- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 4, 2003

The year 1928 stands out as a pivotal point in the world of confections. It was the year Philadelphia accountant Walter Diemer created the pink, popping bubble gum recognized today as Dubble Bubble.

With North American children spending $500 million each year to masticate 100,000 pounds of bubble gum, according to the National Association of Chewing Gum Manufacturers, it seems fitting to commemorate Dubble Bubble’s 75th anniversary and take a look at the company’s Web site, which comes packed with trivia and plenty of sticky fun.

Pud’s Dubble Bubble Clubhouse

Site address: www.dubblebubble.com

Creator: Concord Confections of Ontario develops and maintains the Dubble Bubble product line and its Web site.

Creator quotable: “The Web site was created as a way of interacting with all of our fans. As the world’s first bubble gum, Dubble Bubble plays an important role in American ‘pop’ culture, and we wanted to have a convenient way to share our history and the love of bubble gum with the world,” says Paul Cherrie, vice president of sales and worldwide marketing for Dubble Bubble bubble gum.

Word from the Webwise: Dubble Bubble’s 43-year-old mascot, the baseball-cap-wearing Pud, welcomes visitors to his virtual clubhouse in front of a bubbly blue background as a perky tune plays.

The site’s major sections, Fun & Games, Virtual Tour, Facts & History, and Gum Stories, appear around the clubhouse, and as a cursor is passed over each section, a pink pop reveals the description of the section’s content.

Gum archaeologists first should stop by Facts & History and check out Pud’s rockin’ time machine for slide-show presentations featuring 75 years of fun gum facts. For instance, in 1941, World War II soldiers had Dubble Bubble in their ration kits, and in 1962, 106-year-old Mary Francis Stubbs became the oldest bubble-gum chewer in the world.

The section even offers a page of tips on how to remove gum from faces, shoes, hair, couches and a favorite shirt sleeve.

Serious chewers should take the Virtual Tour to watch Pud manipulate his computer to display video clips featuring the creation, packaging, delivery and storage of gum and gum balls at the Dubble Bubble factories. Or read 32 cute Gum Stories written by fans to the Web site, ranging from a 10-year old who stuffed 300 pieces of gum in her mouth to an 86-year-old reminiscing about the day a truck crashed, leaving Dubble Bubble all over the road.

Finally, children will enjoy the eight challenges found under the Fun & Games section, including an art program to create a single-panel comic, the Tetris-inspired “Gumball Drop” and a Pong-ish classic, “Bubble Breakout.”

Ease of use: Pud’s Clubhouse requires the Quicktime and Shockwave plug-ins, Java Script and Microsoft Explorer higher than version 4.0. Overall, the content-light site is a breezy read with enough time-killing activities for 30 minutes or so.

Don’t miss: The history of the Dubble Bubble comic can be found under Fun & Games with a mix of Pud panels thrown in with the adventures of the original Dubble Bubble mascots, Dub and Bub. Visitors can click on the comics to enlarge the illustrations and read all the gut-busting captions.

Family activity: The fine art of blowing a bubble is explored exhaustively under the Facts & History section. The four key steps are listed. (Don’t forget to mix a teaspoon of peanut butter with at least five chunks of gum for the most flexible of bubble pockets) as well as a chunk of tips to keep the malleable sphere growing.

Cyber-sitter synopsis: Designed as a propaganda tool to hook the 6- to-12-year-old crowd looking for an addiction, the site effectively gets the Dubble Bubble brand in their faces and makes a consistent argument for the “gum equals fun” hypothesis.

Overall grade: B

Remember: The information on the Internet is constantly changing. Please verify the advice on the sites before you act to be sure it’s accurate and updated. Health sites, for example, should be discussed with your own physician.

Have a cool site for the family? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at Webwise, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send an e-mail message ([email protected]washingtontimes.com).

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