Victor Blevins, who liked to be known as "the
Popcorn King" began to market his own version of
popcorn to movie and grocery chains in the 1940s.
Blevins was originally from Birmingham, Alabama, and worked
for the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. He moved to
go into business as a food broker. It was at that brokerage
house that he realized how demand for popcorn was surging
movie audiences and that it was in short supply. Seizing on
the opportunity, he founded the Blevins Popcorn Company
in 1945. He was able to offer a fluffier, tastier hybrid corn
that proved highly successful, especially because concessionaires
more bulk for every ounce of popping kernels.
For a starter, Blevins signed on a Tennessee movie chain
to become its sole popcorn supplier. His enterprise branched
its product beyond Tennessee and started selling it in ready-to-pop
packaging. He also concocted a buttery but low-fat seasoning
in the company kitchen. He introduced popcorn to the baseball
of Japan, a venture that he sold to Frito-Lay in 1952.
Mindful that a good hype cannot hurt in business, he dubbed
the company's headquarters Popcorn Village and called himself
the mayor of Popcorn Village or, trumping that, the Popcorn
King. In 1948, he introduced a rather unscientific popcorn
nonetheless shamed some professionals by predicting Harry
S. Truman's presidential victory in November. The poll
accurately called six
presidential elections altogether.