cold case: another dum mystery solved!



in 1924, the akron candy company developed a small  hard candy on a stick. and when it came to naming it, the sales manager came up with “dum dums” because he thought that kids would be able to say it. simple, colorful, and cheap, dum dums soon became an institution.

and on to the mystery –

have you ever wondered why some dum dums have wrappers with question marks where the flavor is normally printed?  this was a marketing idea that made production run more smoothly and eating them more fun. the mystery flavor pop is a mixture of two flavors that come together when the end of one batch of candy meets the beginning of the next batch. rather than shutting down to clean it out between flavors, they made pops out of the combination of flavors – the tail end of the old, and the beginning of the new. the candy lines keep running, and the mystery flavor pops are a surprise treat every time.

p.s. for me, this was kind of like finding out about the tooth fairy. if you still believe, tell yourself that you never read this.

credit: mentalfloss magazine

51 responses »

  1. A veritable education for an Englishman – ‘candy’; ‘dum dum’ and ‘pop’ – fascinating we don’t use those words yet they seem to convey the ‘sweet’ you write of perfectly! An enjoyable read no less.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Never heard of them but I love the idea! The Spanish lollies Chupa Chups have a similar alliteration but there the name comes from the verb chupar, to suck.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That is cool – we don’t have Dum Dumds here in Canada. the question marks are an awesome operational idea. Cleaning and resetting production lines is always a major cost.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think you know have to be eliminated by the dum dum executives, Beth. Look over your shoulder, please!

    No, that’s a great idea on their part to save time and money. I don’t think you spoiled a thing, because the question mark still has a mystery flavor undereath, my friend. ))

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had never noticed ?-flavored Dum Dums but I’m enchanted by them, and also by the kind of simple ingenuity that turns the problem of cleaning the machinery from one flavor to another into something that kids would see as almost folkloric.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. How cool! I had no idea that was why the question marks! I always figured they just randomly did that as a mystery flavor! LOL! One of my favorite craft projects when I was a small kids was we had Dum Dums and tied a white kleenex on with a white piece of yarn, then took a black marker and added two eyes and a nose and made a ghost puppet — that i got to eat after I played with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Commenting for Candy*! | Not a Punk Rocker

  8. Oh gosh Beth, my kids keep choosing the mystery flavored one at the pediatrician’s office.. I’m always asked why there are questions marks around the wrapper and how they came up with a mystery dum dum. I now have the story for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The mystery of ?? pops solved! I like this explanation, Beth and it doesn’t ruin the fun of the crossing of flavors! I love it when banks have Dum Dum’s and I grab a couple each time, perfect for a short ride from the grandies’ home to Nana’s apartment! Smiles!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s