In late 1976, General Foods took the novelty candy world by
storm with it’s new candy, Pop Rocks. It was such a hit, that a few years
later they released a new similar candy called Space Dust, which was basically Pop Rocks, just crushed up into a fine powder.
It was a instant success also, but quickly parents
complained that the name “Space Dust”, along with the appearance of the
candy, was too similar to illegal drugs such as Angel Dust. Accusations
were even made that the candy, because of its similarity to powdered
drugs, would lead kids into real drug use.
As a result, the name was changed from Space Dust" to “Cosmic Candy”.
That problem seemed to be solved, but more trouble was brewing. A rumor
started going around that the candy was unsafe and that a kid died
while consuming the candy while drinking a soda. These rumors once again got parents
in an uproar over the candy. It got so bad that
Bill Mitchell, chemist and creator of Pop Rocks and Cosmic Candy
actually took out a full page newspaper ad in the Feb. 6th edition of
the Pittsburgh Press in 1979, explaining that the entire thing was not
true. He explained how he started making the candy back in the 1950’s for
his kids, and how it was perfectly save despite all the rumors about
The candy remained wildly popular for a few years. Stores struggled to keep it in stock. But in a year or too, it seemed everyone lost interest in it. Stores who
had stockpiled the candy suddenly found themselves stuck with boxes of
it they couldn’t sell.