Astro pops were very simple. Hard pointy candy on a stick. That's it. It had a stick. Then it had the candy in it. It also had this creepy wax base at the bottom of the candy. It was thick at the bottom and tapered to a dull hard candy point. They looked like multi-colored hippie candles sans wick. They have been around since the dawn of time and I assumed would be around forever.
I was wrong.
On November 24th 1997, a Skagit County couple has sued a candy maker and a convenience-store chain, contending their young son was hurt by a pointy sucker that punctured his throat.
Tisha and Edward Newman's Superior Court lawsuit for an unspecified amount of money from the Spangler Candy Co. of Bryan, Ohio, and Southland Corp., the Dallas-based parent company for 7-Eleven stores.
The Newmans contend their son Nicholas ``suffered several personal injuries when the Astro Pop punctured his throat, palate and tonsil.'
Spangler, the candy company that makes Astro pops decided to invert the shape.
In 1998 The following Astro Pop changes were made.
The following description is from the one of the many explanation e-mails that were sent from Spangler in response to the new inverted shape:
"...(1) The new shape is inverted and eats better. In the candy industry, this is known as mouthfeel and is an important attribute to the success of candy. Note that product will no longer slip out of your mouth, the larger end delivers more candy (and more flavor) to your mouth at one time.
(2) The flavor profile was improved. We changed the flavor formula to a better flavor note and more impact at first taste. The formula revision to slightly more sugar/less corn syrup also helps to deliver more flavor.
(3) The stickiness was reduced. The new product has slightly higher sugar to corn syrup ratio, therefore making the product less sticky, and able to withstand higher temperatures before meltdown, thus we are able to sell product in hot regions.
(4) The paraffin wax was removed. This edible wax wax not a problem in the U.S., but some foreign countries do not allow it. This opens the product up for more sales in international countries.
(5) The graphics were improved. New, exciting and consistent graphics were applied to all Astro Pops and boxes.
All were important facts in the re-design of the Astro Pop. The new Astro Pop is selling very well..."
Never did they say it was to avoid potential law suits as the candy was sturdy enough to be used as a weapon.
In 2002 Spangler Candy Company announced their newest addition to the Astro Pop® line, a one-ounce lollipop layered with chocolate, orange and vanilla (brown, orange and white) flavors.
The new Halloween Astro Pops were available in a 36-count display box, packed eight per case.
“This is a perfect flavor and color combination any time, but particularly for the Halloween season,” said Jim Knight, Spangler Candy’s Director of Marketing. “This is also a treat that any child will be delighted to receive in their trick-or-treat bag.”
The Halloween Astro Pop was the seventh color/flavor combination to join the Astro Pop collection. The others included Original, Sour, Rappin’ Raspberry, Banana Split, Caramel Apple, and the red, white and blue Astro Patriot Pop.
Unfortunately, sales volumes did not justify the continuation of Astro Pops, and this product is no longer produced as of September 2004.
More likely is the fact it was a hard candy that was very "stabbie."
Spangler continues to make other fine candies including Circus Peanuts and Dum Dums. They are also the creator of the Saf-T-pop, the stickless lollipop made for people who are prone to stick related injuries. Visit Spangler.
They Always Come Back:
Inverted or "ass-up" Astropops can still be found at Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles. Get them now because they are clearly over 3 years old. The above link is for Olvera street and it does not show AstroPops for sale but trust me... they are there. Check the center isle vendors nearest the fountain. You'll see 'em.