Whoever came up with the idea for Whistle Pops took the concept of making sweet music a little too literally – not that we’re complaining!
Whistle Pops were hugely popular in the 1980s although I believe that they have been around since the mid 1970s. These take me right back to when I was a child. Sis and I couldn’t walk past a sweet shop without dragging in whoever it was who had the misfortune of taking us out for the day and making them buy us one of these ingenious lollipops that were moulded into the shape of a whistle. This differed greatly in shape to regular lollipops – and kids love anything that’s a bit of a novelty! They came in a range of fruit flavours as well as cola, and my favourite, chocolate and vanilla.
However, it wasn’t just the shape that was clever. It was an actual instrument. OK, so you were never going to find music teachers listed in the Yellow Pages offering lessons in how to play a Whistle Pop. But instead of being a one note whistle, the lollies had a hollow straw for the stick and there was a thin, sliding plunger that enabled you to change the pitch of the whistle. Furthermore, the wrapper had sheet music on the inside so you could play something really simple like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or Old MacDonald. Sadly though, manufacturers never thought to include the musical notation for Bohemian Rhapsody or Hotel California. Funny that!
Apparently they worked really well but for reasons I cannot understand, Sis and I were never able to complete a whole tune because we would always break our whistles! Other people remember the whistle effect naturally diminishing as the top of the lolly started to dissolve. Others remember how much saliva used to collect in the whistle. Lovely!
From what I understand, Whistle Pops are still being produced and sold in the UK although I cannot recall the last time I saw one of these. I know that they can be purchased over the internet but I can’t remember seeing them on shop shelves in recent times. I’m sure if they were as readily available as they were when I was a kid then I would have heard them even if I hadn’t seen them as there would definitely be a new generation of kids determined to drive as many adults up the wall as we tried to do with our ever so tuneful playing!