Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quick Gum Lesson

2005, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
AnnaSophia Robb

(See the Violet Beauregarde Song at end of post)

Chewing gum is made of latex which is the principle component of rubber. Chewing gum is made with the raw version of the same rubber that is used for tires. The manufacturing process of basic chewing gum has stayed about the same for over a century.

For economic reasons after WWII the US "launched on an intensive campaign to produce a synthetic rubber, second only in cost to the production of the nuclear bomb."

Insoluble plastics are often mixed with or substituted for the base. Gumballs are coated in plastic. A list of ingredients in chewing gum can tally up to 100 chemical constituents.

"Difference Between Chewing Gum And Bubble Gum"

Lilburn Elem. School, GA website link
Chewing gum does not degrade. Ever. It also adheres to surfaces and chemically locks into place.

It may not seem like much when you spit your gum out on the sidewalk, but gum on public surfaces has become a big problem, because it is so annoying, and because removal is extremely expensive and labor-intensive.

Britain has innovated "Gum targets." These are gum "disposal boards," in various amusing designs, such as this British bobby, set up on the street for people to stick their gum onto, rather than spit it out. Yes really!

For the gum target website "Keeping Britain Beautiful" see:

Even politicians have become involved, lobbying to have gum companies taxed until they start using fully biodegradable gums and which do not adhere permanently.
John Stillwell's website link
Especially in Singapore. IN SINGAPORE, CHEWING GUM HAS BEEN ILLEGAL since 1992.

The ban came after someone stuck a wad in the door of a high-speed commuter train, causing a rare delay in service.

 Not only is it illegal to import or manufacture it in Singapore, people are not even allowed to bring in their own, no matter how small the quantity.

United States President Bill Clinton, and then President George W. Bush, met with Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok to discuss a bilateral free trade agreement between the two countries.

War and chewing gum

“Details of the closed-door negotiations are unknown, but it became apparent that by the final phase of the negotiation in early 2003, THERE REMAINED TWO UNRELATED ISSUES: THE WAR IN IRAQ AND CHEWING GUM.” (Wikipedia)

They came to a compromise: the Wrigley Company managed to get the ban modified so that medicinal gums could be sold in Singapore. It can only be sold now by dentists and pharmacists, who must take down the names of buyers.


Dolph Brisco Center for American History, Univ. of Texas: 
The Mexican general Santa Anna, who won at the Alamo, but was living in exile in New Jersey by 1869, was interested in manufacturing a cheap replacement for rubber.

He collaborated with an American, Thomas Adams, who was unable to make it work. However, Adams decided it was good as chewing gum, and founded the American Chicle Company, renamed and still around today.

With the help of Santa Anna’s ideas, Adams was the first to make a latex-based chewing gum as we know it today. Some people refer to  SANTA ANNA As the man who brought chewing gum to America.    

Descendants of Goodyear, the inventor of the vulcanization process of rubber, now produce chewing gum in Houston.
As for William Wrigley, he started out selling soap.

Lester S. Levy Collection @Johns Hopkins:

Gum-chewing became a favorite 1890s pastime. When songwriters recognized its popularity, they wrote songs like She Chews Gum. 
[lyrics and sheet music below- strikingly similar to a song from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, also see below]

Gum trivia:
It was reported in 2001 that tests showed that chewing gum resulted in some MEMORY AND ATTENTION TESTS RESULTING IN 24% HIGHER PERFORMANCE THAN NON-CHEWERS.


Must-see videos:
how chewing gum is made:

how bubble gum is made:
(website full of more fun facts, though obviously from business angle)

1898,  She Chews Gum: Lyrics from a more innocent time:
Click on sheet music to see larger
She Chews Gum, words and lyrics T. J. Briner
for voice and piano;  allegro non troppo
(sheet music p. 1)
1st verse:
She chews her gum, she chews it straight, 
She chews it early, chews it late.
It’s nothing but gum, gum all day. 
She chews like a cow a-chewing hay.

She drops her coin into the slot, 
She’d chew that stick if it were hot.
Then give her room to move her chin, 
To work her jaws is not a sin.

(sheet music p. 3)
It’s chew, chew, chew, It’s you chew too,
It’s do you chew, It’s chew you do.
Then chew, chew, chew, It’s all you do,
It’s all you do, Then chew, chew, chew!

It’s chew, chew, chew, It’s you chew too,
It’s do you chew, It’s chew you do.
Then chew, chew, chew, It’s all you do,
It’s all you do. Then chew, chew, chew!

2nd verse:
She does not care who is about,
She pulls it in, she pulls it out.
She chews it up, she chews it down,
She chews it all around the town.

Look at her mouth she wants a chew,
To fill her mouth, a pack will do.
Then give her room to move her chin, 
To work her jaws is not a sin.

sheet music: website link

From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
2005 Johnny Depp/AnnaSophia Robb version

The lyrics are startlingly similar to She Chews Gum, not only in the words but even in the rhyme form. It makes you wonder where Danny Elfman got his ideas from, no?

listen to song on Danny Elfman's myspace link
lyrics, and poster at top: Tim Burton's website link
link broken

Violet Beauregarde Song, scene from movie on youtube: youtube link
-Song after Violet has blown up into a giant blueberry

Violet Beauregarde Song

Words and music, Danny Elfman 

Listen close, and listen hard, the tale of Violet Beauregarde.  
The dreadful girl she sees no wrong... 
Chewing, chewing, chewing, chewing, chewing, chewing all day long. 
Chewing, chewing all day long.  
Chewing, chewing all day long.  
Chewing, chewing all day long. 
She goes on chewing till at last, her chewing muscles grow so fast.  
And from her face her giant chin, sticks out just like a violin... 
For years and years she chews away, her jaws get stronger every day.  
And with one great tremendous chew...they bite the poor girl's toungue in two. And that is why we try so hard, to save Miss Violet Beauregarde. 
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