The game was designed in 1948 by Eleanor Abbott (38 years old), while she was recovering from polio in San Diego, California. They created prototypes of the game so children in the same hospital ward could try it and it was a huge hit. The kids convinced her to send the game to the Milton Bradley Company and they bought it and began distributing it in 1949. It became their number one seller for a long time and then they created other products using the Candy Land brand name.
Hasbro purchased Milton Bradley in 1984 and revamped the game with different colors and some new characters. Seventy years after its launch, Candy Land is going strong. It is already in the Toy Hall of Fame. Eleanor lived for 40 years after she invented the game so she was able to enjoy watching its success.
A funny side note. One of the first ever lawsuits regarding internet domain names occurred in 1996 when Milton Bradley filed an injunction against a porn company that was trying to use "candyland," as part of their domain name. Milton Bradley won the lawsuit. :)