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Why are there guys with capes and swords in my candy bar?

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3 Musketeers

Have you ever thought about why a certain fluffy candy bar is called a 3 Musketeers? Imagine that you’ve never heard of this product. Or that, like my friend’s niece, you’re four years old.

“What is that?” she asked me, looking at the famous candy bar.

“I don’t know,” I pretended. “What do you think it is?”

She took it down from the table, turned it around in her little hands, and stared at it from every angle “Well, what does this say?” she asked.

“Three Musketeers,” I answered.

“What’s a MUS-KUH-TEER?” she said, in three segments.

“Well, a musketeer is a flashy guy who wears a cape and fights with swords.”

She processed this for a while. “Why are there guys with capes and swords in here?!” she suddenly blurted out, happily.

“That is a great question,” I said, “I’ll find out for you.” She made a skeptical face, so I returned her attention to the guessing game. “So, what do you think this silver thing IS, though?” I asked.

“Candy?!” she said, almost screaming. (Good thing she’s cute.)

“How did you know that?” I asked.

“Cuz everything on this table is candy!” She had me there.

Three Musketeers Book CoverOf course, her question made me wonder. If she hadn’t known from context that this thing was a candy bar, why would three fighting guys in capes suggest “candy” to you? Why should it? So, why the odd name for this all-too-familiar candy bar?

Well, it turns out that 3 Musketeers used to be made up of three flavors, easily separated into three segments: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Debuting in 1932, the bar was advertised as being so big that you could share it with two friends. This hypothetical sharing would make the three of you great buddies, right? Kinda like, I don’t know, those three fighting buddies from that French book.

What were those guys called? You know, they fought in big puffy shirts and seduced all the nuns, or something. Oh yeah! The three musketeers! They were great friends, right? Hey, that’s good. Yeah, we’ll call it the “3 Musketeers” bar because it’s got three parts, and it’ll turn the three people who share it into great friends. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

No, I wasn’t there at the Mars Company marketing meeting, but can’t you hear them? You didn’t need polling in those days to decide that a French novel was ideal inspiration for naming a candy bar.

Of course, if you know Dumas’ classic work, you’ll recall that the three musketeers are joined by D’Artagnan, a fourth dashing fighter in the Royal Guard’s group of friends. But you’d need a bigger candy bar for that.

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3 Responses to “Why are there guys with capes and swords in my candy bar?”

  1. 1
    Alicia says:

    I keep imagining the Musketeers turning on each other when they can’t decide who gets what flavor. Maybe that’s why they went to all chocolate?

  2. 2
    Robert B. says:

    I agree with Alicia. I always thought there was a third ingredient that didn’t make it, but they had already printed the wrappers… Ha ha ha.

    Well, I have seen mint and strawberry ones… and a few months ago they had three different flavored “mini” one in the same bag.

  3. 3
    Katharine Weber says:

    The original Three Musketeers came three pieces to a package with three different fillings.

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