Friday, February 17, 2006

 

Would You Like a Movie With That Candy?

When you were younger, did you have a favortie "movie" candy -- you know, the kind of candy, it seemed, you could only buy at the concession stand of your local movie theater? Mine was Goobers. The sweetness of the chocolate-covered peanuts nicely offset the salty flavor of the popcorn. As a child, the candy stand in a movie theater lobby was a somehow a different world from the local candy store in town. Goobers. Raisinets. Sno-Caps. Ju-Ju Bees. Dots. Sugar Babies. Milk Duds. All seemed to only be available at the movies. This, of course, was in the days before theaters actually started selling chicken fingers, hamburgers, fries and nachos. (I remember standing in line, two years ago, and watching someone litterally buy dinner for his entire family at the concession stand.) But when I was young, there was none of that. Sure, some theaters had hot dogs; some even had ice cream Bon Bons. But that was it. Aside from the popcorn, this special brand of "movie" candy was what you had to look forward to. A couple of years back, the Food Network program Unwrapped even dedicated an entire episode to movie candy. It showed how Dots and Junior Mints and Twizzlers are made; how Mike & Ike got its name; and what's in a Whopper (the small, chocolate covered malt balls, not the sandwich from Burger King). Let's face it, movie candy has become part of our popular culture. For some, it creates nostalgic thoughts of trips to the theater. Still others imagine how a theater can charge so much these sweets today, and, more importantly, why folks are actually willing to pay so much to buy it. Four years ago, theater owner Howard Edelman, proprietor of Movieland Cinemas, an independent string of cinemas in the Long Island, NY-area was quoted on CNN as saying, "If you didn't have concessions at a movie theater, there would be no movie theater. We have movies just to get people in to buy popcorn and candy, [that's] where we make our money." So, will our children have the same fond memories of movie candy when they grow up? Or, are we the last generation of movie candy lovers?

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