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M. David Benson is the founder and president of the Apollo Candy Company, and a known associate of Alvar Hanso. Coming from a line of chocolatiers, Benson's story was provided as the history to the Apollo Candy bar, which was manufactured specifically for the Lost Experience. His silhouette image appeared on the Apollo website.
He is based on the ABC employee Michael Benson , as confirmed in an interview with Jordan Rosenberg . Michael Benson himself has been attributed to having devised the idea of the Lost Experience with producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse .
See Apollo Candy Company for the primary source material
From the Apollo website, a number of facts can be gathered about Benson. He was born in 1938 to Nils Christer and Elli Benson. His father had become estranged from his own father, Oskar Benson (founder of Scandinavian-revered Benson Chocolatiers), marrying a woman well below his family's status. As a result, he and his pregnant wife had moved from Norway to the United States without any hope of inheritance from Oskar.
Nils joined the US Marine Corps in December 1941 (possibly in response to attack on Pearl Harbor). A few years later, Nils died on Omaha Beach, leaving Elli to raise her son alone, though still instilling in him the values of his adopted country and patriotism for it. Indeed, M. David Benson served in the Korean War, which is where he discovered his love for chocolate.
"The six of us were pinned down - scared witless. I knew we'd be lost if we didn't come together. So, I rifled through my pack and found it -- the Benson Chocolate Bar mom had sent. They were expensive. She was poor. But once a month, like clockwork, there was that care package. Six ways, I split that chocolate, and even with death staring us in the eye, not a one of us could deny the smile on his face. It was dead midnight, but for that sweet moment, as we ate that Benson Bar, the sun came up for us all."
It was then that Benson envisioned the Apollo bar. He took the proposal to the grandfather he barely knew, who to reconcile gave him the secret recipe for Benson Milk Chocolate. Armed with this, M. David was able to create the The Apollo Bar, "fit for even the Greek god of light himself." In 1964, he delivered his first crate to J. Pickersweet's Five and Dime, a legendary establishment in San Francisco. With Pickersweet's grin came the beginning of Apollo's success.
Starting out in a one-room factory in San Francisco's Cow Hollow district, Benson had moved the company to distribution citywide in 1964, and four years later he had secured deals in outlets nationwide. However, in the 1970s the company was in dire straits, but with the intervention of Alvar Hanso, the Apollo Candy Company and Benson were given new life, to this day supplying as the private purveyor of chocolates for Hanso and his companies.
According to Speaker on August 30th, M. David Benson, "will be at BURNING MAN this weekend. IF you can find him, I'm told he will have special prizes. I don't know what he looks like - but I'm told to age the blond haired boy on the front page a few years." However, there was no reported sighting or interaction with him by any fan website to the Lost Experience.
- As stated, M. David Benson is based on ABC employee Michael Benson. In fact, the headshot was actually used for the character's silhouette image . Compare his image with the silhouette outline.
- On the Apollo website, Benson mentions his mode of transport for distributing Apollo bars was his Jeep FC-150 truck, and goes into detail about its affordability and embodiment of the American spirit. This seems a clear advertisement for the Jeep company, which sponsored the Lost Experience.
- When M. David Benson visits Oskar, it is stated that Benson Chocolatiers was taken over by a British candy manufacturer. This is possibly a reference to Cadbury, a hugely successful British chocolate company both domestically and in Europe.
- It is physically impossible that M. David Benson, apparently born in 1938, could have served in the Korean War, as even when it ended in 1953 he would only have been 15 years old. It's possible that the biography on the Apollo Candy website should have said the Vietnam War, which fits better in the timeline. Indeed, the biography says that after having the idea while serving, his dream "became a reality" two years later. As the biography also states that he sold his first bar in 1964, it seems that the idea apparently occurred in 1962 (i.e., during service in the Vietnam War, not the Korean War).