Yum was the first soft bubble gum to hit the market, making its debut in 1976. It was an instant success with its target consumer group, kids and teens, and sales of the candy quickly soared to such a level that its manufacturer cut back on advertising in order to allow production to keep pace with demand.
Where did the rumor come from? Prior to Bubble Yum, bubble gum was hard and took a fair bit of vigorous mastication to render it into a suitably soft bubble-blowing state. Bubble Yum was a breakthrough, a gum that was ready for bubble blowing after being chomped only a few times. As to how soft it was, even a little tyke could squish a block of Bubble Yum between his fingers. Gone were the days of arduous chewing!
Barbara “candy kiss of the spider woman” Mikkelson
Last updated: 24 January 2007
Rather than pretend there wasn’t a problem or that it would just go away, the parent company took on the rumors:
Claim: Bubble Yum chewing gum contains spider eggs.
Any confection that revolutionary is going to spawn speculation among the younger set. (See our “Death of Little Mikey” page for the rumor about Pop Rocks.) “Why is it so chewy?” was the question on everyone’s lips. Why did it (unlike traditional bubble gum) feel a bit slippery in the mouth? It didn’t take long for kids to invent a plausible answer. There had to be something slippery in there. What could be more slippery than, say, spider eggs?
By the spring of the following year, the whirlwind early sales had slipped noticeably in the area. Rumors that Bubble Yum contained spider’s eggs or legs or was made from their webs abounded. (A less well-circulated rumor had it that the confection caused cancer. It too dates from the same time period.) Schoolyard tall tales about a girl waking up with webs all over her face or nine youngsters dying after swallowing the gum spread quickly among kids and were soon taken as gospel.
Sightings: Very brief mention is made of this belief during a student bull session in the 1998 slasher classic Urban Legend.
Does Bubble Yum contain spider eggs?