Pop Rocks Celebrates 50 Years of Fizzing

The same year that Jonas Salk discovered a vaccine for polio, a little-known chemist at General Foods stumbled on to what would provide a revolution in mouths across the country.

Find out more on this story along with the latest headlines during the 'World News Tonight' webcast, daily at 3 p.m. ET. Click here to watch.

William A. Mitchell had a simple hope in 1956 -- make instant soda from a tablet. The soda didn't pan out, but he created a hit. His research led to the invention of Pop Rocks candy.

Twenty years later, the colorful, sugary treat that explodes on your tongue became one of the most-popular candies in America. Packets were found in candy machines and stuffed in lunchboxes.

What makes these candy rocks pop on your tongue, though? The tiny shards of candy include a gasified form of carbon dioxide. When they hit saliva in the mouth, the result is an unmistakable buzz.

As concerns were raised over potential injuries from these small explosions, health officials said the candy was safe, but urban legends about Pop Rocks fatalities still ran wild.

One example involved actor John Gilchrist, who played the finicky child Mikey in the Life cereal ads. As the false story went, Gilchrist mixed Pop Rocks and soda, and met his death.

Today, the makers of Pop Rocks hope the brand can live on as a nostalgia product.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston stopped a would be smuggler from bringing nearly 7 ounces of cocaine into the country in tamales, Aug. 22, 2014.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine.
(Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center/AP)
Real Housewife Phaedra Parks Lists Home in Suburban Atlanta
Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Phaedra Parks, has listed her 4,000-square-foot home with 5 bedrooms and 6 baths for $340,900.