A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 21, 2012
“Don’t take candy from strangers”

"Don’t take candy from strangers” is a popular admonition that parents give to children. In July 1874, Charley Ross (age four) was lured from his Philadelphia home by strangers offering candy; the boy was never found.  Candy has frequently been used to lure a child into a stranger’s car, so parents also admonish never to take rides with strangers.

In the 1910-1920s, children were admonished not to take candy from strangers for an additional reason—the candy was feared to be poisoned, often with morphine or cocaine to create an addiction.

Etan Patz (age six) was declared missing in New York City in 1979. In 2012, a New Jersey man claimed that he had lured Patz with candy and then attacked him.


Wikipedia: Charley Ross
Charles Brewster Ross (born May 4, 1870 - ?) was the primary victim of the first kidnapping for ransom in America to receive widespread attention from the media.

Abduction
On July 1, 1874, Charley (then four years old) and his older brother Walter Lewis (aged five) were playing in the front yard of their family’s home in Germantown, a well-to-do section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A horse-drawn carriage pulled up and they were approached by two men who offered the boys candy and fireworks if they would take a ride with them. The boys agreed and they all proceeded through Philadelphia to a store where Walter was directed to buy fireworks inside with 25 cents given to him. Walter did so, but the carriage left without him. Charley Ross was never seen again.

Ransom
Christian K. Ross, the boys’ father, began receiving ransom demands from the apparent kidnappers. They arrived in the form of notes mailed from post offices in Philadelphia and elsewhere, all written in an odd hand and in a coarse, semi-literate style with many simple words misspelled. The communications generally requested a ransom of $20,000, an enormous sum at the time. The notes cautioned against police intervention and threatened Charley’s life if Christian did not cooperate. Christian Ross owned a large house and was thought to be wealthy, but was actually heavily in debt, due to the stock market crash of 1873, and could not afford such an amount. Seeing no other choice, Christian went to the police. The kidnapping soon became national news. In addition to the heavy press coverage, some prominent Philadelphians enlisted the help of the famous Pinkerton detective agency, who had millions of flyers and posters printed with Charley’s likeness. A popular song based on the crime was even composed by Dexter Smith and W. H. Brockway, entitled “Bring Back Our Darling”. Several attempts were made to provide the kidnappers with ransom money as dictated in the notes, but in each case the kidnappers failed to appear. Eventually, communication stopped.
(...)
Aftermath
Two years after the kidnapping, Christian Ross published a book on the case, entitled The Father’s Story of Charley Ross, the Kidnapped Child. The Ross family continued to search for Charley for half a century or more, following leads and interviewing thousands of boys, teenagers, and eventually grown men who claimed to have been Charley. In 1939, a 69 year old carpenter named Gustave Blair who had legally changed his name to ‘Charley Ross’ became the last of the thousands of would-be ‘Charley Rosses’ to have his claims rejected by the Ross family. An estimate of the expenses incurred by the Rosses during the decades-long search amounts to more than three times what the original ransom would have been. The case, and in particular the fates of Mosher, Douglas, and Westervelt, served as a deterrent to other potential ransom kidnappers: it would be a quarter of a century before another high-profile ransom kidnapping case emerged with Edward Cudahy, Jr. in 1900. The fate of Charley Ross remains unknown. A major missing persons database is named after him. The common admonition “don’t take candy from strangers” is said to have come from this affair.

Chronicling America
16 July 1874, The Sun (New York, NY), pg. 1, col. 3:
THE KIDNAPPING OF A BOY
CONSPIRING TO EXTORT TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS
Philadelphia Ransacked for a Clue—A Respectable Merchant’s Loss—Children Boldly Abducted from Germantown.
PHILADELPHIA, July 15.—Little Charles Brewster Ross, who was kidnapped by two strangers from the neighborhood of his father’s residence in Germantown on the 1st inst., has not yet been restored to his parents, and the excitement among Philadelphians of all classes is on the increase.
(...)
Charley and Walter (aged six) frequently wandered from the large yard and played in the street. The neighborhood is very quiet, there being few passers by. On the Saturday previous to the disappearance of Charley he and Walter entered the house eating candy. The father asked them where they got it, and they said that a man in the street gave it to them. The father told them that they must not take candy from strangers.

24 April 1895, The World (New York, NY), “Suicide of Girl of 16,” pg. 16, col. 1:
When her mother warned her against accepting boxes of candy from strangers she laughed.

Google Books
Making the Best of Our Children
By Mary Wood-Allen
Chicago, IL: A.C. McClurg & Co.
1909
Pg. 109:
“Well, mother, he is a very nice man. he gave me some candy.”

“No doubt he is a very nice man, but I would much rather you would not take candy from strangers, for all strangers are not to be trusted. (Pg. 110—ed.) Let mother tell you a true story. A good many years ago a little boy named Charlie Ross was playing in thestreet in front of his father’s house, when a strange man came up to him, gave him some candy, and invited him to take a ride. Of course, he thought so kind a gentleman must be a nice man; so he accepted the candy and the invitation and went away with his new friend. He never came back. Charlie Ross’s father sought for him everywhere, and the newspapers told us all about the story of the little boy who disapepared from his home. Mr. Ross offered a great deal of money for the return of his son, but without success; and so little Charlie Ross was lost and was never found, just because he trusted a nice-appearing man who gave him candy. Now, father and mother are willingto give you all the candy you need, and we are very anxious to take good care of you, but you must learn something about aking care of yourself. When you meet strangers on the street, or when you are travelling, or at any time when you are away from father and mother, and they offer you candy, I would rather you would say, ‘No, thank you,’ and come where I am (Pg. 111—ed.) quickly, for just think how sad would be our hime if our little daughter were taken away.”

25 March 1918, Evening Independent (Massillon, OH), pg. 2, col. 7:
WARNS CHILDREN
TO REFUSE CANDY
FROM STRANGERS
Mayor Koontz today urged all parents to warn their children not to accept candy from strangers. Several instances have been reported where candy was given to children by strangers. Fear that some of the candy may be poisoned caused Mayor Koontz to issue the warning.

18 November 1922, Indianapolis (IN) Star, pg. 7, col. 5:
“W. C. T. U. Quarters Will be Moved to Evanston, Ill.,”
Miss Cora Frances Stoddard of Massachusetts, a national director, warned children and young men and women to beware of candy from strangers because such gifts often contained morphine or cocaine as a method of forming drug addicts.

Google Books
Salt Water Taffy:
or, Twenty thousand leagues away from the sea; the almost incredible autobiography of Capt. Ezra Triplett’s seafaring daughter

By Corey Ford
New York, NY: G. P. Putnam’s sons
1929
Pg. 46:
“Besides, my father said not to take candy from strangers.”

Google Books
Radio City
By Hartzell Spence
New York, NY: Dial
1941
Pg. 203:
“Mother doesn’t like me to take candy from strangers.”

Google Books
The Moment Before the Rain
By Elizabeth Enright
London: Heinemann
1955
Pg. 110:
“Don’t ever accept candy from strangers,” warned the stern memory of her mother’s voice; Lorna listened to it for a moment, appraised it, and pushed it back into the cupboard where many such admonitions were laid away.

Google News Archive
6 May 1965, The Sun (Vancouver, British Columbia), pg. 4, col. 4:
By ART BUCHWALD
Mayors Shouldn’t Take
Candy From Strangers


Google News Archive
21 March 1968, Lewiston (ID) Morning Tribune, “Teach Children To Spurn Offers From Strangers, Officer Advises,” pg. 33, col. 1:
HAMMOND, Ind. (AP)—Strangers can mean danger to children, warns Hammond Police Chief George Wise.
(...) (Col. 2—ed.)
Rules Important
From the time a child is old enough to go outside to play, he should be taught and repeatedly reminded to:

Never accept rides from strangers.

Never accept candy from strangers.

Report, without fear, to a teacher, parent or police officer, any stranger seen loitering on foot or in a car near places where children assemble.

Google News Archive
24 April 1971, Evening Herald (Rock Hill, SC), “Baby-sitters must be carefully screened,” pg. 20, col. 3:
“Dont cross the streets against the light!”
“Don’t take candy from strangers!”
“Wear your rubber boots!”
“Keep away from the open window!”
“Don’t eat that! It’s not good for you!”

OCLC WorldCat record
Never take candy from strangers
Author: Rendy Beal
Publisher: Memphis, Tenn. : RB Pub., ©1984.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Candy from strangers
Author: Diana Hartog
Publisher: Toronto : Coach House Press, ©1986.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Raising Venture Capital: Don’t Take Candy from Strangers
Author: G B Hoffstein
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: VITAL SPEECHES OF THE DAY, 62, no. 12, (1996): 366-368
Database: British Library Serials
Other Databases: ArticleFirst

Wikipedia: Strangers with Candy
Strangers with Candy is a television series produced by Comedy Central. It first aired on April 7, 1999, and concluded its third and final season on October 2, 2000. Its timeslot was Sundays at 10 p.m. (ET). It was replaced by the Comedy Central show Strip Mall.

In 2007, Strangers with Candy was ranked #30 on TV Guide’s Top Cult Shows Ever.

OCLC WorldCat record
Candy from strangers : kids and consumer culture
Author: Stephen Dale
Publisher: Vancouver : New Star Books, ©2005.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

NBC10 Philadelphia
NJ Man Claims He Lured Etan Patz With Candy, Attacked Him With Knife: Source
The man claims to have used candy to lure the boy into a store before attacking him with a knife, an official familiar with the case says

By Jonathan Dienst and Shimon Prokupecz
Thursday, May 24, 2012 | Updated 10:43 AM EDT
NYPD detectives are questioning a New Jersey man who claims to have used candy to lure 6-year-old Etan Patz before attacking him with a knife, giving authorities another possible lead in the case of the boy who disappeared 33 years ago.

Police picked up the man Wednesday evening in Camden and brought him to New York City for questioning, NBC 4 New York first reported Thursday.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Thursday, June 21, 2012 • Permalink