Most of us are probably familiar with the game of Candyland – that sugary trek on a colorful path to the ultimate sugar rush castle! Thanks to a tip from a friend, I learned the backstory.
The game was invented in 1948 by a (retired) school teacher, Eleanor Abbott, while she was recovering from polio. She created it to entertain children who were also sick in the hospital with polio, and it was such a hit that they suggested she submit it to Milton Bradley. Rumor has it that her artwork may have been used for the original game – although I did not find that to be confirmed anywhere.
Milton Bradley bought the game and produced it as a temporary fill-in in 1949. Their primary product was school supplies. But the game became an instant hit, – outselling their previous best-selling game and making them a competitor with the Parker Brothers.
The game itself has seen a few changes over the years. The original version had black dots that left you stuck until you got the same color you were on again. A more recent version just has you lose a turn. In 2013, the game was made with a spinner instead of all the cards. There are even electronic versions of the game!
One of the first disputes over an internet domain name rose over candyland.com. An “adult content” provider registered the name and Hasbro (who had bought out Milton Bradley) objected to the intended use. Hasbro was able to keep the site from being used to distribute adult content.
If you have children during this pandemic, I am sure you can understand the need to entertain children. Thanks to Eleanor Abbott and Milton Bradley, children have been drooling over the candy castle and competing to arrive first for over 70 years!