Category Archives: Guest Bar

Guest Bar: Alexander Luft on PayDay



[Ed. note: Alexander Luft is an umpteen-time published writer who has espoused on the human form as it relates to Scrabble, Jeopardy and people. Together, we have been involved in kidnappings, weddings and press releases. His dog loves and fears me.]

I’d like to write about what candy means to us. I want to write about the distance between our lives as we live them and our lives as we’d imagine them.

Or maybe I really just want to write about PayDay.

The peanut-encrusted treat was developed in 1932 by the Hollywood Candy Company, which was based in the other Hollywood, the one in Carver County, Minneapolis. These were the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt vs. Herbert Hoover. These were the days at the outset of the Depression. The American Gross National Product had fallen 31 percent since Black Tuesday.

Ever optimistic, the men of the Hollywood Candy Company perfected the recipe for a bar of nougat and salted peanuts. This bar, they might have believed, would change things. It had sweetness, it had crunch. It had everything except for a name.

According to legend, the men of Hollywood Candy were at a loss for the name. Then one of them remarked that at least it was pay day at the company. These were the worst years, economically speaking, of our history. In 1932, the U.S. unemployment rate topped 23 percent.

Over 13 million Americans had lost their jobs since the beginning of the financial crisis. The Hollywood men named their bar PayDay.

Back then, that candy, that name, was perhaps the one thing that most of us wanted. And yet how many saw a PayDay in a candy shop and reached into their pockets, felt nothing there, and had to just imagine how it tasted? Could there have been anything quite as sweet as a PayDay? Continue reading

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