"There's always money in the banana stand."
It's one of the most famous lines from
, a show that
) canceled seven years ago after three seasons of rave reviews but
poor viewership. Now, after gaining momentum and the popularity it
deserved all those years back, with many fans discovering the show
via online streaming options and DVD, the show is making a
triumphant return with a fourth season of 15 episodes on
At the center of the program is the Bluth family, headed by George
Bluth Senior, played by Jeffrey Tambor. In the first episode of the
series, George Senior is arrested by the SEC for shady business
dealing. In an early episode, his son Michael, played by Jason
Bateman, goes to George Senior with money troubles, asking if there
are any accounts that could be used to help the family and business
through a cash crunch. By means of advice, George gives a coded
response: "There's always money in the banana stand."
The Bluth company happens to own a banana stand on the sunny
boardwalk of Balboa Pier in Newport, CA -- where the show is set.
Naturally Michael takes George Senior's advice as meaning,
use the banana stand to make money
(it was, in
lore, one of the first ventures of the Bluth Company, built
initially in 1953).
Later in the episode, Michael and his son George Michael, played by
Michael Cera, burn down the banana stand in an act of defiance and
father-son bonding. The next day, George Senior tells Michael that
$250,000 in the walls of the banana stand. So it goes.
That banana stand has become an iconic symbol of the show, so much
so that a touring banana stand has been a major part of
's marketing campaign leading up to this weekend's Netflix
premiere. Last week it was in New York City, where Jason Bateman
and Will Arnett, who plays his magician brother Gob, made a
surprise visit. This week, the banana stand is in California.
My first frozen banana stand experience, in Times Square. I missed
Jason Bateman and Will Arnett by 15 minutes.
I waited in line for a free frozen banana in Times Square, along
with hundreds of fans and interested non-fans. When I finally got
my frozen banana, it came in an individual package and had a
sticker on top that said Bluth's Original Frozen Banana. Beneath
the sticker, a label read, Totally Bananas. And so sparked my
interest in looking into companies that actually sell frozen
The History of the Frozen Banana
first known frozen banana stand
, called The Original Frozen Banana, was opened by Don Phillips on
Balboa Peninsula in Orange County, California, circa 1940. And yes,
the fictional Bluth banana stand is also on Balboa Peninsula.
Before this, the history of the frozen banana is unclear, though
Phillips may have first heard about the idea at the
1933 World's Fair in Chicago.
In 1963, an enterprising businessman named Bob Teller moved to
Orange County with the intention of building a plant to manufacture
car seat belts, but instead, inspired by the success of The
Original Frozen Banana, opened his own banana stand across the
street, the Original Banana Rolla Rama (in one episode of
Gob opens his own banana stand across the boardwalk from the
family's Bluth Banana). When Don Phillips passed away, Bob Teller
acquired his stand and expanded. To this day, the frozen banana is
a distinct tradition on Balboa Island.
However, there are a few national companies that produce frozen
banana products, and I wonder if Arrested Development's success
might inspire even more companies to follow suit.
Frozen Banana Companies
is the company that was lucky enough to have its bananas featured
marketing ploy and its product was delicious -- you might even say
it was delightfully ahh-peeling. The company sells its banana
treats to convenience stores, pharmacies, movie theaters, zoos,
restaurants, and more, mostly in Florida and the Northeast. (Find a
store that sells Totally Bananas products with the company's
is the company behind Banana Babies, a frozen banana product you
may have seen in your grocery store's freezer aisle. It was started
in the mid-'80s by Bob Carmody, an entrepreneur who had opened a
stand at The Taste of Chicago, an annual open-air food festival.
Today, the company's products are sold in grocery stores,
pharmacies, and convenience stores nationwide. They also have a
Debuting earlier this year,
represent the frozen banana's continued progress into mass market
appeal. Sold as banana slices covered in dark chocolate rather than
the whole fruit, the product is branded as a healthy, natural,
delicious dessert or snack. And though it doesn't have its own
frozen banana product,
) features a
for the specialty dessert on its website.
The question is, were those massive lines for frozen bananas
indicative of a growing consumer interest in the product? Or were
people just excited about the return of
? If those throngs of folks were like me, it was more of the
latter, but I will admit, that banana was delicious.
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