Friday, September 9, 2016

The 'American Top 40' bubble gum blowing contest (Bubble Gum Weekend)

It's another Snuffleupagus moment, so hang on to your face!

Many of you know I loved American Top 40 during its original Casey Kasem run and into the Shadoe Stevens era. But did you know the AT40 kick-ass crew was once associated with a bubble gum blowing contest?

For years, I've been insisting that this really happened, and everyone thought I was making it up. But once again, YouTube saves the day!

The contest flourished in 1988 around the time Shadoe took over AT40. Bubble Yum kept running a promotion during AT40 inviting listeners to send in photos of themselves bubbling - and presumably letting the bubble burst on their face, since that's one of the nicest characteristics of beegee. Best photos would win a prize. Proof that this contest really existed? Well, here's an AT40 show from that era (with the songs in the countdown removed for copyright purposes). Fast forward to 4:05 for the ridiculousness...

Believe me now? Why would I make up something like that?

People chewed so much bubble gum in 1988. It's actually surprising Michael Dukakis didn't let loose with a big bubble during a debate. Yet I don't know anyone - and I mean anyone - who entered that contest. Nobody! Granted, this was before digital cameras, so people didn't want to squander film. Plus, it was in the dreaded Dusty Lenscap era, so people probably just assumed Kmart would lose or ruin their bubble photos, so why even bother? And then there's the ever-present fear that the photos would be lost or destroyed in the mail.

That AT40 episode also included ads for 2 other brands of beegee. Unfortunately, the other ads were for sugarless brands or varieties, meaning sugar was replaced with cancer-causing chemicals.

A note about that AT40 installment that has nothing to do with bubble gum: "Fallen Angel" by Poison was in the countdown that week, and that song was responsible for a misheard lyric. The opening line in the song is, "She stepped off the bus out into the city streets." I used to think the song went, "Algebra books out in the city streets." I got the image of spoiled brats at my high school at the time stealing my school books, tearing them up, and throwing them into the street - which was a common occurrence then.