Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Pez Creator Death Kicks Off Ferocious Battle Among Collectors, To Claim Body

The new year brought in the sad news, that Curtis Allina, creator of the now-infamous Pez Dispenser, passed away on December 15th, at the age of 87;

Curtis Allina Dies at 87; He Put the Heads on Pez

For nearly three decades after World War II, Mr. Allina was the vice president in charge of United States operations at what is now Pez Candy. In 1955, at his urging, what had been an austerely packaged Austrian confection for adults took on vibrant new life as a children’s product.

That year, the first character dispensers, as they are known in the parlance of Peziana, were issued, giving birth to what is today a highly collectible pop-cultural artifact. Instantly recognizable, the dispensers are slim plastic containers, usually anthropomorphic in design, whose heads — modeled after those of TV characters, cartoon figures or historical personages — flip back to disgorge brick-shaped pieces of candy.


A Pez dispenser is a simple little machine: back snaps the head, out pops the candy, and the head flicks shut again with a satisfying click. But oh, the variations, from a spate of licensed characters to those designed by Pez. For serious collectors, the most highly prized dispensers, long discontinued, are elusive objects of desire that can run to thousands of dollars apiece.

It is now, those "serious collectors" that are causing tremendous trouble for authorties in Olympia, Washington, where Allina resided.

Hundreds have descended on the town, and have been badgering family members, seeking to purchase Allina's body for their Pez collections.

In some cases, collectors have attempted to break into Allina's home, and, in another incident, there was a carjacking of a young lady, thought to be a granddaughter.

"It's been awful," said one resident.

"They are stalking people all over town, going through garbage cans, looking for anything they can lay claim to."

One collector, who asked to remain anonymous, was near hyperventilation, with the thought of claiming Allina's body for his collection.

"I have thousand, and thousands of Pez dispensers, going back decades .. Rare and impossible to find ones ... Having Mr. Allina in the collection would just make it priceless."

Another collector that was also seeking the body, planned to cash out his collection, on eBay.

When contacted, eBay, on the possibility of someone selling the Pez creators' body, the spokesperson indicated they had no specific rules against it, if it were part of a collection, and cautioned anyone purchasing it, to verify who the seller was, and check their rating for selling on eBay.

"We really don't want to get in the middle of a sale, of someone buying a collection and it not being the specified item."

In a related matter, the Pez Corporation announced that they are discontinuing plans for the release of a new, 2010 Pez Dispenser, Allina's final creation, the head of the former President, The Commander Guy, dispensing shoe-shaped pez pellets.

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