Author Talk: Patrick Murphy and the Story of Switzer's Licorice

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The sweet smell of licorice and the giant candy bar painted on the factory wall at the Eads Bridge remain locked into the collective memory of generations of St. Louisans. Patrick Murphy spent his boyhood hearing family stories about the Switzer Licorice Company, where his father, grandfather and great-grandfather worked as candy men. In his new book, Candy Men, he tells the story of how two Irish-American families began a candy company in the kitchen of a tenement in St. Louis's Irish slum and showed the world how the American Dream can be built upon a foundation of candy. In a story that passes through three generations, two World Wars, economic depressions, and labor unrest, the Murphy and the Switzers dedicated their lives to keeping the dream alive until it was put to an end by forces beyond their control. And yet, the story continues today with a fresh twist and a renewed life of its own.

Murphy has spent the past 30 years producing television programs for PBS, both locally and nationally. A five-time Emmy award winner, he has created documentaries, weekly series, and musical variety shows. He is also a working artist whose artwork is shown in galleries throughout the St. Louis region. His book will be available for sale and signing after the program.