The Space Age was in full swing after World War II. Swift technological progress and widespread economic growth gave birth to a culture in love with rockets, space stations, and dreams of life on the moon. Every kid wanted to be an astronaut, and every week, a new toy or TV show was there to feed that dream.
Spangler Candy of Bryan, Ohio, (founded in 1906) met this demand with the snazzy, rocket-shaped Astro Pop. This lollipop, a thin inverted cone of hard candy on a stick, suggested a three-stage rocket: a red cherry-flavored lower section, a dark green lime middle, and a long yellow tip of lemon.
For years, the Astro Pop was eaten from the pointy end down. A popular game among junior space rangers involved sucking the yellow end to a sharp point, essentially creating a tiny candy lance. A friendly jab to the nearest classmate or sibling was standard practice.
During the 1980s, the Spangler company reversed the Astro Pop, so that the stick went through the yellow point, and the red base was up top – a decidedly awkward arrangement. Spangler claimed that this “improvement” made the Astro Pop easier to eat, but suspicious kids everywhere knew that it was just nervous grown-ups taking some of the fun out of life.
Astro Pops never sold as well after the change, and they blasted off to oblivion in September of 2004. Spangler, however, does still make their signature candy, the tiny lollipops known as Dum-Dums. Hopefully, this isn’t a reflection of society, where the dreamers of space travel steadily diminish and the dums-dums happily fill the void.