Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Bubble Yum chewing gum contains spider eggs.
Example: [Fine, 1992]
Origins: Bubble Yum was the first soft bubble gum to hit the market, making its debut in 1976. It was an instant success with its target consumer group, kids and teens, and sales of the candy quickly soared to such a level that its manufacturer cut back on advertising in order to allow production to keep pace with demand.
By the spring of the following year, the whirlwind early sales had slipped noticeably in the
Rather than pretend there wasn't a problem or that it would just go away, the parent company took on the rumors:
[Lardner, 1982]The parent company spent over $100,000 battling this rumor. Full-page ads were run in fifty different
But in one bizarre case, the manufacturer felt it had no choice but to put the issue before its customers as conspicuously as possible. The manufacturer was the Life
Where did the rumor come from? Prior to Bubble Yum, bubble gum was hard and took a fair bit of vigorous mastication to render it into a suitably soft bubble-blowing state. Bubble Yum was a breakthrough, a gum that was ready for bubble blowing after being chomped only a few times. As to how soft it was, even a little tyke could squish a block of Bubble Yum between his fingers. Gone were the days of arduous chewing!
Any confection that revolutionary is going to spawn speculation among the younger set. (See our "Death of Little Mikey" page for the rumor about Pop Rocks.) "Why is it so chewy?" was the question on everyone's lips. Why did it (unlike traditional bubble gum) feel a bit slippery in the mouth? It didn't take long for kids to invent a plausible answer. There had to be something slippery in there. What could be more slippery than, say, spider eggs?
Barbara "candy kiss of the spider woman" Mikkelson
Sightings: Very brief mention is made of this belief during a student bull session in the 1998 slasher classic Urban Legend.
Last updated: 24 January 2007
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