And so the Concord/WalMart contest was run from 2000 to 2005. Winners of the contest received a $10,000 savings bond and a trip to Disney World. 5 Runners Up eached recieved a $5,000 savings bond. Never before or after has a bubblegum contest been so big and had such enormous prizes.
To make the Dubble Bubble National Bubble Blowing Contest as big a deal as could be made, Bruce and Concord went straight to the top and made a deal with WalMart, the biggest store chain in the world, to run his contest. So, as I understand it, over 3000 Walmart stores were enlisted for the contest. The winner from each store had their bubbles submitted to an independent judge who named the six biggest bubbles, with the blowers of those bubbles going to Walmart’s headquarters in Arkansas for the finals, where the winners were awarded the biggest prizes ever given to bubble blowing contest winners. The winner recieved a $10,000 savings bond a trip to Disney World.
Bruce Weiner had been in the bubblegum business a long time, and it became apparent to me, with what he did, that he must have considered big bubbles one of the biggest things about bubblegum. So after improving the formula for even bigger bubbles, the next step was to promote that urge for competition that went all the way back to the beginning.
That was the beginning of The Dubble Bubble National Bubble Blowing Contest, starting in 2000. It was the biggest, grandest, and probably longest running contest bubblegum had ever seen, with the biggest prizes ever. A $10,000 savings bond went to winner, who also recieved a trip to Disney World to present a $50,000 check in his name to Children’s Miracle Network. Five runners-up were each awarded $5,000 savings bonds and have $40,000 donations made in their honor to the Childrens Miracle Network. I believe these prizes stayed the same throughout the five years of the contest.
Soon after the purchase of Dubble Bubble, Concord did one of the most heroic things to ever happen. They somehow improved on Walter Deimer’s formula and Dubble Bubble started blowing even bigger bubbles. And with that the Golden Age was off and running!
In 1998 came what I consider the second biggest thing to happen to bubblegum ever, second only to Walter Diemer’s invention of bubblegum. This was the purchase of Dubble Bubble by Bruce Weiner’s Concord Confections, and what was to come next would be the ultimate proof of what the bubblegum greats had known since the days of Frank Fleer. It’s all about the big bubble. THe bigger the better!
In what must have been a crises situation for his business, Bruce Weiner began a company called Concord Confections to make gumballs for the gumball machines he was selling. Little did he know at the time that this move would one day launch one of bubblegum’s all time greatest stories.
Late September of 1979 saw the big bubble efforts of Walter Diemer finally really take off with the coming of a new bubble blowing sensation, Susan Mont”GUM”ery Williams, who laid claim to the Guinness World Record for the biggest bubblegum bubble at 19 1/4 inches. The bubble blowing technique she invented, of holding the bubble between her thumbs and forefingers, later to become known as the “Chewsy Suzy Cinch,” would rocket her to fame unequaled in bubblegum history.
In 1992 the Fleer Company and Dubble Bubble were sold to the Marvel Entertainment Group. This would have appeared to be a match made in bubblegum heaven, all the Marvel Super Heroes matched up with the Super Hero of bubblegum. It would take some more years though, and with another company, for Dubble Bubble to achieve Mega Hero status, though.
Nothing good last forever, and so the end came for Walter Diemer in 1998. He said “I’ve done something with my life. I’ve made kids happy around the world.” Mr. Diemer, it doesn’t get much more successful than that!
Around the early ’80′s came Bruce Weiner, who got his start in the bubblegum business by starting a company called the Continental Gum Company, which sold gumball machines for the home. Continental, at one point in it’s existence, found itself in crises when apparently it could not find gumballs for it’s machines, so it started it’s own company for making gumballs, called Concord Confections. This laid the groundwork for one of the most fabulously successful periods in bubblegum history.