Dispatch From Disneyland
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Note: This column continues the series of the little things that inspired Walt to create Disneyland. This is the 100th year of Walt Disneys birth and I wanted to pay tribute in my own fanciful way to possible events in Walts life that might have inspired him when building Disneyland. In this column we look at The Candy Palace down on Main Street.
Its a bright day in the life of a child when he gets to go to the candy store. So when one mother decided to give her older son ten cents to buy some candy for himself, his younger brother, and his brothers friend, there was a fair deal of jumping around before she could woosh them out of the house and enjoy some valuable time by herself.
To get to the candy shop the boys would have to walk a whole four blocks down to the opposite end of Main Street. That was a fair amount of temptation for a boy that had ten cents in his pocket.
For instance, he could ditch the two younger kids and sneak into the cinema. Charlie Chaplins latest movie was headlining and he hadnt had a chance to see it yet. However, he knew Chaplin was his little brothers favorite star and it would surely get back to Mom if he saw it without him.
"Hey Runt," he said. "Look whos at the cinema. Maybe we can ask Mom for some money to go tomorrow after our chores."
"Wow. Roy. That would be swell," his brother replied, although knowing hed probably have to spend his own money if he wanted to see his celluloid hero.
Just past the cinema was the local bakery. The mouth-watering aroma of fresh baked bread still permeated the air. Even though most of the shelves were bare by the early afternoon the smell lingered on like a permanent advertisement to bring people back.
They made it safely past the bakery only to encounter Ed and Fritz sitting outside the General Store. An old apple barrel served as a table upon which lay a hand-painted checkers board. The two men used small rounds of wood with red and black dots on them as game pieces. As usual Ed was losing, but was having a good time doing so.
Roy liked to stop here and listen to the old mens off color jokes. Hed try a few of the cleaner ones out on his old man each night before bed. What Roy didnt know was that his younger brother had heard and repeated the same jokes to their father a few minutes earlier in his bedroom.
Jokes werent the objective of todays lion hunt. No, the young friends had sugar on the brain. Grabbing an arm each they pulled Roy onward to the candy store. There the sweet smell of molasses and vanilla wafted out the doors efficiently grabbing each boy by the tastebuds and drawing him into the shop.
The interior of the candy shop was something of a dream come true for the boys. Large glass jars rested high above on thick wood shelving. Each jar was full with a different variety of gumball, sweet stick, or jelly treat. Chocolate bars, some imported all the way from France, were lined up in boxes beneath a long glass counter. Sweet bonbons that tantalized the senses sat in stacks just inches away from the nose, but behind glass safe from all the grubby little hands--as evidenced by all the fingerprints at child height.
Dan the candy man was in his open kitchen stirring up his latest confection concoction. Countywide Dan was famous for his ability to create nearly any taste one could think for his gumballs. In fact, he had won nearly every prize for confections at the fair last year.
Dan was not a small man, as you would imagine for someone who is tempted by treats in 360 degrees all day long. Just Dans arms, made thick by incessant stirring of his copper candy pot, were wider than any of the boys waists. A huge white apron covered the sizable girth of his belly and protected his uniform of white pants and red and white striped shirt from unextractable stains.
Dan saw the boys enter and wiped his hands across the apron. This left large green streaks that smelled faintly of green apple. Older and fainter stains of brown chocolate, pink peppermint, and other colors reminded the boys of previous days pleasures.
"Whatcha making today, Dan?" asked Roy.
"What does it smell like, boys?" Dan replied sweetly.
"Apples" ... "Rhubarb" ... "Strawberries" ... "Sweet Pie!" ventured the boys.
"All good guesses," Dan said. "Im stirring up crock of Apple-Rhubarb Pie Gumballs. Its a new flavor!"
Roy and his brother looked at each other and rubbed their tummies. "Yum... Sounds good." Said the younger brother, Walt.
Walts friend John, however, was looking a little green in the cheeks. "I dont really like Rhubarb. Im sorry Mr. Candyman, Sir."
"You never know. You might like it. If you come back tomorrow morning on your way to school, Ill let you test a sample for free," said Dan. Noticing the lack of parents with the children he continued, "Meanwhile, is there anything I can help you with today?"
Roy held the ten cents in his hand and thought about how he could split it up evenly. He could get three penny candies for each of the boys and then two jawbreakers for himself. Or he could buy two chocolate bars and divide them evenly. Or he could just ask for a ten cent mix of gumballs and then let the boys fight over who got which flavors. So many choices, Roy thought.
"How much can we get for ten cents?" Walt disrupted Roys train of thought.
Walt was way ahead of his brother. He knew that his share of three cents wasnt enough to get his favorite nickel chocolate bar. And he knew that Roy didnt like chocolate. So he bargained with Dan. "How about four jawbreakers and a chocolate bar?"
Dan knew Walts game, but played along. "I can do four jawbreakers and two chocolate bonbons."
"Two jawbreakers, three penny candies, and a chocolate bar? Plus Ill draw a picture of you."
"Okay this time. But next time I wont be so easy," Dan said with a wink.
Dan quickly gathered the goodies and handed them in a bag to Roy. By the time the boys were out the door, he was back to mixing his gooey pot of Apple-Rhubarb Pie.
It was a tough walk back to the farm. Roy held the bag of candy and wouldnt let the boys have even a sniff until they returned home. By the time they had told Mom they were back and washed their hands, their mouths were watering for some sweet sugar.
Their mother didnt want dirty fingers messing up the house, so they sat on the porch and dreamed about what they would be when they grew up.
"I want to be a candymaker," said John. "I could make all my favorite flavors of gumballs and never have to pay a red cent for them."
Roy repeated his oft told dream of owning a general store in a big city. "Well John, if you make good candy, I promise to buy some from you and sell it in my store."
Finally, it was Walts turn. "I want to make people laugh and be happy. Just like Charlie Chaplin."
"Well," Roy said. "You certainly seem capable of doing anything you put your mind to. Im sure youll be even bigger than The Little Tramp someday."
Dispatch from Disneyland: Memories and fantasies woven together to create whimsical tales that can happen any day at Walt Disney's magic kingdom. Through Indigo's dispatch you can experience some of the wonderful moments that make Disneyland such a magical place.
Dispatch from Disneyland is posted on the first Wednesday of each month.
The opinions expressed by our Indigo, and all of our columnists, do not necessarily represent the feelings of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the future plans of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.
-- Posted April 6, 2001