Choose an appropriate proverb or saying for each paragraph.
This is intended to be both a sweet story for Halloween, the day everybody gives out candy, and proof that conflicts occur on all levels, not just between ideologies, religions, and nations. The adversaries in this story are Frank Mars, founder of Mars, Inc., Chocolate Company and his son Forrest Mars. Yes, some people are really named Forrest.
Frank Mars founded the Mars candy factory in 1911. He became a very wealthy man after he invented the candy bars Snickers, Milky Way, and Three Musketeers. Frank Mars lived in a mansion, drove expensive cars, owned race horses and an airplane, all of which were somewhat unusual for that time. But when the USA abruptly fell into depression in 1929, Frank decided to play it safe and not to expand his company.
But his son Forrest, no gump, was another story. He worked for his father and wanted nothing more than to expand it. “I wanted to conquer the world,” he explained years later, and he soon began to become both impatient and annoyed working under his father’s authority. “Things got bitter. I told my dad to stick his business up his ***. If he didn’t want to give me one-third of the company right then, I said, ‘I’m leaving.’ He said, ‘leave’, so I left.” Forrest, however, was prepared; he had a degree from Yale University in industrial engineering.
Well, as fate would have it, Frank Mars died from kidney failure just 15 months later. But there was no bedside forgiving like we see in movies, and Forrest did not even attend his father’s funeral. Frank’s second wife, Ethel, inherited control of Mars, Inc. Frank’s will stipulated that Forrest would not inherit any Mars, Inc. stock until his stepmother Ethel died, and even then he would only get half her shares. He was on his own.
Disgusted, Forrest moved to France to try his luck. He started a business selling shoe trees. When this failed, he went back to the candy business. He moved to Switzerland and took jobs in the world’s great chocolate manufacturer – Tobler and Nestle – to learn everything he could about chocolate from the best minds in the industry. He thought his father never really knew anything about how to make chocolate – his candy bars were made with American Hershey’s chocolate. Hershey’s was the #1 chocolate manufacturer in the U.S at that time, and still is, but Frank thought it couldn’t compare to European chocolate. “I was an hourly paid guy,” Forrest recounted years later. “They didn’t know who I was. They never asked. They didn’t care.”
In 1933, Frank Mars moved to London, reformulated his father’s Milky Way recipe to suit English tastes, and began selling them under the name “Mars Bars.” By 1939, he had built his company into the third largest candy manufacturer in Britain. When England passed a special tax on resident foreigners to raise money for World War II, clever Forrest put his senior manager in charge of the company and returned to the United States to avoid paying the taxes.
But Forrest’s stepmother and her family were firmly in control of Mars, Inc. So rather thanbeg his way back into the family company, he founded his own food business, which began to manufacture Uncle Ben’s Rice and Pedigree pet food. In 1940, he launched M & M’s, Inc., which were candy-coated chocolates like the ones he’d seen during a visit to Spain. He had been there to take a look at the Spanish Civil War, and encountered soldiers who were eating pellets of chocolate encased in a hard sugary coating to prevent them from melting, even on hot summer days. Forrest had the money and experience by that time, but he lacked access to sugar and cocoa, as both were being rationed during WW II.
But luck was on his side. William Murrie, president of the Hershey Chocolate Company, former supplier to Forrest’s father and the exclusive chocolate supplier to the U.S. Armed Forces, offered to sell cocoa and sugar to Forrest. As a military supplier, he had plenty. But you’re probably asking why he would do that. Simple; he wanted to help his son Bruce, who had just graduated from college. The deal they struck was that in exchange for 20% of the startup capital and a steady supply of raw materials from Hershey, Forrest would make Bruce the executive vice president of the new company. Forrest, who wanted to close the deal, even offered to name the candy after him. He suggested the candy be called M & M’s, for Mars and Murrie. When the contract was signed, William Murrie even threw in technical assistance from Hershey engineers as a sweetener.
M & M’s went on to become the most popular candy worldwide . . . . but that was after Bruce Murrie was gone. Once Forrest had the company up and running, he forced Murrie out. Forrest never wanted a real business partner; he just needed Murrie to get supplies during the war. Nowadays over 400 million M & M’s are manufactured every day around the world. In the USA, they are produced in New Jersey and Tennessee. In Brazil, M & Ms are manufactured in Guararema and Mogi Mirim, São Paulo.
But M & M control was not enough for Forrest. When Ethel Mars died in 1945, he inherited half of her Mars, Inc. shares, making him part-owner of the company he’d been shut out of. But he wanted it all. He spent the next 19 years battling executives for control. And he got it! In 1964 – 32 years after his father kicked him out of the company – Mars Chocolate Company Inc. became his. He merged Mars with his own company, and retired in 1964, turning the company over to his lucky children. When he died at age 95, his fortune was $4 billion. His three children are all among the 50 richest people in the world. And M & Ms are a favorite Halloween treat, so we have all played a part in their fortunes. And just so you are in on the latest news, in October 2018, M & Ms announced their newest flavor; hazelnutspread.
We are introducing the category, Self-Study, to our content as a way to broaden the challenges in this blog. Self-study is generally about learning to motivate yourself and taking responsibility for your own education, much needed skills in any walk of life. As for learning and improving on a second language, self-study is a perfect way to further develop your reading comprehension and vocabulary, which will naturally add to any associated language abilities. As our subject material is usually an eclectic mix of topics, we hope that Self-Study will enrich and empower you with new language skills. Please feel free to make any comments or contributions in the spaces below the topics.