There was a time when playing a board game was your only option to pass the time. Say, when it was raining outside and the only two channels on TV weren’t getting good reception-meaning the video and audio looked a lot like they do in that scene from Poltergeist when the little girl sits in front of the static-y screen and says in a creepy sing-song, “They’re here”. There was “literally” nothing on TV. I remember my mom would sit down at our coffee table and ask me, “What game do you want to play?” We were so poor there were only two games to choose from, but my answer was always, “Candy Land!”
It was Eleanor Abbott who designed the game in 1945 while recovering from polio-you remember polio, right? Milton Bradley bought Candy Land and first released it 1949. “Due to the design of the game, there is no strategy involved -players are never required to make choices, just follow directions. A “winner” is predetermined only by the shuffle of the cards.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candy_Land)
Sounds like some religions I know.
“The race is woven around a storyline about finding the lost king of Candy Land.” (Wikipedia)
Hold on! I’m obviously behind the times in Candy Land. There’s a story line? And a king? I thought the only objective was to get to the end of the board first, making sure to hit all the “sweet” spots and (in my little kid brain) amassing as much candy as I could carry. Now I have to worry about finding a lost king? Evidently my playing style had been influenced by the belief that Candy Land had more of a laissez-faire economy. I go for a more Capitalist approach-only out for myself and how much I can get. For me, Candy Land had always been an anarchist free for all. You go in and plunder, taking what you want, leaving what you don’t.
The first three versions of Candy Land only had locations. It wasn’t until the 80s that characters were added-Gramma Nutt, Plumpy, and Mr. Mint. It also saw the birth of the Candy Land aristocracy with the personages of Queen Frostine, Princess Lolly and Lord Licorice.
The introduction of characters raises all sorts of questions about the political and economic climate of Candy Land: Who are these people and where did they come from? Who gave them their authority-was it an earned promotion or merely a birthright? Do they own the candy in their district or just oversee it? Who decides how, when and to whom the candy is distributed? But the real question is . . . how are you supposed to feel free to plunder Candy Land when an authority figure is looking over your shoulder?
“Start down the ‘magical’ road to ‘sweet’ surprises! This adorable version of the classic CANDY LAND game features the colored cards and fun illustrations that kids love, with different ‘destinations’ like Cupcake Commons and the chunky Chocolate Mountains. Choose your cards, move your pawn and let your imagination soar as you make your way to the castle to win!” (Hasbro.com)
Thank heavens they never went all “granola” in the 1970s with a healthy alternative edition. Can you imagine carob covered raisins in Candy Land? Having to wade through “Trail Mix River” with all those nuts and seeds and only scant portions of chocolate chips?
Candy Land got another makeover in 2002. For instance, Molasses Swamp was changed to Chocolate Swamp (which makes sense since molasses hasn’t been considered “candy” since the days of Laura Ingalls), Queen Frostine was demoted to Princess Frostine, Princess Lolly became Lolly, and Plumpy got the axe.
Candy Land, the movie!
The thought of making a movie out of a most beloved board game brings up so many conflicting emotions. I want to laugh a little, cry a little, get angry, maybe vomit. I also want to say simply, “why”?
Originally, the idea was to use it as a vehicle for Adam Sandler as a Lord of The Rings type, except with a sh!t load of candy — complete with epic battle scenes. “We are going for real comedy, real action, and real emotions at stake.”
How is this going to play out? Will it make kids afraid of candy? Will the candy come to life and be attacking them? Will they have to face challenges as they navigate the treacherous candy landscape? Like nearly drowning in Chocolate Swamp? Almost crushed to death by a gumdrop avalanche? (pronounced ‘avalahnsh’)
The latest is that they’re abandoning the candy epic with a “darker vision” idea and rewriting it along the lines of Bedtime Stories…but with more candy. So, presumably Adam Sandler will play the father or uncle who is somehow sucked into the Candy Land board game with some kids Jumanji style but with less plot? I only hope he doesn’t end up playing all the characters like Tom Hanks did in that creepy Polar Express movie. (pause for shiver down the spine). I think we can all imagine exactly what his Gramma Nutt character will be like, and his Lord Licorice. Spare us, please!
What are your thoughts on a Candy Land movie? I’d love to hear your funny/clever ideas for new Candy Land geography. Any other board games you think would be great movies?