I Want to Bring Back the Wowee Whistle

I have so longed to have a Wowee wax whistle again, a Halloween candy I remember from growing up. I did some searching. At first I thought they were originally made by the American Candy Company, which was founded in 1899 in Selma, Alabama, then sold in 1989 to the Pinkerton Group in Richmond, Virginia. Wait. The detectives?? No. The Pinkerton Group is part of Procordia United Brands, a Swedish corporation. Thinking the American Candy Company developed the Wowee Whistle, I followed that candy company all over the place, until the Canadian company Concord Confections acquired the wax candy division in 2002.

It seemed like I hit the jackpot then. Concordia had intended to continue making the wax candy, but then I learned that Concordia sold the wax candy division to Tootsie Roll Industries in 2004.

I contacted Tootsie Roll Industries. In answer to my first question, about whether or not they were ever going to bring the Wowee Whistle back, they said no. Politely. Well, maybe someone else can. So I asked, “Does your company have the records, recipe, manufacturing information, or whatever it is you would need in order to produce that item?” They answered, “Stacy, thank you for contacting us. Unfortunately our records do not date back this far. We are sorry to disappoint.”

Come on. 2004 is not that long ago. What now? I don’t entirely believe they just threw out everything to do with the Wowee Whistle. I think I need to persevere a little more with Tootsie Roll Industries.

But then I learned from a website which outlines the history of wax lips, that I got the back story a little wrong. Wax lips, which are similar to the Wowee Whistle, were developed by a guy named John W. Glenn in 1923, in Buffalo, NY. The whistles tasted so much better, in my opinion. But maybe Glenn also made the whistles? I just zoomed in on some pictures of the whistles, and the labels on each definitely say Glenn Confections, Inc., Buffalo, NY. John W. Glenn created the Wowee Whistle as well!

Quick history: His company, Glenn Confections, became part of W&F Manufacturing Company. When W&F Manufacturing Company went bankrupt in 1994, Challenger Candy Company of Secor, IL bought the wax candy-making machinery and moved it to Illinois. Then the Challenger Candy Company went bankrupt, and here’s where the American Candy Company comes in. They bought that same wax candy-making machinery and moved it from Illinois to Alabama (no year given). When Concordia bought the wax division next, in 2002, they moved all the machinery to Canada. I’m dying to see these machines! They must have been built in the 1920s. What happened to them next??

Tootsie Roll still makes the wax lips and fangs, by the way. Why not the whistle?? For the love of God. But they weren’t the first to stop making it. I don’t think I’ve seen one since the 1970s. The molds are probably more expensive, but still.

So, I think my next step is to call Concordia. Which doesn’t seem to make candy at all anymore, and instead preserves and sells seeds. They were the last company to have the machines in their possession, that I know of. Maybe they can tell me where they are now. Or how to make wax whistles.

Bottomline, thank you John W. Glenn for the Wowee Whistle. I loved them and so did millions of other kids. I’ve been searching on Ancestry to find his descendants in order to learn what happened to him in his later life. I’ve identified a granddaughter who I think is still alive. Maybe I will be back with an update.

Wowee Whistle

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

81 thoughts on “I Want to Bring Back the Wowee Whistle

  1. I’m 65 years old. My two favorite candies were Chicklets pepsin flavored and the Woo-Wee whistle. Both gone never again to enrich the lives of children. Very sad.

  2. Desperate to have one too!! Loved the flavor!! So sad that they were lost through the years, I think they would sale like crazy!!

  3. I swear I read somewhere that they destroyed the molds.. I’m only(only?) 53.. I Was raised a Jehovah witness and probably only had 2 of the wax harmonicas in my life but I still kind of remember the taste…. Let’s start a company let’s start a go fund me..

  4. , Sad to say, the molds were destroyed and Tootsie Roll has zero interest in pursuing the matter. But you can get heroin anywhere……Terry Maloney says:

    Us sexagenarians know best! WOW-WEE WAX WITCH WHISTLES WERE WONDERFUL!!!!!
    And, Sad to say, the molds were destroyed and Tootsie Roll has zero interest in pursuing the matter. But you can get heroin anywhere……

  5. It’s a shame Tootsie Roll wants nothing to do with it! They would sell like crazy! I did read the original owner destroyed all the makings of these wax gems, but in 2022 you would think someone would remake these! Can you say goldmine!!! And it’s wax, which doesn’t seem to be an expensive product!

  6. I wanted to let everyone know that i have discovered a chewing gum that tastes like the woowe whistle.
    It is Extra Polar Ice. Try it and see if you agree!

  7. Please send me any update on the whistles. I am 72 and want to see them return before I leave this world… R Delby I could not get the notify me on any updates to work

  8. I wouldn’t mind if someone just had the recipe and made wax gum out of it. I liked the flavor.

  9. I just emailed Tootsie Roll to ask if they had the recipe for the Wowee Whistle.

  10. I loved those orange whistles. Kids today miss out. Thanks for researching them. If a comeback is possible, you are the person to get the wax ball rolling!

  11. I loved the Wowee whistles until I left one in a pair of jeans and it went through the drier. Mom was not a fan!

  12. Amen ! Everyone in the neighborhood loved the wow wee whistles. I looked and look can’t find them anywhere. They were always sold out at the candy store cause we use to buy them all back then they were 5 cents. I hope they do bring them back id like my grandchildren to try them !

  13. I guess noisemakers and whistles are not a thing anymore, when trick or treating. I have a few of the old metal ones, bought on line. I hope you, or someone can figure this out. I can hear the sound emanating now from a few blocks over in the night. We had so much spooky fun.

  14. I have looked for YEARS for the orange wax halloween whistles that symbolizes Halloween to me. I am 64, and would give anything to help resurrect the whistle. Please don’t stop trying.

  15. Hi Becky. I’m sorry to say I did give up, but there was a guy who posted a couple of years ago who sounded more determined. I wonder if you got further than I did.

  16. The owner of a variety-and-candy shop in Washington state (Little House on Vashon Island) told me several years ago that the moulds had been lost in a factory fire. I never looked into the veracity of that, but it makes a lot more sense than the idea that they were intentionally destroyed. I mean, unless someone had a REALLY bad childhood memory involving them…

    I’ve definitely considered the idea of creating and casting my own since she told me that.

  17. Hi Emmett. The key is finding the recipe! I would be happy to have them in a vague shape of a harmonica as long as they tasted the same.

  18. Gee, thought I was the only one that missed them. I wanted to get some to give to my great nephews for Halloween. For me it was the coming of fall the crisp leaves falling to the ground, the old men burning them in their metal cans, the scent of the leaves strong in the air, and the that haunting sound of the Wowee whistle, where kids would buy the at the penny candy store…all mixed in for the advent of Halloween. I can still hear them! When you got tire of them you just munched down on them cause the next one was just a few cents away….never more, The Raven!

  19. Oh god, your post made me think of that Robert Shaw quote (he was a conductor). He was giving his choir a pep talk and he said something along the lines of, “Some people will be hearing Bach’s Mass in B Minor for the first time, and some will be hearing it for the last time.”
    Both very important occasions so sing with an appreciation of that. You don’t always know when something is the last time. How would we have responded if someone told us that would be our last Wowee Whistle for all time? Probably, because we were young we would not have appreciated the loss.

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