Not Past It - How The Green M&M Got Sexy

0:01

Hey, not past it listeners.

It’s time for the return of the historical, domino effect.

You know that thing where you line up a bunch of upright, Domino’s and then you tip over that first one, and it hits the next one.

And the next one, and the next one.

0:16

And it goes like well, and our version, each Domino will be a mini history story, that leads you to the next event in a chain reaction.

And we’ll end up at a completely different place than where we started from gimlet media.

0:34

This is not passed it a show about the stories.

We can’t quite leave behind.

And I’m Simone plannin on today’s episode.

We’re going back 123 years ago, this week to October 1st, 1898.

The beginning of the end of the Spanish-American war and will snake our way through history to the creation of a modern-day sex icon.

1:00

The dominoes are all lined up and we’ll knock over that first one.

After the break.

1:15

Mary, I’m so happy to have you back.

I’m so happy to be back to join me on this historical.

Domino effect.

Journey.

I invited my dear friend when I need a good laugh.

She’s the first person I call I’ve known her since College.

1:32

She’s back by popular demand.

Mary Halliwell me back home.

So happy a lot of people.

I’ve come a lot of very positive feedback about the last time you were on the show, just so you know, you’ve got fans.

Makes me so happy.

Oh my God.

Okay.

Yeah.

1:47

Buckling my seatbelt.

I’m along for the ride.

So before I even get into it, this is going to feel like, a super random question.

What’s your feeling on Candy?

Are you a candy person?

Who can’t.

Okay.

I’m not like a huge candy purse.

2:03

It’s like handy.

It’s like for Halloween and movies like Skittles.

Absolute would lay down my life for Skittles.

Oh interesting.

Yeah.

Yeah, honestly.

Now that I’m saying it it’s like yeah, pretty much any candy?

Like they’re like candies only for Halloween and movies and then you’re like then I love all of it.

2:25

Well, that’s good to know.

So talk about away in the back of your brain for now.

And let’s start our little Domino Adventure.

Hmm.

Domino number one.

We’re actually going to begin our journey with the Spanish-American War.

2:43

Oh my god.

Do you remember this from history class?

The Spanish-American war was like before even the Revolutionary War.

So the Spanish-American war was in the late late 1800.

So like 1898 so, you know, I don’t whatever.

3:04

But that’s fine.

So I would not have known, had I not been rigorously prepped before this.

So, yeah, so we’ve got the Spanish-American war in 1898 and the war was fought between the US and Spain.

3:22

Basically fighting over all of these Island territories in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

So, places like Cuba Puerto Rico, the Philippines.

Hmm, The Narrative was that You know, the u.s.

Went into this war, to liberate these colonies, but, you know, they also had a lot of economic incentives and Military incentives to be in these places because they’re excellent places to park.

3:45

Your Navy, in case you ever need to go to war which the u.s.

Seems to love to do.

Anyways, we don’t need to get into all of that.

The thing that you need to know is that on October 1st, 1898 a hundred and twenty-three years ago this week.

4:02

Hmm.

The first piece.

Negotiations began between the US and Spain in the peace treaty, the u.s.

Games.

All of these territories.

They get possession of Puerto Rico and Guam Spain.

Relinquishes.

Its claim to Cuba.

4:18

And my question to you is, what do you think these territories may have had in common?

You said it was Cuba.

Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba, the Philippines there, you know, doing their imperialism thing.

4:38

Yes, I think just, I feel like I’m cheating a little bit from our conversation earlier, but these all sound like, very warm places and potentially places that are good areas to grow sugar.

You are very smart.

4:55

Marry.

That is exactly what they have in common.

So while sugar is not the like explicit reason.

Why the US wanted to claim these territories.

These were countries that had climates that were perfect for producing sugar.

5:12

So now we’re in the early, nineteen hundreds, and in order to encourage sugarcane production, the US government actually gave all of these tariff preferences.

Says, to these new territories this meant that Sugar could get exported to the state’s at really low prices.

5:29

This worked very well and Sugar took off and a bunch of us.

Candy companies actually take advantage of this one in particular go so far as to set up shop and newly independent Cuba which brings us to problem.

5:44

Number two.

Mr. Hershey bar himself.

The candy maker Milton Hershey lands in Cuba.

So her she was a couple of decades into his candy Empire at this point.

Oh well, sweets of Hershey’s was started in the eighteen hundreds.

6:02

Yep.

Oh my God, you know, old school, old school American business.

So her she shows up in Cuba and 1916 and like, immediately falls in love with the place.

He liked buys up like 10,000 acres of land and the longer he stays there.

6:29

The more invested he becomes to the point where he actually Builds an entire Hershey Village in Cuba, just like the one that he built back in Pennsylvania fascinating and in this Hershey Village, he builds schools.

He builds orphanages movie theaters.

6:47

Diamonds.

He even built an electric railroad has an Empire.

But the most important thing about all this is that with this Cuban Sugar Mill her, she doesn’t just control candy manufacturing.

He actually now, owns a huge chunk of the supply chain.

7:05

Wow.

So he’s like on fire.

There’s no stopping this man.

And this success continues for the next several decades.

Okay, and in 1939, he is approached by another candy maker, by the name of Forrest Mars.

7:25

Oh right?

Mars Bars.

Exactly.

Thank you for such a beautiful transition into the next Domino.

Her, she meets Mars terminal number three.

Do you know any of the Mars products?

7:46

I just know Mars Bars, but the other ones, I don’t know.

Yeah, Mars Bars Milky Way as a Mars product.

Okay?

Snickers is a Mars product.

Do we know how they came up with?

The name?

Snickers, Snickers was apparently named after their family racehorse.

8:06

Oh my gosh, you know, mortalized.

Yeah, rich people things, you know, Candy Empire.

Things, you know, are you know how we all have our family resource?

So this family of candy Barons, the Mars family, the patriarch of this family is Frank Mars.

8:24

He’s the one who actually found the Mars company, but I would say that in many ways.

It was actually revolutionized by Frank.

Son Forest heir to the throne.

Okay?

Yep.

Exactly.

And Forest is this.

Like just like fucking candy GD?

8:42

Yes, like all those famous candy bars that we just talked about Forest.

Had a hand in inventing, all of them.

Just like hit after hit after hit just fully.

Yeah, just fully crushing it.

Unfortunately for some his father do not have the best relationship.

9:01

Frank left forests mother when Forrest was just a child and the word estrangement has been used a lot to describe their relationship.

They did reconnect.

They’re in life.

When Forrest was about 19 years old, and they began working together, but, despite forests, you know, sort of skill for the candy business, their relationship deteriorated and Frank eventually kicked Forest out of the company in 1933.

9:30

Hmm.

And Forest, decides to take his talents elsewhere.

He moves to Europe where the Spanish Civil War is taking place.

And he starts to notice that the soldiers are really into this one, particular kind of candy.

9:51

They’re like these little bean size chocolates that are covered in a candy coating, which over there.

They called smart.

He’s so not like the powdery different from the American smart.

He’s not the little fruity flavored chalk.

I think the fruit chalk chalk.

10:09

Yeah.

It’s not the fruit chalk.

It’s these little circular candy-coated.

Chocolate sets.

So he brings that idea back to the u.s.

In In 39, and he’s looking for opportunities to make candy in America.

10:26

And this is the point when he reaches out to his father’s rival, the Hershey Company.

Oh my God, crosses party lines huge drama.

Can you like going to his father’s mortal eminent?

This is like, you know Shakespearean Saga.

10:42

This is Shakespeare.

So Forest travels up to Hershey Pennsylvania, basically to be like, hey, I’ve got this idea for this candy.

Do y’all want to do a hot collab on this?

11:04

But at the time of this particular visit Milton Hershey was out of town.

I don’t know, maybe Chillin and Hershey Town, Cuba or something.

And so, they’re different sort of versions of this story, but allegedly instead of To meet her, she himself Forest meets with the next best guy, who is the president of her Shi Corp.

11:25

A man named William Murray, and he pitches him.

These little candy-coated, chocolate Circle, things and Marie is like, love the idea.

Let’s make a deal under one condition.

My son Bruce Murray has to join in on the Venture.

11:44

So Horace, like, fine prints of candy, like Lee’s like Ken.

Andy boys.

Bruce’s much of like aunjanue as Bruce, does not have the forest to touch unfortunately.

Okay.

11:59

What Bruce does have is the last name Murray and so Mars and Marie together, combine their last names and decide to name their hot new Candy.

The M&M and then and ours and Marie.

12:20

Wow, and so they patent this.

Mmm on March 3rd 1941, which is very interesting timing because this is just nine months before America would enter World War Two.

12:37

Yeah.

Yeah.

And what Mars and Marie are able to do, is they snag a Huge contract with the American Military to basically include M&M’s as part of the soldiers rations.

Wow.

So M&M’s are hugely popular because of World War II and they’re available to the public for five cents the tube.

13:02

So, you know, very affordable candy as well and forced sees an opportunity basically to consolidate control over M&M’s.

So he makes a deal to buy out his partner.

We don’t actually know the details of this.

They’ve never been revealed.

13:19

Both Mars and Hershey are like very secretive about this.

Oh, wow, and at this point, this is just like one feather and forests cap because he’s also been slowly acquiring a bunch of the Mars Corporation, basically as members of his family died off.

13:37

So that’s how Forest operates.

Morris is such a volatile character.

Yep.

So now Forest is in this very advantageous position where he owns the rights to like one of the most popular candies in America the Eminem.

13:53

And now, he also owns one of the largest candy companies.

The Mars company.

He’s sitting pretty.

He’s sitting pretty and he ends up becoming the Rival, to his, former partners over at Hershey.

And this is where we have the beginning of this sort of epic battle between Hershey and Who will win the battle for America’s hearts and mouths?

14:20

And yes, I actually do made it in the way of thinking.

That’s after the break.

I’m really stoked for more royal family of candy info.

Welcome back my sugar babies before the break.

14:42

We knocked over the first three dominoes Mary.

Let’s recap.

Okay.

So Domino number one, the Spanish-American War leads to the u.s.

Sugar.

Boom, as they acquire a bunch of sugar producing territories in the Atlantic and the Pacific.

15:00

Then Domino.

Number two, American chocolate.

Titan Milton Hershey uses the new American dominance to Band his candy Empire and lastly.

Domino number three.

Her she is approached by Forrest Mars, the cast out, son of the Mars company and he convinces her she to go in on this new Candy.

15:22

The Eminem, but their Alliance doesn’t last very long.

Forrest buys.

The Hershey Company out of their M&M’s chair.

While also taking the can Dethrone.

Atop The Mars Empire and That’s how Candy Boy becomes candy, King.

15:41

Yeah.

Spreads its wings and flies.

Yeah, exactly.

But that all that was not enough for Forest.

He wanted more which leads us to dominant.

Number four.

So Mars is still competing with her.

16:02

She for market dominance, and in the 1950s, Mars, launches a new weapon television ads, so, I don’t know if you’re aware Mary, but Mars has like some pretty classic campaigns for M&M’s chocolate.

16:30

What’s in your mouth?

Not in your hand.

Very specific on the melting location.

Yeah, exactly.

So they come up with this phrase, melt in your mouth, not in your hand.

And another thing that they sort of contribute to this ad campaign as they create these Eminem cartoon characters, so they have a mr.

16:52

Plane, and a mr.

Peanut M&Ms playing and peanut chocolate candies, but Good guys, and they are, you know, M&M’s with arms and legs and smiles.

Plane is the red one.

17:10

And peanut is the yellow one.

Yeah.

Yeah, and these are sort of like early versions of those characters.

They don’t really have like fleshed-out personalities or anything.

They’re basically just like mascots empty shells if you will you don’t love about but that’s okay.

17:29

But this ends up working very well for forest and the Mars company and by 1956 M&M’s was the number one candy in the US.

Oh, wow, like wildly popular.

Hmm.

So over the next, several decades Hershey and Mars are in this, you know, this like back and forth of like who has the most market share and Mars is coming out ahead like pretty consistently by. 1879, Mars held, 36% of the chocolate bar Market, her.

18:03

She only held 29%.

Oh, wow.

Yeah, Mars definitely owned the market, you know, compared to her.

She, yeah, until 1988, her she acquires Cadbury Schweppes, which is another, you know, large candy and, and food manufacturer Cavalry and Schweppes were together.

18:28

They were like, this is like celebrity gossip, like, they were together at that time.

Wow, Cadbury Schweppes seen canoodling spotted.

So after her, she acquires Cadbury Schweppes, they sort of take over Mars and now they own the dominant share of the candy industry in the US.

18:49

Okay, and so, over the next like several years, the pressure keeps building.

And eventually, the Mars company is like, okay, we need, we need like a A totally new advertising strategy.

We’re going to start working with a new creative agency to come up with some kind of grabby ad campaign for our products.

19:09

Okay, and this brings us to an incredible woman named Susan, cradle.

And the thing you need to know about Susan is that people call her the real Peggy Olson?

Like the Mad Men character?

Oh, yeah.

Okay, which that’s pretty accurate.

19:27

Honestly.

She actually, I don’t know if you’re familiar with these but she came up with the Mayhem commercials which was the Allstate Insurance commercials.

Do you want to talk to the guy?

So the guy who’s like, Liz, lemon’s boyfriend, and 30 Rock.

19:45

Yeah.

And Dennis from 30 Rock.

Uh-huh.

And if you’ve got cut-rate insurance, you could be paying for this yourself.

So get Allstate.

You can save money.

And yeah, that’s that’s cradle that the Cradle joint but it’s not crazy.

That’s Is and let’s insert a table.

20:00

That’s all she said.

So we actually got in touch with the Susan cradle because we wanted to fit, you know, like we just wanted to understand why why like what is a legitimate never-before-heard interview with Susan cradle?

20:17

Yes.

This is, this is a not passed it exclusive.

The prize humans is so beautiful.

I mean Circle the colors.

So beautifully crafted.

So in 1995 when this Big M&M’s account was up for grabs.

Susan, was working at this big Ad Agency, called bbdo.

20:35

And so Susan and her colleagues.

They went over to the Mars Corporation to pitch an idea for a new ad campaign and Susan was like, you know, those old characters from the 50s like, you know, we mentioned mr.

Plain and mr.

Peanut.

She was like, I think it’s time that M&M’s moves Beyond, you know, this like old basic characterization and I’ll try something new.

21:00

Maybe there’s something else we can do that makes this a more sophisticated choice.

And I remember you look you said I appreciate your passion trying to get me to do something new but we’re not getting rid of the characters and he saw my face and he goes what’s wrong and I said, well, they’re just kind of there empty, you know, they’re not interesting and she was like, you know what, we’re going to take these M&M’s characters that y’all been fucking But since the 50s and we’re going to actually make them interesting for ones.

21:32

These are these are definitely not her words.

He’s like, this is my my interpretation of what she did traumatic reenactment.

Yeah, and he goes, okay.

Here’s the deal.

You go.

Tell me what I should do with these characters that would make them interesting and that you would want to write for them.

21:48

And I promise, I’ll try to give you the chance.

So Steve and I went back and we’re like, you know, there’s six colors in the bag and if you think about six, that’s kind of the perfect comedic Ensemble, number of characters.

22:08

She comes up with this idea of like, alright, let’s give each of these different colors of M&M’s distinct personalities, you know, different characteristics.

I’ve had three people try to eat me today and she flushes them.

Into these Fall characters, red is the Blustery know at all, and he has first child syndrome because he was the first Eminem ever created.

22:32

Anyway, sometimes I wish I were human.

Yellow is kind of the, I would say.

Idiot savant doesn’t take life too.

Seriously.

Doesn’t overthink anything.

I have no idea what you’re saying.

The Count Me In Blue was the next one that we developed the backstory.

22:52

I’m Blue.

Blue.

Is that America voted for blue to become one of the colors?

Hey, you must be the new blue M&M’s.

We turn our g into the more Woody Allen - type care.

If I’m the official spokes candy for the new pretzel Eminem’s, there is no.

23:11

And then and then there was green, the green one.

We know her.

Cause she is that bitch, you know, she’s the sexy one and she’s So, the first female, mmm, I wanted her to be a confident strong sexy.

23:31

So, we said, let’s let our own it, you know, less letter, be sexy and that we did a campaign for her.

I think she came after orange, but it was just called.

What is it about?

The green ones.

Question sugar?

Yes, Dan and true?

What they say about the green light, okay.

23:52

Lime, where do you get your gossip?

And it was all innuendo.

We never fought outside it, but it was just, you know, let’s lean into the urban legend.

Yeah, then that urban legend, Susan remembers hearing about it back in the 70s when she was a teenager.

24:08

When I was in high school.

There was a myth in the 70s, about the green ones, made you horny, and I can smell my high school carpet and I get benches, where I was sitting, Hanging with the guys who you know, we were all just starting to think about what was happening.

24:28

Hormonal e with us and I just remember him when I met a green one.

Hey, hey, I’m like what?

What and in fact I went to a conservative school.

So it was the green was made you pregnant, which I love that.

We went straight from horny to pregnant.

24:44

This is like and in the years since this, you know, caricature was born the Green one has actually really blossomed into quite the seductress and inducing raspberry, almond M&M’s premiums Rich.

25:03

Premium chocolate with luscious almonds and the Sweet Taste of raspberries.

It’s your heart’s desire.

Oh, well, I don’t know.

You guys like me, who should just all pack it up and go home.

25:21

I also just I love the little details but they give her the fact that she has like these little high heels and these lash extension does lash extensions.

Like she’s looking good.

That’s the thing is, like, she’s doing great.

25:37

She’s got her go-go boots on.

She’s kind of been empowered Eminem, but at the same time, always has like a, like bevel and her legs, you know what I mean?

Yeah.

She knows her angles.

Her read is very much.

Like there are lives, sexy singles.

Time.

25:52

Now for your calls?

Yes.

No.

The what is pornographic?

Like what is wrong with us?

That we need a hot like, a sex icon?

Mmm.

Why do we do this?

Like, why do we got a sexualized candy to sell?

26:10

It?

It is like clever in its own little way but it’s also it’s just like making a joke out of the way that women have always been.

In perceived as sexual objects.

26:26

I mean, first of all, she’s an M&M.

I mean it’s she has no female parts.

She doesn’t have sex.

She can’t have sex, you know, she’s just sexy and she owns it.

And you know, I like that green as sexy and comfortable with her with that and her and it sounds like I’m talking about really serious stuff right now.

26:49

It’s like everyone’s home like this is just stupid, but But yeah, so I don’t you know, okay.

I saw you throwing your head back in.

Exasperation.

When you were listening to that.

Please tell me more about that.

That’s about reaction.

I don’t know if the argument that like she doesn’t have sex.

27:11

Organs is like Relevant, is it?

Well, it actually might be weirdly relevant in some way.

Okay.

Okay.

Wait, we are taking this one step further, Mary.

27:28

Domino number five.

Let me take you to June 28th 2015.

Okay, which is you know during pride month.

The M&M’s official Twitter account tweeted a picture of Miss green, the green M&M and Ms. Brown the brown Eminem.

27:54

It was The Other Woman, Eminem, the one with glasses, the one with glasses one has eyelashes one his glasses, but that the two ways.

I can be in the world and they tweeted a photo of these two M&M’s holding hands on a beach and the quote on the Tweet which was attributed to miss green said it’s rare.

28:20

Miss Brown, and I get to spend time together without some colorful characters barging in.

And so the internet took that image and they were like, oh, Ms. Brown and Miss green are dating.

28:36

And Miss green is not only a woman, but she’s also a lesbian.

Mmm.

Okay, cause we’re bringing in gender and sexuality to these candies lives.

Oh my gosh.

28:53

All right, first of all, beautiful, so now we know that the M&M’s have relationships.

They have relationships.

They have gender identities.

They have sexualities.

Okay, if I can be like a little cynical.

29:11

Yeah, is this not perhaps an instance of a corporation in the 1990s?

Tapping into like rampant male gaze and sexism and then a short, 20 years later being like, hmm.

29:30

Maybe we can just turn this little train around and tap into like a new like a more like a rainbow washing.

Yeah, yeah.

Hey you guys just so you know these M&M’s are also gay.

Happy Pride.

Happy Pride by Eminem.

29:46

Yeah, I don’t know.

Is that too cynical?

I know that feels pretty spot-on to me like, me and they’re not worthy of Celebration.

That’s a separate question.

That is actually not the end of the green M&Ms, backstory for the Redemption.

30:07

So in addition to miss green, I guess coming out.

There’s also this other piece of Internet lore.

That has not been officially confirmed by Eminem’s either way, but people noticed that prior to this like 1990s Revival of these M&M’s characters before Were introduced to miss green.

30:33

The green M&Ms. Character was a male peanut M&M.

No way.

Wait, so people believe that Miss Greene is also trans.

30:50

Okay, wait.

So initially.

She was like male presenting and now is female and is in a loving.

So the green M&M is actually a trans lesbian icon.

31:08

This is like the most triumphant possible final Domino.

This is she’s been on a real journey, but it feels like she’s landed somewhere where she feels really comfortable with herself and with her life.

And yeah, that she shared.

31:25

So for her living and learning her true.

Beautiful Eminem truth.

Like good for his green, good for Miss Greene.

I just think it’s so special that we started off and you know imperialistic war and ended up with a trans lesbian icon.

31:45

Yes, even if she is a candy, you know, honestly, especially if she’s a candy like good for her.

Yeah, yeah.

Candy rights.

32:09

Not passed it as a Spotify original produced by gimlet and zsp media.

This episode was produced by Julie, Carly last time.

We had a history Domino episode.

We started off with a Nazi invasion and ended up with the Abba inspired.

Musical Mamma Mia.

32:25

If you haven’t heard that one, go back and listen.

It’s a doozy.

See, we linked it in the show notes next week, spooky season, officially begins, and we’ve got the first episode in a month-long series of True Life.

Scary stories pulled right from history.

32:42

They think that she was killing these tenants.

She wears black a lot.

She has these light grayish eyes and she pulled your stare.

She is known as the, which the rest of our team.

Our producers can see Clark and Sarah, Craig, Laura, new, Is our intern, the supervising producer is Erica Morrison editing by moral Waltz, Andrea be Scott and Zach Stewart, Ponte fact-checking, by Jane, Ackerman sound design and mixing by, Matt Bowl, original music, by Sachs kicks, Ave.

33:14

Willie Green.

J bless and Bobby.

Lord.

Our theme song is Toko Liana by Coco, Co with music supervision by Liz Fulton, technical Direction by Zach Schmidt show art by Elysee Harvin and Talia Rahman, the executive producer at GSP me.

Media is Zach Stewart Ponte the executive producer from gimlet is Abbie.

33:32

Ruzicka.

This episode wouldn’t exist without April Merlot’s book, sugar and civilization American Empire and the cultural politics of sweetness.

If you want to learn more about the connection between the Spanish-American War and the sugar, boom, and the early 20th century.

33:48

You should check it out.

And in the event that the drama of the Mars family sparked, your interest, check out.

Susan Benjamin’s book, sweet as Sin, the unwrapped story of how candy became America’s favorite pleasure, Susan helped us navigate, the sticky family history, and we’re sure you’ll love her work.

34:06

Special thanks to Jake, Maya are low, Brandon Cook Angelina.

Franco Joelle Hutchins.

Jackie Lee Rd, Melanie, Meacham, Lydia Pole Green, Dan Behar and Clara Sankey Emily wiedemann.

List Styles and Nabil.

Cholan pot.

Follow, not past it now, to listen, for free exclusively on Spotify.

34:26

Click the little bell next to the follow button to get notifications for new episodes.

And hey, do you have any burning questions about the past?

Maybe a story?

Want us to dig into a history mystery.

You’ve always wondered about send us an email to not past it at zsp.

34:44

Media.com or leave us a voicemail at six four, six five zero four nine two, five two.

You can follow me on Twitter at Simone.

Plannin.

Thanks for hanging.

We’ll see you next week.

The green M&M is also Susie from Rugrats.

35:10

My name is Susie.

What’s yours Tommy?

Tommy?

What?

Well, that’s one of the more disturbing things.

I’m going to have to like work into my understanding of this Earth.

We all have our shadow sides, you know.

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