Flavored chewing gum has been around as long as Black Jack, which means since 1884! Needless to say, gum has had many “moments in the spotlight” over the years, as it has been featured in movies, chewed by celebrities, and even incorporated into modern art installations.
That being said, nothing has ever boosted the popularity of gum quite like when famous characters or real-world celebrities become known for their gum chewing. To honor these “icons of gum enjoyment,” we’ve put together 3 memorable gum lovers who captured our attention just by chewing on a flavored stick...or two.
Violet is the bratty, gum-chewing virtuoso from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Made most popular by the 1971 film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Violet falls for the temptation of a chewing gum said to mimic a 3-course dinner. Once we reach the dessert portion of the gum, Violet swells into a blueberry and must be rolled away to The Juicing Room.
Dahl’s Willy Wonka popularized gums and candies in all sorts of ways. But, the 1971 film is perhaps the most enduring part of his legacy, and Violet’s scene with chewing gum that tastes like tomato soup, roast beef, and blueberry pie made candy lovers out of a whole new generation.
Around the time American pilots were pushing the envelope toward supersonic speeds, some of the most well-known pilots were becoming true celebrities. Perhaps the most visible of them all was Chuck Yeager, who became the first pilot to break the speed of sound in the Glamorous Glennis, Yeager’s cutting-edge X-1 rocket plane.
Almost just as well-known is Yeager’s love for Beemans gum. Back then, Beemans contained pepsin, which helped settle pilot’s stomachs, as well as a refreshing wintergreen flavor that quickly became Yeager’s favorite. Legend has it he chewed a stick of Beemans before every flight and influenced other aviators to do so as well.
Since then, Beemans has ditched the pepsin, but retained the same iconic flavor. Find it in a store near you!
Claudette Colbert was an American stage and film actress who began her career on Broadway in the 1920s. Once “talking pictures” arrived on the scene, Colbert rocketed to stardom during her film career in the 30s and 40s, including strong dramatic roles and screwball comedies.
Since Claudette was known for her poise, fashion, and “ladylike” demeanor, she became the face of chewing gum in 1938—the first of many gum campaigns expressly targeted at women. The ad features Claudette dressed in a modest designer outfit and handbag next to a pack of chewing gum—billed as a lady’s accessory for fresh breath and healthy living. For the next decade, chewing gum became an integral item in the female beauty industry, thanks in part to this initial promotion from Ms. Colbert.
These are just a few examples of the most influential gum-chewers over the years. There are so many more! Want to taste a piece of all this history? You can find America’s original flavored chewing gums, Black Jack, Beemans, and Clove, at a store near you.