The Most Fun You Can Have for Five Cents

Photo by Rob Madeo. Gum by Bazooka.I popped into a little store downtown to buy a couple of Advil, but I found something much better: Bazooka Bubble Gum.

Bazooka! Talk about being transported back to your youth.

We used to go out from school during lunch and stop at Sam & Joe’s on Westbury Avenue. This was the kind of place where you could buy comic books and sit at the counter and have a hamburger or grilled cheese with an egg cream. An egg cream! And then you would leave with a pocket full of Bazooka Bubble Gum, which probably cost a penny each.

Now it’s more like a nickel each, but hey, inflation. I unwrapped a piece and popped it into my mouth. It was surprisingly supple and fresh. Then it was time to carefully open the comic. There they are, Bazooka Joe and Mort. Oh, Mort. You were always so hilarious with your turtleneck — what have you been up to all these years?

But what the hell? The type on the comic was unreadable. Squinting, I tried in vain to read the joke in the comic. Couldn’t read the fortune, either. Why is this so small? Are they writing such long jokes that they had to switch to tiny, little font? Or it could be my vision is going to hell?

I’d like to think that Bazooka’s for kids of all ages. Maybe not for their eyes, though.

20 thoughts on “The Most Fun You Can Have for Five Cents

  1. I love Bazooka and I especially loved that stick of gum that came in packs of baseball cards. Was that Bazooka too? I also liked Hubba Bubba, Bubblicious and Bubble Yum. Do they still sell those anymore? About a month ago I saw Fruit Stripes in Hannaford.

  2. I heard Mort did a stint upstate, and Joe was in rehab in the mid 80’s. But another question….EGG CREAM (dude how old ARE you?) I like Bazooka, except my bridge doesn’t and I do think the print is smaller now(it has to be, it’s not us.)
    as for the fortune it may have said something like “take care of your teeth, and they will take care of you…..drop the gum old man.” at least I think that’s what mine said, when I was using my tri-focals.

  3. Bazooka Joe and Mort made Nancy and Sluggo look
    like Hamlet. I recall as a kid occasionally
    getting the comic insert in Japanese and several
    other foreign languages. It made about as
    much sense as the English version.

  4. Thanks to everyone for chipping in… I had a feeling I wasn’t the only one that feels the pull of the Bazooka.

    Regarding egg creams, Tony, I’m 48, so we’re talking 1970-75 or so. Even then, egg creams seemed sort of exotic, something you couldn’t get everywhere — and that was on Long Island.

    I’d be really curious if you can get an egg cream around here. Anybody?

  5. I am researching recipes. Apparently, the egg cream is a New York-area phenomenon. According to what I’ve read so far, egg creams since WWII have not contained either eggs or cream–just whole milk, chocolate syrup, and seltzer.

    I’ll get back to you.

  6. The Good Leaf Tea Company on Lark Street and the Ultraviolet Cafe on Delaware Ave both advertise Egg Creams. A coworker had one at Ultraviolet and loved it. And yes, I LOVED Bazooka as a kid. Now, I’d be afraid of losing a crown!

  7. Ben and Jerry’s used to sell egg creams, but it’s ages since I’ve stepped foot in one of their hippie havens.

  8. I don’t think you can get an egg cream north of Spuyten Duyvil…and good luck trying to find the real Fox’s U-Bet.

  9. I think you can get an egg cream at Emack & Bolio’s on Delaware Ave. (not sure about the one on Western Ave.)

  10. @5 – Your mother bought BOXES of the stuff??? You lucky dog, I wish I was your sister back when.
    @9 – Lissa, right there with you and teeth.
    Rob – my mouth is now watering and you watch, I bet I buy some before the day is out – it’ll be fine if I suck on it and don’t chew 🙂

  11. Have they ever addressed why Mort wears that turtleneck ? Avian flu fears, cold sores, poor dental health ? And for that matter- WHY DOES JOE HAVE AN EYEPATCH ? Where’s CPS when you need them ?

  12. I found some basic recipes, some calling for Fox’s U-Bet syrup. I even found some websites that explained why they were called “egg” creams even though no eggs were involved, and some that still insisted that eggs were used before World War II. I would not make one using a real egg given the possibility of food poisoning. I’m also guessing that seltzer sprayed from a fountain works better than seltzer from a bottle.

  13. Roz: I suppose an egg white might make something creamy.

    Paul: For years I’ve pulled turtlenecks over my mouth and said, “Hey! I’m Mort.” Nobody ever gets it. As for the eyepatch:

    According to company lore, Bazooka Joe began sporting the classic eye patch to make himself look interesting and “distinctive,” much like the models in the popular 1950’s Hathaway Shirt advertisements Joe’s eye patch intentionally satirized.

    Maria: Bazooka is a Topps product, so it may be the same gum.

    AND NO, Double Bubble is unrelated…

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