Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

It’s Time For Candy And Soda!

The PopCulteer
June 28, 2019

A couple of weeks ago your PopCulteer was busy making the drive from Wheeling to Moundsville to Columbus for some serious toy business. Mrs. PopCulteer and myself had decided at one point to stop at the Ohio Valley Mall in Saint Clairsville Ohio where we discovered a new store that had just opened earlier this year. C.J. Bucket’s Candy Shop sells candy, ice cream and soda, and they have a pretty amazing selection all crammed into a pretty compact space right off of the food court. We stocked up on exotic regional candy and a six-pack of mixed sodas (buy five, get the sixth for free), and decided that we’d have to make a return visit.

We were so struck by the coolness of this store that we made a return visit the following week, since we were sort of up that way again for a family visit. This time I brought my camera. As luck would have it we happened by as the regional manager was doing inventory, and she explained that this was one of nine stores (some with different names) and that the flagship location, which brews its own sodas, is called “Grandpa Joe’s,” and is located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. She even had photos on her phone, and told us that they offered a much, much bigger selection.

That store may well be the topic of another PopCult photo essay someday.

Today we’re going to show you some photos of this treasure that you can find right off of Interstate 70, not far from the Ohio/West Virginia border. This was a real treat because I’ve been ordering weird regional candy bars for years. This was my first time seeing many of them in the wild.

They even had the Idaho Spud, which I wrote about four years ago here in PopCult, and they had several candy bars that I’d tried via mail-order over fifteen years ago. CJ Bucket’s also carries international candy bars, including the elusive Curly Wurly Bar from Britain (it’s pretty much what we used to call a Marathon Bar in the US), and they had Hershey’s Ice Cream and private chocolates as well.

It’s a really fun place to visit, unless you have blood sugar issues (actually it’s still fun then, but it can be dangerous). If you fid yourself up that way it’s well worth a visit. Plus it makes for a fun photo essay.

Check out their Facebook page, and feast your eyes on the following images.

When we walked into the mall looking for a quick lunch, we had no idea of the wonders that lay within.


They had us right when we set foot in the store. The first thing we saw was candy from around the world.

CJ Bucket’s packs a lot of fun into a small space. In addition to candy, soda, ice cream and chocolate, they also sell cool socks and mugs and other gifts.

These were the fancy chocolates. We were too intimidated to try any on our first two trips. Maybe next time…

As if they didn’t already have enough goodies, they also have a selection of ice cream.

Any business that offers rubber chicken and slinky decor is a PopCult kind of place.


Regional candy from all over the US. When was the last time you saw an Abba Zabba, Big Hunk, Idaho Spud or Rocky Road East of the Mississippi? Plus they had the new Clark Cups, the harbinger of Boyer’s upcoming revival of The Clark Bar!

Another rack loaded with candy, including PEZ and Wax Lips.

Meanwhile, over in the gummy department…

More candy from German, Australia, Japan and New Jersey.

The Sodas

I should take a moment to explain that one of my indulgences is exotic soda. I will allow myself one a day, but it’s cool to have an assortment on hand so that I don’t get into a rut. Cracker Barrel has made it easier to find some of the cooler drinks, but the selection at CJ Bucket’s seriously dwarfs their offerings. They have the usual supects, Mexican Coke, Mexian Sprite, Boylan’s, Ale 8 1, Soiux City Sarsparilla and others, but they also have harder to find items like Mexican Pepsi and Mexican Dr. Pepper, Ski, Dr. Fiz, and their own brand of Grandpa Joe’s sodas.

They also offer a few questionable choices, which you will see below.

What do you call this many unusual sodas in one place? A good start. This is maybe a third of their wall of sodas.

And here’s another section of it. The eagle-eyed among you can spot quite a bit of cool things here.

Just in case you want more, they have Japanese sodas on the top shelf here, and even more stuff from which to choose below.

About those “questionable” sodas…I hate bacon and Buffalo sauce, so those were not even considered. Oddly enough, I also never put jelly on a peanut butter sandwich. I just don’t think the two flavors mix well. I did try the Sweet Corn soda, and it wasn’t bad. It tasted sort of like Corn Pops cereal, only in soda form.

Among the Grandpa Joe’s sodas were Ketchup and Dill Pickle sodas, which I would put strictly in the “gag gift” catagory, with multiple meanings. However, the color-free Sarsparilla was incredible, and may even be my new favorite Sarsparilla.

And that was our quick photo essay of CJ Bucket’s. It really is a fun place to stop, and if you also visit the comic book store in the same mall, and then drive less than ten miles to The Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum, you have a pretty darned cool day trip for the young at heart.

Notes On The AIR

Check out what’s on The AIR, as Friday  sees new episodes of Radio Free Charleston International and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. You can listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

Next week we will be mixing up the schedule on The AIR but today we still have some great new shows for you.

At 1 PM we will debut the week’s new edition of Radio Free Charleston International. This week it’s another free-format two-hour presentation of what your PopCulteer has been listening to for the last few weeks. You think I’m kidding? Check out this playlist…

RFCI 067

Dr. John “Such A Night”
Adrian Belew “Wait To Worry”
Harry Nilsson “1941”
Tom Robinson Band “2-4-6-8 Motorway”
The Planet Smashers “Can’t Stop”
The Skints “The Island”
The Aquabats “Doing Science”
The Specials “Embarrassed By You”
Russkaja “No One Is Illegal”
The Beat “Civilisation”
Madness “Prospects”
The Selector “Too Much Pressure”
The English Beat “Here We Go Love”
John Lennon “Instant Karma”
Wings “Give Ireland Back To The Irish”
Ringo Starr “In My Car”
George Harrison “Fish On The Sand”
The Residents “Voodoo Doll”
Andy Samberg “You Can’t Catch Me”
Uriah Heep “Easy Livin'”
Monochrome Set “Boom Boom”
Claypool Lennon Delirium “Boriska”
Marynox Bend “Avadnor”
Betty “Old Me”
Ventura Lane “Spacecrawl”
Matt Berry “Hey Little Girl”
The Police “Invisible Sun”
Shriekback “And Everything Like That”
The Clash “Version Pardner”

Radio Free Charleston International is the show where I play whatever I want, and you can hear RFC International Friday at 1 PM, with replays Friday at  10 PM, Saturday afternoon, Sundat at 1 AM and 2 PM and Tuesday at 11 PM, exclusively on The AIR. Next week we’re going to shack up things a bit, and you can expect an additional replay Monday evenings at 9 PM, and a new episode Thursday afternoon at 3 PM.

At 3 PM Sydney’s Big Electric Cat presents two hours of non-LP tracks, movie soundtrack songs and B-Sides from the top artists of the New Wave Era. Legendary London DJ Sydney Fileen has dug deep into her personal record collection to curate 120 minutes of New Wave rarities. At the time, many of these songs were damned-near impossible to find, with some only being released in a few countries or on promotional discs. Check out the list of coolness that awaits…

BEC 046

The Buggles “Blue Nylon”
DEVO “Theme From Doctor Detroit”
Lene Lovich “I Think We’re Alone Now (Japanese)”
XTC “Scissor Man”
Transvision Vamp “God Save The Royalties”
Ia Dury and the Blockheads “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”
Thompson Twins “Dancersaurus”
Elvis Costello “Crawling To The USA”
The Dickies “Eep Op Ork Ah-Ah”
The Cars “That’s It”
Split Enz “In The Wars”
A Flock of Seagulls “Pick Me Up”
Stray Cats “You Can’t Hurry Love”
Big Country “All Of Us”
Cyndi Lauper “The Goonies (Good Enough)”
The Clash “This Is Radio Clash”
U2 “Boomerang 2”
The Beat “Which Side of Bed (Extended Mix)”
The Stranglers “Don’t Bring Harry (French)”
The Teardrop Explodes “Strange House In The Snow”
Missing Persons “Hello, I Love You”
Echo and the Bunnymen “Over Your Shoulder”
Eddie Grant “Time Warp”
B 52s “Moon 83”
The Creatures “Weathercade”
Squeeze “The Hunt”
Oingo Boingo “Goodbye, Goodbye”

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Saturday afternoon, Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM and Thursday at Noon, exclusively on The AIR. Every Monday at 3 PM, we bring you four classic episodes of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, just so you can be all New Wave-y when you get home from work.

That is it for this week’s PopCulteer. Please check PopCult for all our regular features this weekend.


1 Comment

  1. Thomas Wheeler

    Holy cow. I think if I walked into that store, I’d need a truck for all the stuff I’d likely haul out of it.

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