Monday, July 19, 2010

Pop Rocks & Soda Killed Mikey ...

Deadly combination of Pop Rocks and soda, yeah right!

Back in the late 1970s, I loved Pop Rocks. What kid didn't? On my way home from school, I'd stop at our local candy store and pick up a packet of the sweet, sizzling treat. I enjoyed the sugary tartness as my mouth fizzled in a cool snap, crackle and pop way. Pop Rocks was one of my favorite non-chocolate candy treat, next to the over-sized burger shaped gum packaged in a yellow plastic case resembling a McDonald's Big Mac.

At some point, rumors began circulating that the famous Life Cereal commercial star "Mikey, he likes it" died from an unfortunate accident downing a can of soda along with a package of Pop Rocks. It was unbelievable, how did it happen? Kids said that the level of carbonation from the soda combined with the candy could make your stomach explode. What an awful thought? It's crazy how rumors can create such issues, remember the spider eggs in Bubble Yum urban legend?

I'm sure you already know Mikey (John Gilchrist) is alive and well and was working in advertising. Here are some cool facts about Mikey, Pop Rocks and more...
  • Mikey (John Gilchrist) starred in the Life Cereal commercials with his real-life brothers Michael and Tom.
  • The Mikey Life Cereal ads ran were named one of the 50 Greatest Commercials of all Time by TV Guide.
  • General Mills, the company behind Pop Rocks, took out full-page ads in over 45 publications to squash rumors that Pop Rocks were deadly.
  • 50,000 letters were sent to school principals clarifying the playground tales of killer Pop Rocks!
  • In 2000, Quaker poked fun at themselves and revived the classic Mikey ads with a grown-up version of the finicky eater. View the commercial below the original. It isn't John Gilchrist - the actor's name is Jimmy Starace.
  • Mentos was the next victim of a similar rumor started in 2006 about a kid in Brazil who died who washed down some Mentos with a can of Coke. 
Original Mikey Life Cereal Commercials -- Notice the intense New Yawk accents on these kids?!




Reviving Mikey - All Grown-up in 2000



31 comments:

Kathie @ Just a Happy Housewife said...

I was an odd kid anyway, but I never ate pop rocks. I was all about the chocolate even as a kid!

sara said...

I just recently had pop rocks again. they were still awesome! sadly i probably had more fun with them than my 6 and 8 year old nephews did. they just can't appreciate a classic

liz said...

I remember the gossip about it, but had no idea it was so serious that ads were taken you to quell them!

Bossy Betty said...

Hey Mikey!!

Loved Pop Rocks! Now they disturb me as I think perhaps my teeth might be falling apart when I eat them.

Babes Mami said...

Pop rocks were awesome!

Joe Cap said...

I used to love pop rocks! We used to give them to our dog when we were kids. The dog got a kick out of it.
I was surprised to learn recently that they still make them, The Daughter even knows about them.

Sadako said...

Never ate them myself but I just saw the cutest youtube video of a baby eating pop rocks for the first time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUe4USuqnBM

Tracie said...

I loved Pop Rocks! (I loved/love anything sweet.)

80sMom said...

That is too funny. I remember that SO WELL. You brought back a real memory with that one!

Mimi said...

Pop Rocks were so much fun! I can totally remember the sound they made inside your head while they dissolved. Crazy!

TS Hendrik said...

I love urban legends. I tried it too without any results.

Riot Kitty said...

I didn't like Pop Rocks. I actually don't like candy. I'm just weird like that.

I have to say, the title of this post grabbed me.

MiMi said...

I like Chick-o Stix. :)
Pop Rocks are popular again...but I can't eat em. They skeers me. Prolly cuz of that whole urban legen...

Mamma has spoken said...

I didn't like pop rocks either....

Joann Mannix said...

As I watched that commercial, I realized I know every single word to it. That was perhaps one of the most ingenious marketing coups ever. The tag line. The whole scenario, everything.

I've never seen the other one. I loved it!

Good blast from the past, Ally.

Ms. Anthropy said...

The second clip sure looks like it could BE an older Mikey! They made a good choice, picking him.

FabuLeslie said...

Ahh, the memories. As always when I come here. My favorite new use for pop rocks is on the rim of a cocktail. I saw it in a summer issue of the Food Network Magazine. It looks awesome! I haven't tried it yet, but I certainly intend to.

Jenn said...

LOL.. I forgot about poor old Mikey!! Glad to know he's actually lived!! hehe I LOVED pop rocks...oh the fun we had eating those!

Copyboy said...

So not only is the kid alive and well, but he's also in my industry and has the potential of stealing my job. Great!

baygirl32 said...

I tried the pop rocks in the sada can, all I got was a MESS. Bubbles all over the front of me, but umm they are some tasty candies.

Marlene said...

I LOVED pop rocks!!! Still do!

Life Cereal - not so much.

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

That rumour about Mikey dying from the pop-rocks/soda combo became a joke in CA, so I knew it wasn't true. The punchline was "Yeah, he died. He ran out of life." Kids can be so NOT amusing.
He was a cute in both commercials.
Thanks for the memories, as always, Ally.
xoRobyn

Powdered Toast Man said...

Mmmm cinnamon Life.

Salt said...

OMG I love Life cereal. It will always be one of my favorites forever.

Pop Rocks always used to scare me a little bit when I was a kid.

LaraAnn said...

I never had pop rocks - I always prefered chocolate. I did like Smarties and Jolly Ranchers sometimes. This commercial is one that I vividly remember.

Mohamed Mughal said...

Wow; talk about blast from the past.... :)

Erin said...

that kid was so adorable, yet I must've been living under a gigantic rock b/c I don't remember hearing those rumors. huh.

:-)
thanks for the clips and walk down memory lane!

Momma Fargo said...

I still love Pop Rocks! LOL. The old Mikey commercials are priceless. The new...not so much.

Teachinfourth said...

I heard about that rumor a few years ago and the 'debunking' of it as well. Pop Rocks are the bomb…

http://fourperspectives.blogspot.com/2009/12/pop-rocks.html

Kristin said...

I think the second commercial is John Gilchrist. Wikipedia said he appeared in commercials in the mid-80s when the spot is from, and Jimmy Starace appeared in ads in the late 90s/early 2000s.

~ Noelle said...

ha, i just posted to you that my mom would not let me eat pop rocks..
and it was because of this rumor! lol

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