Remembering: Bazooka Bubble Gum

The History of Bazooka Bubble Gum

“All I Want Is Bubble Gum! Bazooka, Zooka Bubble Gum!”

Who doesn’t enjoy bubble gum? Simple and sweet with an almost mystical quality that allows it to be inflated to well past its regular size, this beloved confection is known the world over and has cemented itself as part of popular culture with such well-known brands as Double Bubble and Hubba Bubba!   

While remaining relatively unchanged since its debut back in 1928, bubble gum continues to be enjoyed by billions of people around the globe. Do you have a favorite?

Interestingly enough, 2022 marks the 75th anniversary of one of the most popular bubble gum brands in the world. 

Known for its one-of-a-kind wrapper, in addition to introducing one of the most popular advertising characters of all time, Bazooka Bubble Gum has been delighting consumers since the end of the second world war – and doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.

Let’s take a look back at

The History of Bazooka Bubble Gum

Humble Beginnings

First introduced by The Topps Company in 1947, Bazooka Bubble Gum is perhaps one of the best-known candy brands the world over.

Believed to have been named after the rocket-propelled weapon of the same name, it originally sold for just a penny per chewy piece and was distinguished from the competition thanks to its rather patriotic red, white and blue wrappers.

Huge box of Bazooka bubble gum

It would be one of the first commercial candy brands to offer consumers a multi-pack of gum, which included a total of six pieces and sold for just a nickel.

Like most other bubble gum brands of the day, it was also wrapped to include a short comic strip – which initially featured the antics of Bazooka The Atom Bubble Boy. This character, who debuted in 1949, would enjoy various adventures after blowing a massive bubble and seeing where it would take him.

Sadly, the mascot didn’t prove to be particularly popular. At the same time, the multi-packs didn’t sell as well as expected – most likely due to the fact that the general public wasn’t ready to pay five cents for chewing gum when a candy bar could be purchased for just a penny.

However, things would turn around for The Topps Company in the early 1950s. It was at this time that they would once again focus on selling single pieces of gum, while also introducing a new character that is still widely recognized some seven decades later!

Enter Bazooka Joe

Beginning in 1953, Topps would change the packaging of their bubble gum to include new comic strips featuring Bazooka Joe.

Drawn by cartoonist Wesley Morse, Joe is a rather distinctive-looking kid in a baseball cap and black eye patch who is joined in various misadventures by a motley crew of characters that include the likes of Tuffy, Pesty, Mort, Jane, and Hungry Herman to name but a few.

Modeled after the tradition of syndicated kid gang comics like Reg’lar Fellers, each strip consisted of a child-friendly joke and ads for kitschy merchandise. Comedic fortunes were also included on the strips, each similar to what might be found in a fortune cookie.

Plie of Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum Cartoons

These new Bazooka Joe comics quickly became a smash hit, with kids often trading and saving them to paste on paper and making their own comic books.

With this rise in popularity, Topps would encourage kids to collect and redeem the comics for various prizes. These included flashlights, key chains, bracelets, sketch books, and even steel hunting knives.

In 1963, a series of thirteen special edition Bazooka Joe comics were printed. Aimed at a more mature audience, these not only failed to increase the sales of Bazooka Bubble Gum but also caught the attention of some very angry parents.

Nowadays, the Bazooka Joe comics have become quite collectible. While a single comic from 1955 recently sold online for $5, more recent examples from the 80s and 90s have sold in lots that fetched $32. Sure, on the surface that doesn’t seem like much. However, keep in mind that these things used to be available for just a couple of cents. Not a bad turnaround if you ask this writer.

Bazooka Bubble Gum Easter 225 Count Individually Wrapped Back To School Chewing Gum in Original Flavor - Bulk Bubble Gum Tub - Fun Old Fashioned Candy for School Treats & College Care Packages
8,837 Reviews
Bazooka Bubble Gum Easter 225 Count Individually Wrapped Back To School Chewing Gum in Original Flavor - Bulk Bubble Gum Tub - Fun Old Fashioned Candy for School Treats & College Care Packages
  • BULK BUBBLE GUM: Unwrap the fun with Bazooka's iconic pink chewy bubble gum in bulk.
  • BACK TO SCHOOL TREATS: Great for kids for a sweet back to school treat, kids sports games, college care packages, and classroom treasure box prizes!

Bazooka Joe, Changing With The Times

As the years passed, Bazooka Joe was updated to stay current with popular trends. Design changes would take place in the 60s and again in the 80s. Joe and his pals would receive more contemporary looks in the 1990s – sporting baggy jeans, updated hairstyles, and backwards caps.

In 2012, after a fifty-nine-year run and over 1,500 unique adventures, the Bazooka Joe comics would be discontinued. Much to the disappointment of those who had grown up with the character. In an attempt to modernize the brand, the comics would instead be replaced with a series of brain teasers.

As for the gum itself, Bazooka Companies, Inc. would expand the selection to include such new flavors as Cherry Berry, Blue Razz, and Watermelon Whirl to name a few. They would also release some sugar-free options and a Flavor Blast variety with a longer-lasting and more intense taste.

The iconic red, white and blue wrapping that had defined Bazooka Bubble Gum since the product first hit stores in 1947 would also be changed. It eventually took on a modern look complete with graffiti-inspired graphics and a range of brighter, more eye-catching colors.  

In 2019, Bazooka Companies, Inc. looked to bring a more classic feel back to Bazooka Bubble Gum.

Bazooka Joe would return in classic guise, and the gum once again featured packaging inspired by that original red, white and blue color scheme. Marketed as Bazooka Throwback Bubble Gum, it sold relatively well and featured reprints of favorite comics from the 1970s.

A Major Milestone For Bazooka

Heading into its 75th anniversary, Bazooka Companies, Inc. is kicking off a year-long celebration that will see new Bazooka Joe comics printed and the return of some classic fortunes from the 80s.

At the same time, the gum will hit shelves in commemorative packaging. Classic flavors like original grape will also return, and a short film dedicated to the history and impact of the brand is also on the way.

Special 75th-anniversary emblems will also adorn Bazooka Bubble Gum products throughout the year, while free promotions and giveaways are being held through the brand’s official social media channels.

What’s Next For Bazooka Bubble Gum

The future of Bazooka Bubble Gum is a bright one. Recently voted as one of the ten most recognizable candy brands in the world, it continues to be offered in stores around the globe.

A confectionery link that calls to mind a simpler time and brings generations together, this classic candy has left a cultural impact upon society that is still felt some seven decades later.

Yes, even after 75 years in circulation, fans can’t get enough of “…Bazooka, Zooka Bubble Gum!”

Bazooka Bubble Gum Easter 225 Count Individually Wrapped Back To School Chewing Gum in Original Flavor - Bulk Bubble Gum Tub - Fun Old Fashioned Candy for School Treats & College Care Packages
8,837 Reviews
Bazooka Bubble Gum Easter 225 Count Individually Wrapped Back To School Chewing Gum in Original Flavor - Bulk Bubble Gum Tub - Fun Old Fashioned Candy for School Treats & College Care Packages
  • BULK BUBBLE GUM: Unwrap the fun with Bazooka's iconic pink chewy bubble gum in bulk.
  • BACK TO SCHOOL TREATS: Great for kids for a sweet back to school treat, kids sports games, college care packages, and classroom treasure box prizes!

Last update on 2022-08-14 at 17:51 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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