Tuesday, March 3, 2009
CANDY FROM STRANGERS
"On the Good Ship Lollipop" by Shirley Temple, in the movie "Bright Eyes" from 1934. The song became Temple's signature tune, and entered the realm of pop culture. Strangely enough, the song has appeared on such television shows as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gilmore Girls, The Brady Bunch, and not one but two episodes of The Simpsons. (In Season 4, a parody of King Kong stars Homer as the big ape. He is captured and brought to the United States, whereupon he escapes into a theater where Shirley Temple is performing the song. King Kong Homer listens for a few verses, and then eats her.)
So...What's the deal with lollipops? For us, it's a conscious change from the dry and droll. We've been pretty serious lately. Coming right off a blog post about suicide and depression, we thought we should lighten up with some candy, and while we lean toward Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, or the venerable Snickers, the world wants lollipops! I never much cared for them myself. Hard, old-fashioned, filling-pulling, foul tasting, these little suckers do nothing for me. I guess I'm wrong.
So, hey? What's the deal with lollipops?
Let's look at the history. The word itself--or rather "lolly pop"--dates back to 1784, but initially referred to soft rather than hard candy. The term may have derived from the term "lolly" (tongue) and "pop" (slap). The first references to the lollipop in its modern context date to the 1920s.
Check out these Lincoln head lollipops. Don't read anything into them. To paraphrase another bearded old man, the father of psychoanalysis, "Sometimes a lollipop is just a lollipop." Not this time.
According to the National Confectionary Association (yes, there is such a thing) candy on a stick was probably created by cavemen who maintained beehives and collected honey with a stick. Not wanting to waste the sweet residue, they, most likely, licked the utensil and thus the first unintentional lollipop, or, candy on a stick, was born.
Archeologists report that ancient Arabs, Chinese and Egyptians produced fruit and nut confections which were "candied" in honey which served as a preservative. Due to the nature of the sticky substance, recent discoveries have hinted that sticks were inserted into these treats to make them easier to eat.
So lollipops were created, and soon after the songs came rolling in. We've narrowed it down to just three for the sake of brevity. We had to cut plenty, and we apologize to fans of The Chordettes and three 6 mafia. Here are a couple more of our favorites.
"My Boy Lollipop" was the first major hit for Island Records back in 1964, and probably the first Jamaican song you ever heard. It was actually written in the fifties, but it took Millicent Small from Clarendon, Jamaica, known in the United States as "Millie Small", to make it a smash around the world. This is the first international ska hit. Listen to the rhythm. Reggae can't be far off.
Dwayne Michael Carter is best known as "Lil Wayne." Maybe you've heard of him. His 2008 album, Tha Carter III, was nominated for eight Grammy awards. "Lolipop" topped the Billboard Hot 100, making it the first Top 10 single for Lil Wayne as a solo artist, as well as his first #1 on the chart. The language is a little rough, but we figured you could handle it. As for the video, well, you can get plenty of ideas for livening up your tired old wardrobe just by watching Lil Wayne. I'm just sayin.'