The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, just released a review of movie theater treats showing that a medium popcorn and medium soft drink has 1,200 calories, 60 grams of saturated fat and 980 milligrams of sodium. That, says the Chicago Tribune, is the nutritional equivalent of three Quarter Pounder hamburgers topped with 12 pats of butter.
And yet, Americans consume 16 billion quarts of popped popcorn annually or 52 quarts per man, woman and child, according to the Popcorn Board, and 30 percent of that is eaten outside the home.
But it wasn't always the favored treat of moviegoers. A 1947 New York Times article asked "Is popcorn here to stay? That's the $64 question being bounced back and forth by the nation's motion picture operators at the moment."
Popcorn sales, the article reported, had reached astronomical proportions at the movies, with some theater owners reporting larger profits from popcorn sales than from movie tickets. But the treat was not without its opponents.
The popping of corn in theatres is a ticklish undertaking, since the poppers give off considerable odor and, of course, a lot of folks are sensitive to the smell of hot cottonseed oil.
Some theatre men hold popcorn will eventually drive more people out of movie houses than Hollywood's best pictures will be able to drag in. Already there are signs of revolt. Loew's houses in St. Louis have banned popcorn in recent weeks and in Kansas and Indianapolis some theatres have instituted checking services for patrons bringing packages of corn.