Friday, July 11, 2014

From the Candy Aisle: Space Dust/Cosmic Candy

Product: Space Dust/Cosmic Candy
Company: General Foods
Years - Late 70's-early 80's

Vintage General Foods Cherry Cosmic Candy Box Packs
Image by Greg Koenig

Ground control to major Tom.....

Ground Control to Major Tom.......

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on.....

Here's a fun one. In the late 1976, General Foods really took the novelty candy world by storm with it's new candy, Pop Rocks. It was a hit, so a few years later, they released a new candy (which was similar) called Space Dust. It was basically Pop Rocks, just crushed up into a fine powder.

It was instantly a huge success, but it didn't take long for train to go off the rails.

First, 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. (I heard it was Mikey from the Life Cereal commercials). These rumors once again got parents in an uproar over the candy (just chill, parents). 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 explains 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 it.

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. Store who had stockpiled the candy suddenly found themselves stuck with boxes of it they couldn't sell (I wonder if this is why unopened cases of it seem to show up for sale from time to time...)

Image from Traci*s Retro via Flickr

I love the packaging for this candy. It is so.....70's drug culture-y in it's style. It makes me want to put on some Bowie, pop in a movie like Nelvana's "Cosmic Christmas" or "The Devil and Daniel Mouse", and just space out. Maybe pop open a few packets of this......and wash it down with a Coke.....and see........what magical places it takes me.......

For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world........
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do.

So normally I would just end it there, but there is one other interesting, if you can call it that, article I found while looking into this stuff. It comes from the May 22nd, 1978 edition of the Vilage Voice Newspaper. I thought it was a rather strange article to be in a newspaper, but then I noticed the ad directly to it's right, and I was like "'s THAT kind of newspaper....)
It involves Space Dust Candy and, well, a sex act......

This is from an actual newspaper. I am not making this up.

The article in question in on the left, entitled "Lip-Smacker" - the other Ad is to the right....

And then there are the commercials....


  1. Village voice is the infamous online hooker hive these days and is owned by ebay the place where this vintage candy is auctioned from time to time.

  2. I don't recall these variation, but I've always hated Pops Rocks. As a child the seemingly never-ending popping would drive me insane (which I guess was the point).

  3. Way to quote my FAVORITE MUSICIAN OF ALL TIME (you'll be missed, Mr. B.)

  4. We had cosmic candy

    Space dust must have been a west coast version

  5. Space Dust was sold in Georgia in the 70s.

  6. I remember Cherry and Orange, this was in Nebraska.

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  8. I loved Space Dust as a kid, and it was definitely enjoyed here in the piedmont area of North Carolina! I wish they would bring it back. Space Dust had so much more flavor than Pop Rocks, I can would definitely like to try enjoying them together, simultaneously!