DFHC 10/31/2011

Ask Cool Daddy, Big Dummy…

Dear Big Dummy: So what’s the Dum Dum Pops “Mystery Flavor” anyway?  …from Lolly, in Parkerhouse Roll City, PA

Dear Lolly, you sucker: Unlike so many knucklehead companies today, Spangler keeps pretty good records of their flavor history…see it all here.  Dum Dum pops were conceived in 1924 by the Akron Candy Co., Bellevue Ohio. Sales manager I.C. Bahr gave them that name with the idea it would be easy for kids to say and remember…Dada, wawa, Dum Dum…get it? Spangler bought the brand in 1953, inheriting 7 flavors: Lemon, Lime, Orange, Coconut-Pineapple, Cherry, Grape, and Butterscotch. They promptly added Root Beer…then Strawberry in 1954 and Chocolate in 1955.

The lineup remained at 10, 11 or 12 flavors for the next 50 years, with only around a dozen revisions and substitutions in all that time.  Today they say they have 16+1 flavors, that “1” being the Mystery Flavor. By happy coincidence, there are also 16 “retired” flavors, as outlined below. Buttered Popcorn was one of the strangest, but it did sort of taste like what it was, if a bit burnt.

On their website there’s a continuing vote for “future” flavors…below are some of the suggestions over the years…others included Cranberry, French Toast, Strawberry Cheesecake, Caramel Popcorn, and Chocolate Cookie Dough…what? no Pomegranate? Give it time, bro…

Currently, Bacon (!!) is leading the voting, with a write-in Pizza a distant 2nd…sweet. But as to your specific question…In October of last year, I posed and answered the question in an article in Fourth Coast Entertainment…yup, I’ve really been passing out Dum Dums for over 30 years…and still the kids come back…

Someone purporting to work for Spangler left this message at Uncle Wiki’s Dum Dum discussion page, and he confirms Theory #1…

Left below, a wrapper from the early 1980s…”Mixed Flavors” certainly substantiates that story…compared to a current Mystery Flavor wrapper…yes, they used to be bigger!  But the change in name suggests there may be something to Theory 2…”mixed” wouldn’t be appropriate for unwrapped pops, but “mystery” would…comes to that, if they flat ran out of one flavor wrapper, “mystery” could be used, nez pah? Anecdotally, some Boomers report being told as kids that the Mystery Flavor pops were formed from broken pieces and solidified drippings swept off the factory floor…ha ha.

But then, what the heck are “Dummys”? Perhaps the predecessor of Mystery Flavor? If I knew, I’d tell you…I don’t. Happy Hallowe’en, you little monster!


32 flavors in the “Official” lineup…16 current, 16 retired. But then, nothing is ever that simple. In the Pop Vote ’08 promotion, the above 2 flavors won and were added…the 6 below didn’t…but then, they were available flavors, so perhaps belong on the list…Orange Cream (attempting a comeback), Cool Lime, Luscious Lemon, Raspberry Cream, Chocolate Caramel, and Cinnamon Roll.

To say nothing of the filled Chewy Dum Dums test-marketed over the past few years…only the Shrek versions are still available on from the website…in Double Melon, Sour Apple Caramel, Lime Lemon, Mint Fudge, and “Ogre”…described as “Parfait on the outside, Sweet Ear Wax on the inside”…lovely. Then there are the 3 Mystery Mania flavors currently part of a sweepstakes ending 12/31. And various other missteps over the years, like the Ice Cream Shoppe Dum Dums in 1999…Strawberry Milk Shake, Peaches & Cream, Root Beer Float, Banana Split, Chocolate Mint, and Orange Sherbet…I never saw them…again, perhaps only test-marketed?

shameless plugs for dummys…

Podcasts at http://stolfpod.podbean.com  and   http://thewholething.podbean.com

Deep Fried Hoodsie Cups Daily Blog:    https://deepfriedhoodsiecups.wordpress.com/

Other Daily Blog at http://stolf.wordpress.com  (the legendary Stolf’s Blog)

More bloggage at  http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com  and  http://www.examiner.com/retro-pop-culture-in-watertown/mark-john-astolfi

Resume at http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com/p/resume.html

Audio samples at  http://stolfspots.podbean.com

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One Response to DFHC 10/31/2011

  1. Brandon Campbell says:

    YES! I remember the “dummys” flavor from the early 80’s, finally someone else has seen it so I know my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me. My guess is it was a mystery flavor.

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