Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Guest Blogger, Carbonated Crystals, and the Value of Myth-Busting

Today, Eat Your Veggies! features a Returning Guest Blogger! You may recall that Uncle Lynn told you the first chapter in his Amazing Pop'rs Story last month. Well, he's back to fill you in on more of his extraordinary journey.

Before we get started, though, Lynn wanted me to remind each and every one of you that his Great New Pop'rs Giveaway ends Friday at 11:59 p.m. EST. Click here to enter! Also, the photo above shows Uncle Lynn on our recent OBX Vacation. Seems the poor guy was trying to get back to the beach house, and was cornered by a young hawk. Neither Uncle Lynn nor the hawk knew quite what to make of the situation!

So, sit back, relax, and I'll turn it over to Our Guest Blogger, The Pop'r King. Hope you enjoy Chapter 2!

When I left off telling the Pop'rs Story, I had just found out that the owners of Pop Rocks were in Spain. In this chapter I thought I would fill you in on a little "popping" background; by the way, these are things that I have heard over the years from various people, not due to any historical research I have done–so if I get something wrong, I'm sorry; I am just repeating what I have heard!

Pop Rocks were actually invented in the '50s by a man named Dr. William Mitchell. He died four years ago, much to my regret, because his invention has become a great part of my life. I met his daughter, Cheryl, at a trade show some years ago, and she invited me back to California to meet her father. I will forever regret that I did not find the time to take her up on that offer–always remember, when you have extraordinary opportunities, never get too busy and decide to “do it later”!

Anyway, Dr. Mitchell worked for General Foods (GF–now know as Kraft General Foods) and invented Pop Rocks while he was trying to make an instant carbonated Kool-Aid, but the invention was considered a failure since it only made a "noisy" drink. What I have been told is that the product was a GF curiosity, and Dr. Mitchell would make a batch once a year or so for many, many years and offer the little magic crystals at company summer picnics, much to the delight of all, especially the kids.

Somewhere in this, GF bought a chip company located in Canada. The former owner of that company was touring GF plants, and happened to be at one of Dr. Mitchell’s "popping picnics." Delighted by the crystals, he arranged to get enough packets to use as a premium for his chips in a promotion he ran. Apparently, kids were seen going into stores to buy the chips, and throwing the chips away just to get the little packet of Popping Magic! That was apparently enough for GF to decide to introduce the product, and in the mid-'70s, Pop Rocks were born.

I think we all know about the rumors about the “dangers” of Pop Rocks, all of which are fun to tell and all of which Are Not True. I know–in fact, I inadvertently helped prove this: Several years ago, the popular but crazy Mancow Radio show asked us for samples of our Carbonated Crystals. Thinking this might be a fun opportunity for our little company, we sent him several pounds of a number of flavors. Should have thought that one through better: On the morning of the show, we all got by the radio in our offices in Neenah, WI, and got ready to hear our national introduction. Well…..

Mancow did a nice job of introducing our company, and all seemed to be going well. Then, we listened as he asked one of his assistants to lie down on a desk; then we, in growing fear, listened as spoonfuls of our crystals are poured into this assistant’s mouth–flat on his back. Then came the horrible sound of a Coke can being opened. Flat on your back, with a mouth and throat full of the explosive little crystals, and now a Coke about to be poured on top of that–I thought I was going to listen to the death of my little company on national radio as Mancow killed his assistant!

Well, I am more than pleased to report that there was certainly some sputtering and a lot of laughing, but no death! So, if anyone ever tells you that popping crystals can hurt you, I can tell you Mancow did his darned best, and NOTHING bad happened. There was also a great "MythBusters" show on the Discovery Channel, which showed for all time that there is nothing but fun to be had with Carbonated Crystals.

Anyway, when I pick this up next, I will tell you about my travel to Spain and how I introduced Popping Popsicles and more to the world!


Dawn said...

Great story! Thanks!

Cant Hardly Wait said...

Thanks so much for your kind comment about the Hurricane! I love your blog, btw. I'll be back!

Frizzy and Bird said...

Thanks for stopping by CA this morning. I enjoyed this guest blogger and the story. I'll be back to read further.

Lynda said...

Wow - there's so much more to Pop Rocks than you'd have thought - I can't wait to hear the rest of the story now.

Deanna said...

And if you are making coffee in the dark and you accidentally pick up a container of Popr's instead of your creamer... you will INSTANTLY wake up when your coffee starts popping!! Not that that happened to me yesterday morning or anything!! Ha! Ha!

(Mmmmm... taco flavored coffee. Not so much! But I will say it is probably the ONLY thing I haven't enjoyed Popr's on so far!)

Rhea said...

Love the picture of the face-off with the young hawk. lol

And, I'm glad to hear that myth busted about the pop rocks and soda and such. :o)

KKJD1 said...

Love the pic of Uncle Lynn and the hawk to cool! Have a great week Blessings, Karen

Corey~living and loving said...

I am loving this guest blogger. :) such fun to read. :) keep it coming.

Melissa B. said...

Interesting stuff! Thanks so much for filling us in. Mr. Pops tells quite a story!

Lady Dorothy said...

Fun stuff to know!