Within the jungle of Central America, chicleros still practice their art: tapping the chicle tree every other day, then boiling the sticky white sap to make chewing gum for Yuppies. When an exiled Santa Ana introduced chicle to the United States, hoping to sell it for use as artificial rubber and thus fund an army to lead him triumphantly back to Mexico City, one of his contacts, Thomas Adams, saw him chewing the stuff and decided to see if it would go over with his neighbors. The chewing gum available at the time was made of flavored paraffin; unsurprisingly, people preferred Adams’ version. He soon added sassafras and licorice flavorings, creating Black Jack, and Adams, later the American Chicle Company, was on its way. Competitors sprang up, many of which (including the maker of Chiclets) were purchased by Adams; William Wrigley founded his eponymous company in 1891; Walter Diemer of the Fleer Chewing Gum company invented Dubble Bubble, the first bubble gum, in 1928. Other innovations came later; Topps’ Bazooka bubble gum, with their desperately unfunny comics, didn’t come out until after World War II, and Jim Bouton, the Yankees pitcher and Ball Four author, didn’t get the idea for Big League Chew until 1977. Today, a dozen or more varities of gum, many with classic “bubblegum flavor are available at any supermarket or gas station, but in the waning years of the nineteenth century and the first few of the twentieth, gum was an advertising gimmick, a huge moneymaker, a cultural phenomenon. People patented holders for already-been-chewed gum. Dr. Edwin Beeman rode his gum fortune to the Cleveland city council; William White, a gum salesman whose Yucatan brand was the first peppermint gum, rode his to a term in Congress. But it wasn’t until 1924 that "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?" was written and became a huge hit. Other novelty foods — breakfast cereal comes to mind — have leapt from being fads to being staples. (Veggie burgers may be walking that path today.) Bananas were a huge fad food, partially because they were available in the winter, and today they represent the most popular fruit in America. Bananas even inspired a competing music-hall hit. But only bubble gum returned to the charts, surfacing as a top-ten as a novelty "skiffle" hit by Lonnie Donegan in 1961, bubblegum pop indeed.