Cracker Jack: 117 Years Later

Cracker Jack is a 117 year old snack that is owned by Frito-Lay today.

Cracker Jack was first introduced by its developer Frederick Rueckheim at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.

There was a problem with the treats sticking together in chunks till a process was developed in 1896 that prevented them from sticking together.

Cracker Jack would become even better known when Jack Norworth wrote Take Me Out to the Ballgame in 1908 which includes the line:

Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack, I don’t care if I ever get back.

Norworth would not even see his first baseball game till 32 years later in 1940 even though he wrote the song.

It would be 1912 before prizes would be inserted into the boxes.

Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo first appeared on boxes in 1918.

Cracker Jack was bought by Borden Co. in 1964 after a bidding battle between them and Frito-Lay.  Thirty three years later Borden sold Cracker Jack to Frito-Lay.

I can remember seeing the Shriner’s Circus at Rapides Parish Coliseum and Cracker Jack being sold there.

1966 would see a serious competitor Crunch ‘n Munch come on the scene that was a little similar to Cracker Jack.

The New York Yankees made the mistake of switching from selling Cracker Jack to Crunch ‘n Munch at their games in 2004 but a protest from the fans made them revert back to selling Cracker Jack.

Fiddle Faddle another similar product to Cracker Jack was introduced in 1967 but Cracker Jack is still being sold today 117 years after first being introduced despite increasing competition.

Poppycock is another similar treat but more upscale and expensive since it includes almonds, pecans and cashews in their snacks.

Other similar products to Cracker Jack may be introduced in coming years but kids that grew up on Cracker Jack will always remember the snack with a toy in each box.

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Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

2 thoughts on “Cracker Jack: 117 Years Later”

  1. When growing up I consumed tons of Cracker Jack. But, the enticement was the toy. I can’t think of any of my friends who bought Cracker Jack for the Cracker Jack. That is not to say that it was not good, it was, but it was so much fun to get that toy. I wish that I would saved all of those toys, what memories they would bring back.

  2. I thought you bought Cracker Jack because it had a sailor on the box and you were a fan of the U.S. Navy.

    Cracker Jack does not compare in taste to the taste of Crunch ‘n Munch so I can see why you looked more forward to finding the toy than to actually eating the Cracker Jacks.

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