“Candyman: The David Klein Story”, Jelly Belly Inventor’s Documentary
David Klein was the remarkable inventor of the much-loved Jelly Belly jellybean. It started in 1976 when he owned a little Covina candy factory. After 4 years, he was known as Mr. Jelly Belly, but that’s when he reluctantly accepted a buyout from his manufacturer. His signature and name have since been removed from the website.
Documentary film “Candyman: The David Klein Story”, produced by Klein’s son, chronicles his involvement in the legendary candy that is now sold all over the world.
Part of Klein’s charm and success resulted from frequently giving things away, such as on his birthday, he would give free ice cream to all the neighbourhood children.
Herman Goelitz Candy Co., the Jelly Belly manufacturer, presented Klein with a hostile buyout offer with no attorneys present. Klein and his company partner signed the deal to receive $20,000 payments per month for 20 years (more than $4 million)
The Jelly Belly Co., now known as Goelitz (since 2001) understandably has a different take on what happened.
Jelly Belly spokeswoman Tomi Holt said, “It’s a great American success story… He’s a very creative person, and came up with a wonderful name that stood the test of time.” Holt said the Jelly Belly’s California plant acknowledge and celebrates him. As well, he is mentioned in public tours and his name is mentioned in the gift shop’s jelly bean book.
Can You Imagine That!, Klein’s new company, creates sand art candy (via his daughter Roxi) and novelty candy such as the heart in the attached picture, that bleeds red syrup.
Watch out though Goelitz. Klein is working on a new jelly bean, now that the 20-year non-competition contract has expired. “I’m going to give them a fight for their money,” said Klein, “Let the consumers decide which is a better product.”
The documentary itself changed Klein’s opinions though and gave him new hope, “I’m not bitter anymore, but I was.”