The Tootsie Pop is a hard candy lollipop with a Tootsie Roll filling at its center. The Tootsie Pop was invented in 1931 by The Sweets Company of America, which changed its name to Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc. In 1966.
In addition to chocolate (the original flavor), Tootsie Pops come in a variety of the following fruit flavors: raspberry, cherry, orange and grape. Recently, Tootsie Roll Industries released three new flavors: blue raspberry, strawberry and watermelon. A new release, the Tootsie Pop “Tropical Stormz”, includes five different “swirl” textured pops, including: orange/pineapple, lemon/lime, strawberry/banana, citrus punch and berry berry punch.
In 1996, Tootsie Roll Industries celebrated their 100th anniversary. As of 2003, sixty-million Tootsie Rolls and twenty-million Tootsie Pops were produced every day.
1 The Flavors
2 The commercial
3 The research
4 Urban legend
6 Pop culture references
1) The Flavors
Cherry (red wrapper)
Orange (orange wrapper)
Chocolate (brown wrapper)
Grape (blue wrapper)
Raspberry (dark red wrapper)
Newly Added Flavors
Watermelon (green wrapper)
Strawberry (pink wrapper)
Blue Rasperberry (light blue wrapper)
Lemon Lime (light green wrapper}
2) The commercial
In 1970, Tootsie Roll Industries aired one of the most famous TV commercials of all time, featuring a boy trying to ascertain how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Along with the two Tootsie Roll commercials, this commercial (albeit in a re-edited 15-second “hook” version) continues to be shown on television today, making them the longest running commercials of all time (). (A second, shortened Tootsie Pop commercial was created and first aired in 1996, which also continues to be shown on television today).
The original 1-minute version of the commercial had the boy going up to Mr. Cow and Mr. Fox before going up to Mr. Turtle asking how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop in which they respond that they bite them instead of licking and suggest asking the next animal.
Here is the dialogue to the 30-second version:
Boy: Mr. Turtle, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Mr. Turtle: I never made it without biting. Ask Mr. Owl.
Boy: Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Mr. Owl: Let’s find out. One… Two-HOO… Three..
Mr. Owl: Crunch!
Mr. Owl: Three!
Narrator: How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Narrator: The world may never know.
After the 1970 TV commercial, Mr. Owl became the mascot for Tootsie Pops. He appears on the packaging and marketing.
This ad has been remade in 3D computer animation in 2007.
3) The research
According to the official Tootsie Roll website, Tootsie Roll Industries has received over 50,000 letters from children claiming to have solved the riddle since the commercial first aired in 1970. The typical range of responses is between 100 and 5,800.
Tootsie Roll Industries notes that they are aware of 3 separate and completely unrelated studies which attempted to finally put to rest the ever eternal question of “How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?”:
A handful of engineering students at Purdue University appear to have conducted the most research. They devised a “licking machine,” with which they recorded an average of 364 licks to get to the center. Their research also included having 20 human volunteers carry out the experiment as well. The results from the volunteers concluded that it took an average of 252 licks to reach it.
One doctorate student at the University of Michigan created his own licking machine and came up with an average of 411 licks to reach the center of the Tootsie Pop.
Students at Swathmore High School conducted their own human-based experiment, resulting in an average of 144 licks.
The answer of course is affected by the individual’s saliva output and the tongue size, so it depends on the person. However, in theory it can be done in only one lick if the tongue is in direct contact with the Tootsie Pop for a long enough period of time.
4) Urban legend
This raspberry flavored Tootsie Pop wrapper shows the image of Native American aiming a bow and arrow at a star.Tootsie Roll Pops traditionally were wrapped in paper with icons and symbols, including but not limited to, an American Indian with a bow and arrow aimed at a star. From soon after the introduction of Tootsie Pops from 1931 through the present day (currently generating about 150 letters a week), a rumor has circulated that a wrapper containing the American Indian icon shooting a star could be traded-in for a free Tootsie Roll Pop.
According to Tootsie Roll Industries and web site Snopes.com, this rumor is not true. However, according to Snopes.com, individual merchants have chosen to honor the wrapper legend over the years, allowing people to “win” a free pop.
With the innovation and spread of the Internet and e-mail, many queries to Tootsie Roll Industries are in the form of email. Below is the company’s response, dated March 24, 2005, to one such query:
Thank you for your interest in our Tootsie Pop wrappers. We are pleased to have an opportunity to tell the true story about our Tootsie Pop wrappers.
Many years ago, a rumor surfaced that said if the wrapper of a Tootsie Pop with a star was found and returned to the company, a free Tootsie Pop, or any number of things would be sent to the lucky person. We truly don’t know why or where this rumor started, as our records do not indicate that our company ever sponsored any type of promotion surrounding images on the wrapper.
We hope we have been able to clarify this matter for you and we thank you for contacting us.
In 2000, rapper Lil’ Kim used the popular slogan as a sexual reference and title, “How Many Licks?” for her album The Notorious K.I.M.
A now discontinued bite sized form called “Tootsie Pop Drops” was once available in grape, strawberry, cherry, orange, and chocolate flavors.
Lemon Lime has been added to the new flavors available in regular bags of Tootsie Pops (the other flavors are Strawberry, Watermelon, Blue Raspberry.}
One Fine Line guitarist Mike Ruhl of Copperas Cove, Texas has the Indian shooting the star image tattooed across his back.
6) Pop culture references
In the Family Guy episode, Let’s Go to the Hop, the following Tootsie Pop ad parody is shown:
Boy: Mr. Toad, how many licks of you does it take to get to the center of a Rhode Island state prison?
(Prison bars suddenly slam over the image.)
Narrator: Just one.
The popular webcomic Order of the Stick parodied the Tootsie Pop ad. 
In the Camp Lazlo episode “Lazlo Loves a Parade” in the background, an owl in the background who takes 3 licks then bites it.
In an Halloween-themed episode of Food Network’s Good Eats entitled “Tricks for Treats”, host Alton Brown parodied the Tootsie Pops ad, only using peanut brittle.
In the Wu-Tang Clan song “Method Man”, in Method Man’s verse “Now how many licks does it take/for me to hit the Tootsie Roll center of a break…”