A Short History of Pop Rocks Candy
Ahhh, the thrilling taste of this explosive sugary candy in your mouth! One pour of Pop Rocks Candy and your hooked. It's almost magical. There's just nothing quite like it. It's fizzing and popping, cracking and rocking. This feeling alone makes it one of the most memorable retro candies ever made!
Pop Rocks Candy certainly packs a punch. Upon pouring a pack of them into your mouth, you will experience a mini type of explosion with such sound effects that you swear can be felt in your skull. Yes, this is the type of retro candy that you taste, feel and hear. Seriously, Pop rocks are thrilling!
Originally Pop Rocks came in Orange, Cherry and Grape. But their flavors have since greatly expanded. The lucky kids of this generation get a huge selection to choose from including Watermelon, Bubble Gum, Blue Razz, Cotton Candy, Watermelon, Tropical Punch and even chocolate! Yes, chocolate flavored Pop Rocks which I can attest are absolutely delicious! Pop Rocks have also come out with their Pop Rock Dips. These flavors include Sour Green Apple, Sour Blue Raspberry, and Sour Strawberry. As you can see Pop Rocks has a huge selection. There is a flavor for everyone!
And to think, if it weren't for one man trying to create another type of candy, Pop Rocks Candy would not even exist.
Pop Rocks Candy all came about by accident while food chemist, William Mitchell, was trying to invent another sort of candy. It was 1956 and Mr. Mitchell worked at General Mills. He was a long time employee of 35 years and had been trying to figure out a way that he could create an instant soda candy. He wanted the fizzy, carbonated effect of a soft drink all combined into one tablet. In the process William Mitchell stumbled upon something even more spectacular. At the time it was not what he expected, but more than any candy lover could hope for. He had made an epic candy and didn't know it yet. That took about 20 years!
William Mitchell had no idea that in 1956 he had discovered "Pop Rocks". Since his experiment hadn't turned out exactly the way he planned, he had just forgotten about it and put the idea to rest. It wasn't until 20 years had past that another chemist working in the lab came across Mr. Mitchell's candy experiment. Just a few more tweaks and Pop Rocks were born!
It was 1975, and that was the year that Pop Rocks hit the shelves. It nearly blew our socks off! The world of candy had never before known a candy like this one. Pop Rocks were all the rage! The cool new candy on the block and they sold for a mere fifteen cents a pack!
William Mitchell, our candy creator, has been referred to by Mark Steyn from The Atlantic as, "The Taste Maker With A Sweet Tooth". The perfect description of William Mitchell's genius. You see, Mr. Mitchell was not only the man behind Pop Rocks. He had over 70 other patents to his name. Some popular creations that you may have heard of, and I'm sure have indulged in, are Jello, Cool Whip, Powdered Egg Whites and Tang, just to name a few. But we all know that Pop Rocks Candy were his sweetest invention!
Mitchell greatly contributed to society and his industry in a big way. Just think of how many tables and family gatherings that his Cool Whip had attended, and so sweetly topped our pumpkin pies. Or how many cups of tang filled our clinking glasses around the table. Imagine how many pops that we rocked, mouth's that he shocked, while happily devouring his best ever, Pop Rocks! Thank you William Mitchell!
Because of the intense feelings that Pop Rocks Candy can induce, it did have some controversy surrounding it. Only four years after Pop Rocks came out a crazy rumor started about the "exploded kid". The exploded kid that people were talking about was Mikey from the Life cereal commercials. You know he was the kid that liked it.
The rumors at recess were that" Mikey ate a whole package of Pop Rocks and then drank a can of Coke. After mixing the two,his stomach exploded, and then he died! This was just that, a very silly rumor. Mikey did not die and his stomach did not explode! He is alive and well to this day where he lives a happy life with his wife and 2 children in Burbank California. He has never publicly commented on the whole Pop Rocks rumor, but he's stated in past interviews that he still loves Life Cereal.
The rumor about Mikey, although fictional had people very worried. So worried that the FDA actually started a hotline to assure some very anxious parents that the infamous Pop Rocks would not make their children's stomach explode. The hotline was still not enough. General Foods actually wrote 50,000 letters to school principal's, and then schools wrote letters to parents. It still was no help, General Foods then took out full page advertisements in some major publications explaining that Pop Rocks would not cause anyone's stomach to explode. General Foods did not stop there, they actually sent William Mitchell on the road to educate the public about his Pop Rocks invention. He explained that a package of Pop Rocks Candy actually has less carbon dioxide then a half a can of soda. Carbon dioxide is used in all fizzy soft drinks, and of course fizzy candy like Pop Rocks.
Unfortunately, even with all the letters, ads and a complete scientific breakdown of Pop Rocks, they were sadly taken off the shelves in 1983. We all suffered. We missed them so terribly. What other retro candy gives you such a thrill, such an exciting and bold feeling? There was no replacement for our beloved Pop Rocks. Nothing would ever compare. Were Pop Rocks really a thing of the past? Candy fanatics wondered, and waited.
However, the wait would soon be over. Within a few short years Pop Rocks were back in business! They brightly lined the shelves again, inviting you to experience their sweet rush. Rumors do die hard, but the point is, they eventually do. Pop Rocks were alive and well again, and so is Mikey!
I don't think that a retro candy has ever caused so much of a fiasco. Maybe the whole Mikey rumor peaked our interest even more for this "dangerously explosive candy". After all, some of us candy lovers like to live on the sweet edge! Do you?