Menu Close

Candy Culture

Author John Cech
Air Date 8/2/2000
Colorful candy gum on old wooden table.

Candy Culture Transcript

If you haven’t visited a full-service candy counter lately, you probably aren’t aware that old-fashioned things like lollipops or chocolate bars are simply passé. Today, you need a gimmick to entice the sweet teeth of children in our entertainment-obsessed culture– a big-time tie-in, perhaps, like the Pokemon Candy Toppers, that have a small figure from the wildly successful games, toys, and movies sitting on top of a clear plastic cylinder of candy nuggets. Or like the twist pops, bright globes of glucose syrup and anhydrous citric acid, that spin from the heads of Tarzan, The Rug Rats, and Looney Tunes characters, from Star Wars’ Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Hunn, and from the noggins of Toy Story’s Woody and Buzz Lightyears. Even these, thought, are pretty predictable by today’s standards.

The Jelly Bean Kaleidoscope ups the ante a little– this device drops pellets of candy into your hands when you spin the viewer. And there’s a plastic cell phone that dispenses a Cheerio ever time a very young child presses the “0” button. With the No Brainer Pop, you flick a lever that replaces the tie on the chest of a bespectacled computer nerd and viola, his head flips opens and there, in place of a brain, is a strawberry-flavored lollipop. One of my favorites is a Light Lick– it has a lollipop on one ends, and a light bulb on the other that really works, every time you take a lick. The gross-out award (there was bound to be this category), goes to the Ocky icky Stick candy dispenser that secretes a thick, ciscous, colored corn syrup into a plastic ear, nose, eye, or foot. You, then, presumably get to lick off the lemon-flavored Leaking Ear Wax and the cherry Seeping Toe Jam. Collect all four, their ad exclaims. I think I’ll pass, but not without wondering who makes up this stuff?

The most intriguing of all are the Sound Bites lollipops that are attached to miniature recorders and radios. These come with batteries, and you’re meant to bite down on the lollipop stick and let the music or sound effects play on your teeth and up through you jaw bone into your ears. You can make your own recordings or buy them with stock messages, like “get real,” built in, but the novelty of these will wear thin before the first lollipop melts away. My advice is to try the radio with a chupa chups, strawberry flavored lollipop and, if you’re lucky, you’ll have the Dvorak piano quintet in A Major playing, however fuzzy, in your head.

Brief sound clip 

Posted in Food