First airing in 1972, the popular commercial would be in regular rotation for more than twelve years, ending up as one of the longest continuously running commercial campaigns ever aired.
A few years after the commercial appeared, a false urban legend spread that the actor who had played Little Mikey had died after eating an unexpectedly lethal combination of Pop Rocks (a type of carbonated hard candy) and a carbonated soft drink, which caused his stomach to inflate with carbon dioxide. However, the legend is false, as Gilchrist lived into adulthood and Pop Rocks contain less carbon dioxide than half a can of such soft drinks. A Mythbusters exploration of the legend in detail debunked the story, adding that the show had tried to contact John Gilchrist, but he did not return their calls.
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