RIP: Curtis Allina, The Man Behind the Pez Dispenser


Pez man Curtis Allina may not have lived to see what is to come of the new decade (he died in mid-December), but his candy remains a constant fixture. The candy exec was responsible for changing the 1927 Austrian peppermints (or “pfeffermintz,” where the name Pez comes from) originally created to curb cigarette smoking, into a saccharine candy in a kid-friendly package. And although the kitschy dispensers may have changed from classic Viennese busts of Mozart to the big-lipped and overly rouged Bratz dolls, we appreciate the reflection of culture with each and every backwards snap of a head.

Which dispensers do you have at the bottom of the box under your bed? Or are yours displayed dust-free in a glass-enclosed case? Either way, check out our homage round-up of the weirdest Pez dispensers, and add yours to our list.

1. Mozart and Sissi

A history lesson and sugar rush in one. Vienna gets a shout out with the dispensers of Mozart and Elisabeth “Sissi” of Bavaria, the Empress of Austria.

2. Elvis

This set features an Elvis for your every mood. Feeling youthful? Pop a Private Presley candy, from the hound dog’s heydays in the US Army. If you’re craving simplicity, reach for Elvis without the glitz and glamour. It’s just you, him and those sad blue eyes. If you’re ready for a night on the town, though, the Elvis Rock Star dispenser should be on hand. His sunglasses and popped collar will inspire you to dance the night away. A CD sampler comes with the dispensers, too, so shaking those hips won’t be a problem.

3. Bride and Groom

When it comes to wedding cake toppers, who knew it could come down to flowers or Pez? Though choose wisely, as this bride and groom pair do not appear Vegas-bound any time soon.

4. Make-A-Face

The Pez version of Mr. Potato Head, this guy was discontinued in 1972 after being deemed a choking hazard with too many removable parts. But despite its risk factor, it’s the most prized of any dispenser, ringing up at around $3,500.

5. Obama and McCain

Which is greater — the number of Pez that fits in a dispenser, or the amount of houses John McCain has? We wish we knew about these during the election — they would have been great to throw at the television screen.

6. Aral Gas Station

Is it just us, or is it a little strange to have a European gasoline station attendant as a candy holder? The last thing we want to think about is the smell of gasoline while eating candy. Although we must admit, their uniforms are kind of cute.

7. American Chopper

Paul Sr., Paul Jr. and Mikey are the biker boys from TLC’s reality show, American Chopper. Although we’d prefer to pop Pez from the heads of other reality stars. Snooki, anyone?

8. Pirates

Any excuse to bring Johnny Depp’s face closer to ours. Whether or not he looks like Keith Richards and is made of plastic, he’s still swoon-worthy.

9. Chuck Norris

Enough said.

10. Chick-fil-A

Now you can pop a lemon-flavored candy from the head of a Chick-fil-A cow preaching for poultry consumption. Yes, this confuses us, too.