Astro Pop

atropop

The Space Age was in full swing after World War II. Swift technological progress and widespread economic growth gave birth to a culture in love with rockets, space stations, and dreams of life on the moon. Every kid wanted to be an astronaut, and every week, a new toy or TV show was there to feed that dream.

Spangler Candy of Bryan, Ohio, (founded in 1906) met this demand with the snazzy, rocket-shaped Astro Pop. This lollipop, a thin inverted cone of hard candy on stick, suggested a three-stage rocket: a red cherry-flavored lower section, a dark green lime middle, and a long yellow tip of lemon.

For years, the Astro Pop was eaten from the pointy end down. A popular game among junior space rangers involved sucking the yellow end to a sharp point, essentially creating a tiny candy lance. A friendly jab to the nearest classmate or sibling was standard practice.

During the 1980s, the Spangler company reversed the Astro Pop, so that the stick went through the yellow point, and the red base was up top – a decidedly awkward arrangement. Spangler claimed that this “improvement” made the Astro Pop easier to eat, but suspicious kids everywhere knew that it was just nervous grown ups taking some of the fun out of life.

Astro Pops never sold as well after the change, and they blasted off to oblivion in September of 2004. Spangler, however, does still make their signature candy, the tiny lollipops known as Dum-Dums. Hopefully this isn’t a reflection of society, where the dreamers of space travel steadily diminish and the dums-dums happily fill the void.

Take us back to the glory days of this aeronautical-shaped candy by sharing your memories of Astro Pops with all of us in our comments section, as we pay tribute to this, for many former kids at least, sorely-missed treat.

5 Responses to “Astro Pop”

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  1. Mary says:

    I just looked these up because a perfume oil I just got reminded me of the scent of them. (Yemaya by Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs.) These were destroyers of teeth but so great.

  2. Shannon says:

    I had to get a crown on my tooth when I was like nine and I was staying and my grandma’s for the weekend when she bought me one of these and I bit into the darn thing and the crown got stuck in there, I think my mom wanted to kill me and my grandma, almost thirty years later and my mom still mentions the incident whenever she sees one of these suckers.

  3. One of my favorites as a kid!!

  4. anon says:

    i’m 47 and distinctly recall a news segment in which one of these was jabbed through the wall of an aluminum can. the serious safety issue of a sharpened astropop is downplayed in this article.

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