The Worst of All Ways To ‘Get Tanked’



Photo: The Daily Beast

From the ‘Strange Bedfellows’ Department: Herman Rowland, Sr., who chairs the California-based Jelly Belly Candy Company, is far from ‘all candy, all the time’: He loves to restore history military vehicles, including tanks, and has a private museum to show them off near the company’s Fairfield, CA headquarters.

But a tragic accident there recently may have given him reason to stop allowing visitors to the museum – formally known as “The Tank Barn” – to get up close and real personal with some of his hardware, particularly his tanks.

One of them ran over and killed a man there last summer. The resulting ‘wrongful death’ civil suit against Rowland and his daughter, company CEO Lisa Brasher, says that when the tank driven by Lisa’s husband, Dwayne Brasher, killed Kevin Wright, that negligent act not only orphaned Wright’s two daughters, it also took away his family’s bread-winner.

Brasher was maneuvering a World War II-era M5 tank at the time.

That 16.5 ton machine is said to be a particularly difficult object to maneuver, not least because the driver’s visibility is limited.

Tank crew training stretched – even in the midst of World War II, when it was important that replacement personnel and equipment be readied in short order – over weeks, many weeks, in some instances, as crews moved from one type training terrain to another, perhaps more than 100 miles from the previous one.

Brasher reportedly had no training in operating the M5.

Well, somebody at Jelly Bean Candy is going to have to get some training, if Herman Rowland succeeds in modifying one to shoot bags of jelly beans – a project The Beast reported this week he’s working on.

‘Reminds me of the long-ago Quaker Puffed Rice commercials and ads that declared the cereal was “shot from guns.” It actually was, during a promotional event at an early-20th-Century World’s Fair, when Quaker was working hard to get its new product the maximum of attention from the consuming public. (Beyond that event, though, the ‘shot from guns’ concept was a twist on a manufacturing process that resembled shooting the rice from guns.) These days, of course, people would call the company on such shooting because of the potential residue from the shooting accelerant!

(By the way, for a trip down memory lane – or an education in cereal advertising from decades long past – be sure to check out that Quaker Puffed Rice commercials link!)




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