Saturday, March 21, 2009

Take Me Out To The Ball Game. Buy Me Some Peanuts And Cracker Jacks...



Remember eating Cracker Jacks as a kid and digging down inside the box to get the prize? Well, my grandfather figured it out. He would open the box on the bottom and get his prize first. I still have a big jar filled with his treasures.
Frederick William Rueckheim and his brother Louis were German immigrants. Frederick came to Chicago in 1872 to clean up after the famous Chicago fire. He also worked selling popcorn from a cart. The two brothers made the first Cracker Jack, but it was called candied popcorn and peanuts. The original was popcorn, peanuts and molasses. A sample was given to a salesman and after eating it he exclaimed, "That's a cracker jack!" Hence the name.
The problem with the mix was that it all stuck together. In 1866 a process was discovered to prevent this. It is still a secret to this day.
The song , "Take me out to the ballgame," was written by Jack Norworth. Cracker Jack was immortalized by the third line, "Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack."
A prize in every box was introduced in 1912. Since then more than 23 billion prizes were given out. Some of these prizes are valued at more than $7,000. Now they have been replaced by paper jokes and riddles. I remember once, my grandmother found a beautiful hand painted Chinese bowl in her Cracker Jack box. It was quite astounding and no one could figure out how it got in there. If you are interested in learning about these toys, you can go to The Cracker Jack Collectors Association
So, march on down to the store and grab a box with sailor Jack and his dog, Bingo on the front and have a memorable journey. Maybe you will be lucky enough to get a Chinese bowl, too.

Cracker Jack*r Toys

5 comments:

suZen said...

Oh I love your blog - what a trip down memory lane. Surprised we didn't meet - maybe we did - while protesting the Viet Nam war. I'm following your blog - it will be great to be reading about something I "get" for a change!

vaboomer.com said...

I'm an unrepentent beatnik/hippie/feminist/tree hugger and more. At www.vaboomer.com I bring this sensibility to social issues with memior. Glad there are others out there!

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