Have you ever wondered who invented the famous jelly bean candy Jelly Belly? Weird Al Yankovic thought it was the Easter Bunny, some think it was Ronald Reagan and the official Jelly Belly website simply states that it was a Los Angeles candy distributor. The forgotten hero who got the bean rolling was David Klein. He’s the wannabe Willy Wonka who invented one of the top selling confections of all time. It was the disco era of the 1970's and he appeared on national TV shows and in major newspapers and magazines promoting his unique flavored beans. Millions of dollars were on the horizon, but in the early 1980's he gave it all up.
This documentary directed by Costa Botes (Forgotten Silver) catches up with David Klein, where we get to meet the eccentric and sometimes quirky candy maker. We learn the true story behind his fall from Jelly Belly to his thirty-year climb back up the (hard rock) candy mountain and all the people he has helped along the way.
Candyman was released in 2010 and was recently released on DVD. I just viewed the film a few days ago and found a documentary that is compelling, entertaining and most of all full of heart. This doc. should be a must view for any entrepreneur or small time business person. A lot of lessons can be learned by watching David's journey. The most important lesson might not be about the money, but about the relationships that you make along the way.
I really enjoyed seeing some of the old footage of an uninhibited David wearing crazy outfits promoting his products. I respect anyone who is brave enough to wear a cape and mask in public trying to get his product noticed. He went all out for his beloved Jelly Bellies! Btw, check out this neato Jelly Belly cart from the late 1970's!
This film really clicked for me as I’ve always been interested in the origins and people behind pop culture food products. The first lady gets tired of hearing me say, “I wonder who invented this so-and-so?”, while we’re enjoying some sort of novelty food. Besides David, there’s a cast of other interesting people in the film. You get to meet David’s very patient and understanding family and friends along with a few Slugworth worthy people. Oh yeah and Weird Al Yankovic shows up for some candy talk too!
Now that I’ve seen Candyman, I can finally put a face on the inventor of Jelly Belly. It's nice to know that it’s a face with a big sweet tooth who enjoys sharing the love of candy.
Now go and view Candyman: The David Klein Story! DVD is available to purchase at IndiePix Films and can also be found at other online DVD sellers.
Click here for the official Candyman website and click here for a interview with David and the filmmakers.
Candyman was produced by Bert and Jennifer Klein of Picnic Productions. Two accomplished filmmakers/animators and David's son and daughter-in-law. Here's their YouTube channel.
Check out David and his daughter's candy creation Sandy Candy.