Easter in Baltimore used to mean a trip downtown to Hutzler’s or years later to Epstein’s to get your dress, gloves, and, of course, your hat. Just wasn’t Easter without a new bonnet.
But it also didn’t seem like Easter until you would hear that familiar song…
“Here’s a treat that is sunny for your Easter Bunny, the creamiest candy that’s made…Mary Sue Easter Eggs. Mary Sue Easter Eggs. Brighten your Easter parade!”
Founded in 1948 by Samuel “Sacha” Spector and Harry Gerwig, Mary Sue Candies began in the basement of a Southwest Baltimore rowhouse at 601 S. Smallwood Street. The company’s famous foil-wrapped chocolate cream-filled eggs were named for Gerwig’s daughters, Mary and Sue, who both became nuns in the Sisters of Mercy.
Shortly after co-founding the company, Gerwig died, but his daughters became famous — at least their names did — for the popular Baltimore treats.
In the 1950s, Spector built a candy factory to produce his tasty confections at 707 S. Caton Avenue. At the height of his career, Spector is said to have sold 8 million Mary Sue Easter Eggs during the Easter season. Once only available in Maryland, Mary Sue Easter Eggs are now shipped all over the continental United States.
Do you know who once sang the well-known Mary Sue Easter Egg jingle on television? None other than Baltimore football great Johnny Unitas. In the late 1950’s, the then-young football player was hired to sing the song that would become infamous.
In his 1995 obituary on Spector, former Baltimore Sun writer Joe Nawrozki quoted Unitas: “It’s funny,” said John Unitas, who as a young Baltimore Colts quarterback sang that jingle on local television in the late 1950s, “people even today see me and yell, ‘Hey Mary Sue!’”
The company, now owned by Bill Buppert, still prides itself on using only the best ingredients. As they say on the Mary Sue Candies Web site, “Imagine a kitchen where candymakers have refined recipes for half a century. A kitchen where frozen, powdered, preserved, and over-processed ingredients are strictly banned. A place where copper pots and sweet smells are the order of the day. Imagine all of this, and you have found the home of Mary Sue Easter Eggs.”
If that’s not enough to get your sweet tooth going, we don’t know what is…
Mary Sue Jingle[mp3_embed blog_plyrs=”2″]
Jingle and photo provided courtesy of Mary Sue Candies,