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National Gumdrop Day!

Today we celebrate the sweet gummy like candy, the gumdrop.  This day is observed annually on February 15th.

Gumdrops are gelatin-based candy, flavored with spices and fruit, and coated with sugar.  They are rightly colored pectin-based pieces, shaped like a narrow dome with a flattened top, which is often coated with granulated sugar.

Gumdrops first appeared in the 19th century in the United States as early as 1801, although at that time they likely referred to small hard sweets also derived from fruit gelatin.  The name “gumdrop” is not found in print until 1859, appearing in an advertisement published by the Decatur, IL Illinois State Chronical for a candy shop owned by a George Julier.

One of the oldest types of gumdrops still produced is “Spice” gumdrops, using traditional spices including clove, anise, allspice, spearmint, cinnamon, and wintergreen for flavoring.

Nowadays, gumdrops, spice drops, and their variations are used in baking, candy crafting, decorating cakes and cupcakes.  During the holiday season, they are used in decorating gingerbread houses and other confections.

So, today, if you love gummy candies, celebrate this day by eating some gumdrops.  Try all the flavors, from fruit flavor to the spice flavor.  Share your favorite on social media using #GumdropDays.

1950 Disney’s “Cinderella” opens in theaters

On February 15, 1950, Walt Disney’s animated feature Cinderella opens in theaters across the United States.

The Chicago-born Disney began his career as an advertising cartoonist in Kansas City. After arriving in Hollywood in 1923, he and his older brother Roy set up shop in the back of a real-estate office and began making a series of animated short films called Alice in Cartoonland, featuring various animated characters. In 1928, he introduced the now-immortal character of Mickey Mouse in two silent movies. That November, Mickey debuted on the big screen in Steamboat Willie, the first fully synchronized sound cartoon ever made. Walt Disney provided Mickey’s squeaky voice himself. The company went on to produce a series of sound cartoons, such as the “Silly Symphony” series, which included The Three Little Pigs (1933) and introduced characters like Donald Duck and Goofy.

Disney made a risky bet in 1937 when he championed–and put $1.5 million of his own money into–Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first-ever full-length animated feature film. The risk paid off in spades after the film grossed $8 million at the box office, an incredible sum during the Great Depression. Four more animated hits followed in the growing Disney canon–Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), Dumbo (1941) and Bambi (1942)–before full-scale production was stalled by wartime economic problems.

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