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A Bittersweet Look At The 'Jelly Belly' Buyout

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Photo by Jonathan Assink via Flickr
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In 1976, Covina resident David Klein was known as Mr. Jelly Belly until a takeover in 1980 forced Klein to reluctantly accept a buyout from his manufacturer. His signature was removed from Jelly Belly packaging and his name removed from the company. "After that, Klein stopped telling strangers about his past because nobody would believe him," says the Pasadena Star-News.

A documentary about Klein and his gourmet jelly beans debuted last year giving the food stuffs inventor the credit he felt was missing, reports the Pasadena Star-News. Produced by Klein's son and directed by a New Zealand filmmaker "Candyman: The David Klein Story" -- now available on DVD and in rotation on the Documentary Channel -- chronicles Klein's inspiration for the naturally flavored jelly beans, his start at Fosselman's Ice Cream parlor in Alhambra, and his savvy marketing approach that garnered nationwide attention for the company.

Currently, Klein's company Can You Imagine That! develops sand art candy and other novelty items like "an anatomically correct gummi heart that bleeds red syrup. With a 20-year noncompetitive agreement long expired, Klein is even working on a new jelly bean," reports the Pasadena Star-News. About going up against Jelly Belly, Klein responded, "I'm going to give them a fight for their money."