Smoking was an everyday part of life in the 1940s and ’50s. Actor Ronald Reagan, for example, was happy to appear in ads for Chesterfield cigarettes, as did many radio and film stars -- long before everyone realized the health consequences of smoking. Before running for governor of California, Reagan quit his pipe-smoking habit, but soon acquired a substitute vice: jelly beans. Specifically, a gourmet jelly bean that was new on the market at that time. In fact, there was rarely a time when Reagan would be without a jar of jelly beans in his office, and no meeting could start without passing around the sweet treats. After being elected president in 1980, three-and-a-half tons of red, white and blue Jelly Belly beans were shipped to the nation’s capital for the inaugural festivities.
Reagan's colorful presidency:
- Herman Goelitz Candy Co., the original Jelly Belly manufacturer, provided the Reagan White House with jelly beans for most of his presidency. The company also developed a jelly bean jar adorned with the presidential seal.
- The flavors of the red, white, and blue jelly beans supplied for the inauguration were very cherry, coconut, and blueberry.
- Near the end of his presidency, Reagan switched to M&Ms, which became the official candy of the White House. And after Reagan left office, the Jelly Belly company stopped supplying the White House with candy.