October 25, 2009
From John Carpenter’s 1979 movie “The Fog”:
Stevie Wayne: “Good morning, Andrew. Did you have a nice time last night?”
Andrew: “Yeah. Old Mr. Machen told us ghost stories.”
Stevie Wayne: “Did you thank Mrs. Kobritz for bringing you home?”
Andrew: “Yes, ma’am. Mom, can I have a stomach pounder and a Coke?”
Stevie Wayne: “After lunch.”
So what exactly is a stomach pounder?
Every once in awhile you run across a reference to some type of food and you ask yourself what it is. So you go get a cookbook, or you call up your mom, or you go to the internet and you get the recipe.
But nobody knows what the heck is being referenced in John Carpenter’s movie. A stomach pounder. Sounds yummy, huh? It sounds like some thick, meaty type of food that would bust your gut, like a cheeseburger or lasagna. In fact, if you try to look it up on the internet that is what some folks think it is.
But that wouldn’t make sense.
Why would Andrew want anything of substance after lunch? Wouldn’t he be full after lunch? A Coke would go down good after lunch. So would a stomach pounder, apparently. A Coke is sweet. People eat sweet things after meals. So rather than something of substance, wouldn’t it make sense that a stomach pounder is something sweet?
The movie is from 1979. A candy was introduced in 1975 and then pulled from the shelves in 1983. The candy fizzed and popped in your mouth as it mixed with your saliva. Rumors persisted during that time that eating it while drinking a coke would cause your stomach to explode. In fact, it soon became legendary to causing the death of famous Life cereal commercial spokes-child, Little Mikey.
Wrong. The actor who played Little Mikey is alive. And the explosive confection was not pulled from the shelves because it busted people’s guts open and killed them. It didn’t. It is the same nonsense about not throwing rice at weddings because birds will eat it, drink water, and die from the expanding rice. It is an Urban Legend.
The candy was pulled from the shelves because of poor shelf life. Due of its popularity, it was being re-sold and unauthorized redistribution caused out-of-date product to reach consumers. So what was this volatile treat?
A kid from 1979 would likely have Pop Rocks and a Coke after lunch. The term “stomach pounder” served as a colloquialism to add flavor to the script, in addition to referencing the myth surrounding the candy’s gastronomical effects. Mystery solved.
Thanks go to my wife, Shandell, for figuring this out.