Most of us have played Candy Land. The bright colors and candy-themed characters and locations are unforgettable. It’s the perfect game for young children, because there’s no counting or reading required. All kids have to do is understand colors and follow the rules. Hasbro, once Milton Bradley, owns the game, but they didn’t invent it. Who did?
Eleanor Abbott was a teacher and like many in the 1940’s, she suffered from polio. Legend has it that she was waiting in a hospital, surrounded by children with polio, and she couldn’t help but see how bored and sad the kids were. Wanting to create something fun for them, she came up with Candy Land. Her friends loved it, and so she sent the game to Milton Bradley. It came out in 1949.
While the game might have been successful regardless, the fact that a polio epidemic in struck the United States in the 1950’s definitely impacted Candy Land’s popularity. The best way to avoid the disease was to stay at home, away from people. There wasn’t much to do except break out the board games.
Characters have changed throughout the years. In 2002, Mamma Ginger Tree replaced Plumpy, a fuzzy green monster. In 2010, Mamma Ginger Tree was herself usurped by Cupcake Commons, while Jolly, a monster representing gumdrops, also vanished. People protested, and in 2013, he returned, but just a year later, he retired again. Mr. Mint, a woodcutter from Candycane Forest, was replaced by the Duke of Swirl. Since 2002, Queen Frostine has endured a demotion and become “Princess Frostine.” Lord Licorice remains the villain through all board variations.
In 2005, an animated Candy Land was released, and a new movie has supposedly been in the works since 2009. Adam Sandler was attached at one point. It looks like the most recent development was in 2014, when Landmark Entertainment Group, the creator of certain Candy Land game features, sued Hasbro. Their complaint was that Hasbro didn’t have the right to license the game to a movie studio. It looks like that case has yet to be resolved.