them.  Acts like: The Subterranean Spitfire, Estelle and Little Lupo, The Pan American All Armadillo Sax Jazz Band, Mr. Nitro, and many, many more.  And now this poster can be yours almost absolutely free.  Either fill out the coupon.  Or fill in the coupon.  Or put your name and address on a piece of paper (whichever you prefer).  Then send it with three (3) Screaming Yellow Zonkers box tops plus 50c for mailing, handling and profit.  [coupon is in the shape of a circus performer]  Send to: Screaming Yellow Zonkers Poster, P.O. Box 956, Rosemount, Minnesota 55068."

Right Side - "Professor I.Q. Ladnim's Quiz:  Question 1 (multiple choice) Zonkers are made of: a. None of the above.  b. All of the above.  c. Sugar, popcorn, corn syrup, vegetable oil, butter (3%), salt, emulsifier (lecithin), antioxidant (BHA and BHT), beta carotene, an artificial color.  d. I don't know.  e. I'm sure I don't know.  f. Independence Hall.  g. August 21, 1947.  h. Adolph Menjou.  Answer (1. c).  Scoring:  1 right - 37 points,  0 right - 34 points, passing score 44.  Zonkers Patent applied for!  And now a word from our sponsor: Ovaltine Food Products A Division of Sandoz-Wander, Inc. Villa Park, Illinois 60181."

Top - "Don't make me laugh!"  Box Admission price - 39 cents [marked down to 29 cents].  Aisle R.  Row 7.  Seat 3."

Bottom - "This might be the bottom of the Screaming Yellow Zonkers! crispy light buttery, glazed popcorn snack! box.  There is one way you can check this.  Open the top, and turn the box upside down.  If the Zonkers fall out, this is the bottom.  If they fall up, this is the top.  If nothing happens, this box is empty."

Back -     "The Revolving Zonkers: Commander Bye-Bye Samuels and his midget family of five will climb into the chambers of the 'Pistol of Pistols.'  Then, with little regard for safety, they will all allow themselves to be fired across the big top into a giant statue of a mockingbird made entirely of Zonkers.  Following their performance, and against their will, they will be eaten by our surprise bear, Sheldon.
                "The World's Strongest Zonker: 'Muscles' Fogel will astonish all with his fantastic physical prowess.  Hundreds of feet from the center ring Fogel will endeavor to single handedly lift the wallets of the entire audience.
                "The Aerodynamic Zonker: Princess Carlotta, using only her bad leg, will somehow saw her way to and fro on the dangerous 'Sag Wire' while juggling one Zonker simultaneously.  Attached to her other foot will be a 500 pound weight.  This feat has never been attempted anywhere else.  And if Carlotta has any sense, she won't try it here either.
                "The Subterranean Spitfire Claude Migraine: The sole performer this side of East Moldavia who can easily achieve the blistering speed of 63 m.p.h. with his head entirely buried far beneath the sod of the Big Top.
                "The Zonker That Changed His Life: The throbbing Wonder, exciting 'Whoopie' Cavelo, will before your very face, change himself into various household objects, several city skylines, and three best selling novels.  To top things off, 'Whoopie' will become a bomb, ignite himself, and give his final performance of the evening.  And of the year.  And of his life.
                "The Zonker in the Bottle: Amazing 'Puttybody' Starns will allow himself to be stuffed into a half-filled, grade A milk bottle.  Then he will consume at minimum, 15 boxes of Zonkers.  After which, his lovely wife Adele will have him committed."


This page was linked by Paul Krugman in a New York Times column about Screaming Yellow Zonkers in March 2010.  After the column was written, the author of the box copy (Allan Katz) wrote the following online letter to Mr. Krugman: "Paul, As the copywriter of the original Zonkers box, I was pleasantly stunned to have you quote my words after four decades - not to mention, but I will, clicking your link (copy on the boxes was fun) and discovering word for word all the copy that I wrote for the first two boxes.  As I glance at the very first Zonkers box off the production line, encased in lucite here in my office, I can unequivically state that as a result of all the preservatives, Zonkers is still as tasty as they were the day they were made."  [Allan Katz - Los Angeles - March 11, 2010]