Tootsie Pop Owl

Mr. Owl, who appeared in a 1970 Tootsie Pop commercial, has sparked many of conversations about the candy he advertised for.

Who knew a little cartoon owl could spark so much conversation? Since the 1970s, this little candy icon has peaked the curiosity of many sweet-toothed Americans who now wonder, “How many licks does it really take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?”

That’s what Joe Brown asked News13 this week. He even went as far as to say he thinks Mr. Owl lied about it only take three licks to get to the center.

Uh-oh. Those are fightin’ words.

So we took it to streets, more specifically It’s Sugar candy shop at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, to find the answer.

We asked some sugar-ridden children how many licks it would take to get to the center, and their answers varied from “maybe aboouuuut 150” to a precise “562.”

Alex Cooke stood in the store and licked her little heart out until she hit the jackpot. It took her “umm, about 200…maybe more” licks to reach the fun chewy center of the Tootsie Pop.

And a 14-year-old agrees with Joe Brown. She only got to about ten licks before she had a tired tongue, and was nowhere near the center. When asked if she remembered the old commercials with the owl, she said yes, and agreed that the owl lied.

Now, for the sake of full-disclosure, we will admit that our study is nowhere near scientific.

However, there have been various scientific studies done on the matter in the past. Purdue University used a licking machine to determine it takes 252 licks to get to the center. But, the University of Michigan’s licking machine took a whopping 411 licks. And Swarthmore Junior High School Students licked their own lollipops and came up with 144 until the center surprise.

And, I…licked 117 times before I got to the Tootsie Roll. Either that, or I lost track along the way. It’s hard to say.

But, little Alex had some great words of encouragement for those who have a hard time making it through the hard candy shell.

“Tootsie Pops are a delicious candy, so if you want to get to the center, just keep on lickin’!”


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