For those of you that don’t know, Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo are the two characters on the box of Cracker Jack popcorn. As you’ll read below, Sailor Jack and Bingo were first added to the package in 1918.
When I was a kid, Cracker Jack was one of my favorite snacks/candies/treats, because you not only get the caramel popcorn & peanuts, but you also get a toy inside. I use to open the box from the bottom, because a lot of times, the toy packet would settle to the bottom of the box. That way I wouldn’t have to wait and eat my way through the popcorn to get at the toy (although this isn’t really a bad thing).
Cracker Jack has a very long history which goes way back to 1893. Below is a history of Cracker Jack from the CrackerJack.com website:
1893 According to legend, a unique popcorn, peanuts and molasses confection that was the forerunner to Cracker Jack caramel coated popcorn and peanuts is introduced by F.W. Rueckheim and Brother, at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago’s first World’s Fair.
1896 Louis Rueckheim, F.W.’s brother and partner, discovers the process for keeping the molasses-covered popcorn morsels from sticking together. Louis gives the treat to a salesman who exclaims, “That’s crackerjack!” “So it is,” says F.W. Rueckheim, who then has the words trademarked.
Cracker Jack Becomes Part of Popular Culture:
1908 The song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is written by Jack Norworth, who writes the lyrics during a 30-minute subway ride, and Albert Von Tilzer, who composes the music. Cracker Jack brand is immortalized with the third line, “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack.”
1912 “A Prize in Every Box” is introduced when toys are inserted into every package.
1918 Sailor Jack and his dog, Bingo, first appear on packages.
1955 Cracker Jack begins advertising on television with the appearance of Cracker Jack on CBS-TV’s “On Your Account” which is televised to 130 stations nationally.
Cracker Jack Grows Up:
1964 Columbus, Ohio-based Borden, Inc. purchases the Cracker Jack Company. It becomes the Cracker Jack division of Borden, Inc.
1975 Automated, high-speed, continuous cooking machinery replaces the metal tubs in which Cracker Jack was batch-coated.
1992 Butter Toffee flavor Cracker Jack Popcorn is introduced.
1993 Cracker Jack celebrates its 100th anniversary.
1995 Fat-free Cracker Jack brand is introduced.
1997 Frito Lay purchases Cracker Jack brand from Borden.
1999 A new Cracker Jack television ad runs during the championship pro football game on January 31st. It’s the first television advertising for Cracker Jack brand in 15 years.
Frito Lay launches crackerjack.com to inform and entertain fans of Cracker Jack.
Cracker Jack releases Butter Toffee Clusters in November.
Cracker Jack In The New Millenium:
2000 In response to strong consumer demand, Cracker Jack launches Butter Toffee Peanuts.
2002 Frito Lay redesigns crackerjack.com to keep up with changing technologies on the Internet.
I told you it was a long history!
More details at wikipedia.com:
More information at crackerjack.com: