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'Rowdy' Roddy Piper turns movie role into soft drink

Rocket Fizz unveils bubblegum-flavored elixir with help from professional wrestler

Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: LACEY JACOBY - Elijah Fenner, 8, of Portland poses with Rowdy Roddy Piper at Rocket Fizz soda shop on Saturday. Piper posed for pictures and signed bottles of his new Rowdy Roddy Pipers All Out Of Bubblegum flavored soda.It’s not often that fans of professional wrestling, novelty soft drinks and science fiction converge on one place, but Saturday’s event at Progress Ridge was just the ticket.

Roderick Toombs, better known as professional wrestler 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper, stopped by Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop to unveil his new bubblegum-flavored soda.

Selling everything from bacon-flavored candies to novelty accessories, Rocket Fizz is known for its off-the-wall candy and soda flavors. Piper said he was approached several months ago by the company to develop a product using his likeness.

“It’s a really cool little store,” said Piper, who lives in Hillsboro.

Piper starred in the 1988 science fiction film “They Live,” about a race of aliens who enslave humanity through subliminal messaging.

The film quickly became a cult classic, as has Piper’s line: “I came here to chew bubblegum and kick (butt), and I’m all out of bubblegum.”

Piper said he wanted his own brand of bubblegum based on “They Live.”

“I met with (Rocket Fizz executives), and they were really nice guys,” Piper said. “I asked them, ‘Have you ever heard of a movie called “They Live?’” and they hadn’t. I told them, ‘Go watch the movie and see if you want to launch a bubble gum.’”

The result is “Rowdy Roddy Piper's All Out Of Bubblegum soda,” which is sold at Rocket Fizz stores across the country.

Co-owner of the Progress Ridge store, Kristin Allen said that many people drove from all over the area the meet Piper.

“It was so much fun and it was much more attended than we even thought it would be,” she said. “We drew in quite the crowd. It was fun to see the variety of people and how excited everybody was.”

Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: LACEY JACOBY - Roddy Piper signs John Nordykes arm at Rocket Fizz in Progress Ridge. Nordyke, a fan of 30 years who drove from Corvallis to see Piper, plans to turn the signature into a tattoo.

Piper admits a bubblegum-flavored soft drink might seem odd at first, but said he swears by the bright pink elixir.

“It’s not just good, it’s delicious,” he said. “I’ve drank three cases so far, and there are 14 bottles in each case.”

The soda has also proved to be a big seller for the shop, Allen said.

“It has been a huge seller, though that might be because there is so much local recognition of him,” Allen said. “Everybody knows who he is. Family of his or friends will come and buy full cases of it. Everyone, including my husband, grew up watching him and they all come in and buy a case just to try it out and hand it out at parties.”

After more than two decades, Piper said “They Live” still plays a prominent role in his life. It’s no secret why the movie has continued to resonate with people, Piper said. With its message about consumerism and mass media, it’s more relevant than ever.

“I don’t think of it as a movie, I think of it as a documentary now,” Piper said. “Look around you. People use ‘They Live’ as a boiler plate for what’s happening in the world. That’s how serious it’s being taken. I don’t even think it’s a cult thing anymore. It’s a revolution.”

Piper’s soda is one of several released under Rocket Fizz’s “Soda Pop Label’s of Fame” line of products, including soft drinks featuring reality show star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and musician and actor Gene Autry.

As a pro-wrestler, Piper is no stranger to merchandising. In 2007, he was turned into a G.I. Joe action figure, and earlier this year was made into a a comic book superhero through Portland’s Grind House Comics.

Rocket Fizz is located at Progress Ridge, 12345 S.W. Horizon Blvd., in Beaverton.

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