The John A. Paris Collection

Realizing the lack of inexpensive bubblegum on the market, 27-year-old Andrew J. Paris seized the opportunity and began the Paris Gum Corporation of America in 1946. He opened his factory in McAllen in 1947, mass producing his gum and coining the idea of blowing bubbles with your chewing gum. He sold his gum in 5-cent packs that could be broken into six pieces and in individual, 1-cent sticks. Paris let the public know that the chewing gum shortage was over by pulling publicity stunts such as dropping 5,000,000 sticks of gum at South Water Market in Chicago. Paris Bubblegum was a smash hit, and overnight Andy Paris became known as The Bubblegum King; within 16 months he had made himself a millionaire. Paris was an international figure of the late 1940s; he was not only a hero to gum-chewing children everywhere, but was also interviewed and photographed often in Hollywood and socialized with celebrities. Due to the international success of his bubblegum and his 13 gum factories in Mexico, Paris fell under the suspicions of the Cold War-era American government. His fame and fortune diminished quickly as he was repeatedly questioned, audited, and fined by the government. Although Paris Bubblegum was at one time a popular sensation, it has largely been forgotten in the public memory.

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Vacation-Land de Amigos
1960s promotional film for the US-Mexican border region, providing a tour of the area’s attractions and f...
The John A. Paris Collection, no. 2 - Wedding, 1947
Home movie scenes of the Paris family celebrating a wedding in 1947
The John A. Paris Collection, no. 1 - Bubble Gum Factory Opening, 1947
Home movie scenes of the opening of The Paris Gum Corporation of America’s bubblegum factory in MacAllen,...