08 Dec 2010, Posted by admin in MEET, 3 Comments
The documentary Candyman tells the story of David Klein, “an eccentric candy inventor from L.A. (Covina), who in 1976 had a once in a lifetime epiphany and came up with the concept of Jelly Belly jellybeans.” Or so we are told in the website promo. But watch the trailer, and suddenly that description doesn’t feel like the typical publicist’s aggrandizement. It’s hard not to get caught up in Klein’s truly quirky persona during that two minute teaser — that Weird Al Yankovic makes a cameo appearance comes across as somewhat blatantly apropos. But also pretty darn hilarious.
According to the film, Klein came up with the idea for a filled jelly bean in 1976. He hired the Herman Goelitz Candy Company to make the beans and got off to a slow sales start in ice cream parlors and candy shops. But by the early 1980s, the Jelly Belly brand was on its way to becoming a national household name (with sales well over $1 billion per year today). The Herman Goelitz-turned-Jelly Belly corporation tells a different story.
Of course there wouldn’t be a really great documentary story without a tragic, or at least multiple roadblocks ending. Klein sold the trademark for the Jelly Belly label for all of $1,000 just before the business exploded. The promo materials says Klein “has struggled with bitter regrets ever since.” Um, ya. No kidding.
That part about Klein being an eccentric character is more than apparent in the trailer and makes for potentially good viewing when the film is released on DVD on January 11, 2011 (after making the film festival rounds in 2010). No doubt that little matter of search engine optimization has got to be irritating to Klein as well. Type in “Jelly Belly” and you get 4,391 results on Amazon (you can get it here). Ah, just another day in a saccharine-sweet candy making life.
The Candyman, a documentary about David Klein, the inventor of the Jelly Belly. www.candymanfilm.com