Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bubble Gum Cards

When I was growing up, bubble gum was all the rage. My favorite pink gum was Fleer's Dubble Bubble! Yup! That spelling is correct!

Double Bubble came individually wrapped and always included a short comic strip on thin 1 x 2 inch tissue paper. I remember well chunking the gum into my mouth and starting to work it down to bubble blowing consistency while reading about the latest adventures of Dub and Bub, the Dubble Bubble Twins and Pud. The original Pud slimmed down considerably from the time I first met him in the mid 50s until I finally gave up bubble gum in the 60s. Usually at the top of the strip was a short "fortune" and, at the bottom, a fun "fact." I saved all those strips in a cigar box almost until the time that I left home to go to college.

Dub, Bub and Pud were not the only denizens of those little strips of sugar coated paper. There was Bazooka Joe on Bazooka Gum and Tommy Swell in packages of Swell Gum. No, I am not kidding, one often received two Tommy Swell comics per package. Then there was Archie and his gang in packages of Blony Gum. I remember liking the Archie comics but preferring the taste, consistency and bubble blowing properties of Dubble Bubble the best.

Baseball cards, long having been included in many tobacco products found their way into bubble gum products and by the turn of the century, most baseball cards were produced by confectionery companies and tobacco companies. During the 50s, my friends and I spent many a happy hour reading about our baseball heroes, trading cards among us and trying to chew the bubble gum that came packaged with them. That was strange gum indeed. It was shaped exactly like the baseball cards with which they were packaged. That was quite a challenge to stick one of those things into our small mouths and chew them down into a wad that was capable of producing bubbles.

I must admit that as a bubble blower, I was pretty much of a flop. I didn't have the patience to chew long enough to blow the really humongous bubbles my brother could. Besides, you had to chew most of the sugar and flavor out of bubble gum before it was ready to make bubbles. In my mind the only thing to do with it was to stick it on the bedpost overnight. Yeah, I learned that trick from Lonnie Donegan in 1961 when his song hit number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Oh MY.

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