Dolly Parton sang about in it Hard Candy Christmas. Everybody has either sucked on it or
gotten it stuck between teeth. Hard Candy - Candy Canes. It's a tradition and big business.
Everyone knows it's Santa's Elves that make the Candy Canes but Santa subcontracted out some
of the work to Bob's Candy Factory in Albany, Ga, which is the largest candy cane factory in the
world, making four-and-a-half million candy canes a day. The company made so many candy
canes in 1996 that, if placed end to end, they would have stretched around the world three
Bob McCormack Sr., started the company in 1919 with five employees. Third generations
McCormacks continue to run Bobs Candies, which employs 650 people to make candy using
105,000 pounds of sugar and 72,000 pounds of corn syrup a day.
Of all the beautiful traditions of this season, few are as ancient in meaning and so rich in
symbolism as the Candy Cane.
Christmas tree decorations in Europe from which our tradition comes, were customarily made of
food - principally cookies and candy. This symbolically expressed thanks for "our daily bread,"
as well as providing a Christmas treat for the children. The shepherd's crook symbolized the
humble shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem. Thus, that crook became the candy
In America about 1847, August Imgard of Ohio managed to decorate his Christmas tree with
candy canes to entertain his nephews and nieces. Many who saw his canes went home to boil
sugar and experiment with canes of their own. It took nearly another half century before someone
added stripes to the canes. Christmas cards produced before 1900 show plain white canes, while
striped ones appear on many cards printed early in the 20th century.
Straight, white sticks of sugar candy came into use at Christmas, probably during the seventeenth
century. Tradition has it that some of these candies were put to use in Cologne Cathedral about
1670 while restless youngsters were attending ceremonies around the living creche. To keep them
quiet, the choirmaster persuaded craftsmen to make sticks of candy bent at the end to represent
shepherds' crooks, then he passed them out to boys and girls who came to the cathedral.
As time went by, many ornaments took on a more permanent nature, but the Candy Cane retains
the original use and meaning of Christmas Tree ornaments.
Candy Canes on the Christmas tree symbolize the Shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem. They
area also a sign of thanks for the food that has been given us all during the year, and not least of
all; are an inexpensive treat- hence no matter how poor - a family could always enjoy "a hard
candy Christmas." Candy canes are also necessary for snowmen to twirl.
Sugar and corn syrup, are brought to the factory by railcar. The blended ingredients are cooked
in continuous cookers at the rate of 6,000 pounds per hour. Then 100-pound batches of syrup are
poured off to be worked. The syrup is poured onto a water-cooled table, which is still called a
"rock" for the marble slab that candy was once cooled upon.
The next step is to lift a slightly cooled and stiffened batch onto the pulling machine. While the
pulling machine pulls air into the candy until it is silky-white, a worker pours a pre-measured vial
of 100% pure, triple-distilled peppermint oil into the batch.
Then the pinstripes are added. Red coloring is kneaded into a small batch of unpulled candy. This
red mass is destined to become the distinctive pinstripes in candy canes. Then the stripes are
placed. The pliable red-colored candy is made into long thin stripes which are place onto a
six-inch wide strip of white candy.
Next the candy batch is formed into a bolster shape and two sets of pinstripes and two wide
solid stripes are placed on it. Then it is stretched and spun into the candy cane shape. Finally it is
"waxed down" as it passed through the spinner.
A close eye is kept on the candy after it is lifted into a "batch roller," which helps the candy
maintain its round shape as it is pulled between sizing rollers. The candy rope is conveyed into
the wrap-pack room, where it is twisted, cut and wrapped. The still-flexible sticks are then
dropped into the "bender," where they get their characteristic crooks. After a ride through
air-cooled conveyor tunnels, the candy canes are firm enough for packers to snap into
protective cradle packs. These packs, or trays, are overwrapped in film and cased and stored in a
giant climate-controlled warehouses until the Christmas selling season.
As for Dolly Parton her "hard candy Christmas" is a cash cow. Her Dollywood theme park is
thriving - in the Christmas spirit through Dec. 30th. Dolly's own Tennessee Mountain Christmas
Benefit Concerts last week were sold out.
Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright have been married to each other for 63 years - touring together
since 1941 and it was Wells who changed the course of country music history with her recording
of It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels, becoming the biggest female star of her
They have been on a year long farewell tour and on New Year's Eve they give their final
Kitty Wells, the dubbed Queen of Country Music, was born Ellen Muriel Deason, in Nashville,
Tennessee on August 30, 1919. One of six children, her family moved to Humphries County, but
they returned to Nashville in 1928. Her father was a brakeman for the Tennessee Central Railroad
and he played guitar and sang at local events. She grew up singing along with country music on
the radio and also in the church choir, along the way learning to play the instrument. When she
was fifteen, she, too, was playing music at local dances. In 1934, she left school and went to
work in a nearby shirt factory.
But not for long
In 1935, Kitty joined her sisters Mae and Jewel along with her cousin Bessie Choate, forming the
group known as the Deason sisters. They appeared on an early morning radio station in Nashville,
WSIX in 1936.
1937, Kitty married Johnny Wright , also a legend in Country Music. He was part of the famous
duo Johnny and Jack. Jack Anglin, Johnny's duet partner was married to Johnny's sister,
They began a career in country entertainment that has spanned over 60 years and produced three
children Ruby, Bobby and Sue. There are also 8 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Kitty was given the moniker Kitty Wells, by her husband in 1943. He got the name from the old
folk ballad recorded by the Pickard Family, entitled Sweet Kitty Wells
Always a homebody, Kitty was about to quit show biz and stay at home with her three children,
when Paul Cohen, then A&R for Decca Records, gave her a call. He was looking for a female
singer to record the answer to Hank Thompson's number one hit, The Wild Side Of Live.
He asked Johnny if Kitty would be interested in recording, It Wasn't God Who Made
Honky Tonk Angels. Kitty said she would do it so she could "make the money off of the
recording session." Even though the Grand Ole Opry banned the song and she was not allowed
to perform it on the air at the time, the song became a million seller.
The Kitty Wells, Johnny Wright and Bobby Wright
It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels recorded in 1952, was her first number one
song and she was the first female to sell a million records and reach number one in the
country field. In doing that she created the role for all other female country singers. For 14
consecutive years she was voted the nation's number one Country Female Artist by all of the trade
publications including Billboard, Cashbox, Record World and Downbeat
Magazine. No other Country female artist has ever topped her achievements.
Kitty signed an unheard of "lifetime" contract with Decca Records in 1959. She remained on
Decca until 1975 when she released one album on Capricorn Records. On this session, Kitty was
backed by some members of the infamous Allman Brothers Band.
The Kitty Wells - Johnny Wright and Bobby Wright Family Show is country music's longest
running family show. Late last year, Wright and Wells announced they would retire from touring
at the end of this year.
Their final performance takes place during a December 31 show at the Nashville Night Life dinner
club, Saturday's edition of the Midnight Jamboree at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop No. 2.
The show is sold out
ANDREA McARDLE GROWS
ANDREA McARDLE all grown up
From living A Hard Knock Life while belting out an optimistic Tomorrow as the original
curly haired Annie, the talented Andrea McArdle will expose herself to a more adult version of
that lifestyle when she steps into the role of Sally Bowles in Cabaret.
McArdle will be performing the role of Cabaret's sexually adventurous Kit Kat Club singer for
the first time when the production opens next month in Nashville.
Since Annie, she's starred in several Broadway musicals, including Beauty and the
Beast, Les Miserables, Starlight Express and State Fair.
The acclaimed Cabaret tour arrives at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center's Andrew
Jackson Hall Jan. 23-28 as part of the Broadway Series.
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LES PAUL the inventor of the
solid-body electric guitar, will be honored with a technology Grammy in February after six
decades of contributions to the recording industry. Paul, 85, is credited with inventing
multitrack recording, the overdubbing recording technique, tape echo and the eight-track
tape recorder. He experimented for years with a solid body electric guitar, bringing prototype
after prototype to Gibson before the company accepted one. In 1952, it brought out the Les Paul
model, which is still used by many musicians. Paul and his late wife, singer Mary Ford, had 28
hit records between 1950 and 1957. Paul continues to perform with his trio every Monday night
at the Iridium nightclub in NYC.
LUANA DeVOL of Henderson,
Nevada has been named Singer of the Year by Europe's Opera World magazine. She was
selected by 50 independent critics based upon her performance in the Stuttgart, Germany
production of Richard Wagner's Die Gotterdammerung.
ON THE SMALL TUBE
the 2000 Tony Award winner for Contact saluted Broadway's legendary Angela Lansbury
at the annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, DC. Ms. Ziemba joined with fellow
Broadway stars Nathan Lane, Len Cariou, Donna Murphy and Marin Mazzie in a medley of songs
associated with Ms. Lansbury. In addition to Ms. Lansbury, this year's Kennedy Center honorees
were Clint Eastwood, Chuck Berry, Placido Domingo and Mikhail Baryshinokov. The Kennedy
Center Honors will air on CBS-TV on December 27th from 9 to 11 PM, ET.
PERRY COMO saga on
Biography which aired on the A&E channel last week was outstanding. If you missed it,
video copies can be ordered.
ORDER IN THE COURT
will be spending
some time in a courtroom this coming year. A complaint from a woman in a wheelchair against
Garth Brooks can proceed to trial, a Seattle judge has ruled. Joanne Lawrence alleges in a
lawsuit that Brooks' insistence on having "pretty women" in the first two rows at several
Key Arena concerts deprived people in wheelchairs access to those spots.
ELVIS PRESLEY and MICHAEL JACKSON impersonators Joseph Roig, 40 of Brigantine, N.J. and William Bostick of
Las Vegas, were convicted of petty harassment and each fined $500 for groping a cocktail
waitress. The incident took place Jan 11 at Bally's Park Place Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.The
37-year-old victim testified that the two ganged up on her in a hallway during a rehearsal of the
Legends in Concert show in which both defendants appear. A waitress passing by
witnessed the scene and called security. The defendants claimed they were just flirting. Judge H.
Robert Switzer told them that any more trouble would result in them singing Jailhouse
ROB GIBSON founding director of
Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYC was pressured to resign from his $250,000 a year job. No need for a
courtroom on this one. Wynton Marsalis, artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center stated
that Gibson was asked to resign and did. Differences grew over board authority, managerial
direction and style.
THE RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL ROCKETTES may have high kicked it out of Las Vegas, but they have high stepped their
way into the merchandising arena and the only question is - what took them so long?
An American institution, about to celebrate their 75th anniversary, their elaborate production
show dominates the New York Christmas season with their Radio City Christmas
Fans could always pick up a souvenir in the Radio City lobby. But now the ladies will be offering
dance lessons aimed at the female 10-18 year old crowd. Sure to be a hit, a two hour lessons for
$79 includes a tour of Radio City. It would be even a bigger hit if they had classes for the 5-10
year old crowd and tie that in with tour packages. Impress a five year old and you're apt to mold
a fan that spends money for two decades. Cultivate a brand new fan at age 18 and chances are
they are too old to dream of becoming a Rockette.
Macy's and Bloomingdale's have dusted off shelves so they can sell Rockette
There is also a corporate sponsor - Vaseline Intensive Care. And, that's just a basic step in the
THE GREAT WALTZ The tale of
two men who battled for supremacy, not with swords at daybreak, but with waltzes on candle-lit
The Great Waltz by Johann Strauss Sr. and Jr. Adapted by Erich
Korngold, Robert Wright and George Forrest.
Johann Strauss Sr., convinced there can only be one Waltz King in Vienna, blocks his son's
ambition to become a composer. But a beautiful singer arranges a reconciliation between father
and son accompanied by the strains of-what else-the Blue Danube Waltz.
Their music has made millions whistle, hum and whirl exuberantly around ballroom floors.
Indulge yourself in song, dance, stunning costumes and breathtaking scenery. Your favorite
Viennese waltzes are wrapped up in this musical story of Johann Strauss Jr. and Sr. December
26-31 Cahn Auditorium in Evanston, IL.
JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG
by Abby Mann will be produced by Tony Randall's National Actors Theatre at the Longacre
Theatre opening in February. The cast will include Maximillian Schell, who also did the film
version for which he won an Oscar. However, in this play he'll have to learn new lines - he's got a
different part. Sharing the stage with him will be Marthe Keller and George Grizzard.
THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER with music and lyrics by Don Schlitz and a book by Ken Ludwig, who is
the playwright of Lend Me a Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo, is set to open on
Broadway on April 26 at the Minskoff Theatre.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
starring Theodore Bikel who has played the role at least 1,650 times opened the Chicago run last
Tuesday at the Shubert Theatre. Tour director Sammy Dallas Bayes danced for Jerome Robbins
in the original production and directed the revival that starred Topol. He is staying true to the
Jerome Robbins choreography. Musical director is Frank Matosich. The 76 year old Bikel isn't
slowing down. The show heads to San Francisco in February.
TE JURO, JUANA QUE TENGO GANAS (I Swear to You
Jane, I Have An Itch For You) by Emilio Carballido, directed by
Rene Buch; a rousing comedy that, in the style of a Moliere comedy of manners, comments on
pretensions and hypocrisy; presented by Repertorio Espanol on January 7. Gilberto Zaldavar
Executive Producer, Rena Buch - artistic director continues its 33rd Season of bringing the best
of Latin American, Spanish and Hispanic-American theatre in distinctive, quality productions to a
broad audience in New York and across the country. The entire repertory is presented in the
jewel-box splendor of the Gramercy Arts Theatre, NYC. To accommodate non-Spanish-speaking
audiences, headsets on request are provided with live simultaneous English translations to
audience members for most productions.
THE FOX written by Carne Ross,
who is currently First Secretary at the United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations, will have
its world premiere January 19-28 presented by HERE, NYC. The play will be directed by Royston
Coppenger, currently Associate Professor of Drama at Hofstra University. and stars Martin
Millier, Simona Morecroft and Mason Phillips.
Playwright Ross grew up in London, taught in Zimbabwe before university, and traveled widely
before joining the Foreign Service after graduation. The seeds of The Fox were found in a
philosophical essay on political concepts The Fox and The Hedgehog by Sir Isaiah Berlin - also
sourced in a sex scene in Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives. Ross began writing about how
people can be so certain of their beliefs that they are able to kill. To explore the potential for
violent extremism within even the most "developed" cultures, he imagined a young peacekeeper
returning to "civilization" after experiencing barbarism and ethnic cleansing overseas. Posted to
New York, he found his way to NYU playwriting classes and the Terry Schreiber Studio,
where his script was developed and received a staged reading. This will be both a World
Premiere for The Fox and a new undertaking for its playwright.
The designers are Meganne George sets and costumes and Rych Curtis technical/video
THE MIDTOWN INTERNATIONAL THEATRE FESTIVAL
IS BACK John Chatterton, executive producer and founder of the
Midtown International Theatre Festival (MITF) announces that the MITF's second season,
running July 13th - August 5th, 2001 is now seeking submissions for its second go-round. The
application process is open to all comers. There is a $15.00 non-refundable reading fee.Midtown
International Theatre Festival 165 Christopher Street, #5N New York, NY 10014. Plans call for
the Second Annual MITF to be held at two theatres in one building hosting 12 productions. Each
individual production will give approximately nine performances. In addition, there will be a "Best
of the Fest Week," during which the most popular shows can extend. Promoters of the festival
say: Remember, many great works started out in smaller theatres, and if a talent agent or producer
is impressed by what he or she sees at the MITF hey, Broadway is only two blocks
LES MISERABLES was a nice
Christmas present for 11 year old Dutch Whitlock. The sixth-grader at Wasatch Elementary in
Salt Lake city, Utah will be dropping out of regular school to join the national touring company of
the hit musical. He first auditioned two years ago and after several call backs has been cast as
Gavroche. He begins rehearsing with Les Miz cast in Detroit on January 2, officially joining
the cast two weeks later when the show opens in Louisville, KY. The touring company, which
just began its 13th year on the road, is booked through the spring of 2002. It's tentatively
scheduled to begin a three-week engagement on April 3 in the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake
PATTI LU PONE who started her
career as a dancer - paired with her brother Robert, takes her vocal skills to the Morton J.
Myerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas on January 5-7. Brother Bob, by the way, a former Martha
Graham trained dancer, is co-founder of New York's MCC Theater.
JEFFREY OSBORNE December 30-31 at
the Foxwoods Casino, Conn.
KAREN MASON will take part in a
salute to the work of Alan Jay Lerner on January 6, 7 and 8 as part of the 92nd Street Y's wonderful
Lyrics & Lyricists series.
BARBARA COOK will
perform at San Francisco's Geary Theatre from December 29-31.
BETTY BUCKLEY January 5, at the
Koger Center for the Arts (Univ. of SC) in Columbia, SC. The following night, January 6, she'll
perform at the Georgia Institute of Technology Center for the Arts in Atlanta,
BERNADETTE PETERS backed by
the symphony takes center stage January 5 at PAC in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Bernadette will also make her
London stage debut as Rose in Gypsy. The Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim Arthur Laurents
classic will be staged at the Royal National Theatre. Sam Mendes will direct.
OAK RIDGE BOYS December 30-31 at
Harvey's Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Dec 29-31 Paris
Hotel in Las Vegas.
CHRIS ISAAK House of Blues at
Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas December 29.
McCOY TYNER multiple
Grammy-winning jazz pianist, and the pianist for the legendary John Coltrane Quartet, will play
the Van Dyck in Schenectady, N.Y. December 29.
DAVID BRENNER held over through
April at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas.
DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER January 2-7
in Oakland, CA at Yoshi's.
TONY BENNETT will no doubt be
getting standing ovations in Fayetteville, AR at the Walton Arts Center on January 6.
ANDREA MARCOVICCI singing
Kurt Weill in America and Our Songs at the Algonquin NYC through January 6.
MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER December
27-29 at the Civic Auditorium, Omaha, NE.
THE JEWISH MUSICAL FESTIVA (formerly Jewsapalooza)
now in its seventh year at the Knitting Factory, NYC celebrates
traditional and not-so-traditional music.The week-long event kicked off Saturday with
Jewish rapper MC Paul Barman.
KENNY WAYNE SHEPERD House
of Blues New Orleans, LA December 26.
DUKES OF DIXIELAND part of the
Steamboat Natchez New Orleans, LA Dinner/Jazz Cruise. Seasonal schedule,
dinner & cocktails optional.
THIS AND THAT
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Next Column: December 31, 2000
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