how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Boy: Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Mr. Owl: Let's find out. A One... A.two-HOO...A three..
(crunch sound effect)
Mr. Owl: A Three!

This bothered me immensely when I was a child. Granted the narrator tacitly acknowledges that Mr. Owl didn't really answer the question, but I wanted to see him tarred and feathered (or tarred and skinned? He's a bird, so he's already feathered) and exposed for the fraud he is.

But to answer the question, here's Wikipedia:

Three independent research studies have been carried out to determine the answer. Engineering students at Purdue University devised a "licking machine" that showed an average of 364 licks are needed to get to the center. Using 20 human volunteers, the figure was 252. A doctoral student at the University of Michigan created another licking machine and came up with an average of 411 licks.