And now a page from our “Sunday Morning” Almanac: February 19th, 1912, 105 years ago today … a PRIZED day for generations of Cracker Jack lovers.
For that was the day, many agree, a hidden treasure was first found at the bottom of every box.
Thought to be introduced at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair by brothers F.W. and Louis Rueckheim, legend has it the caramel-coated treat got its name three years later when a salesman -- impressed by the process that kept the concoction from sticking together -- exclaimed in delight: “That’s cracker jack!”
In 1908, Cracker Jack got its big pop culture break when it was immortalized in the baseball classic “Take Me Out To the Ball Game,” forever linking it with our national pastime:
Take me out to the ball game
Take me out to the crowd
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
I don’t care if I never get back
Edward Meeker sings “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” recorded in 1908:
And while the tune remains unchanged, Cracker Jack’s prizes have come a long way. After those metal figurines of early years, lucky kids later began to extract toys like tops, whistles and pins of all descriptions.
And today, Cracker Jack rewards are anything but old hat: they’ve gone high tech -- and online. A sign of the times.
But whatever the prize, Cracker Jack remains a crunchy favorite for fans young and old alike. Chew on that!
- Cracker Jack gets 21st century makeover. Will fans bite? (CBS Moneywatch, 04/22/16)
- Caffeinated Cracker Jacks concerns consumer group (CBS News, 11/15/12)
- Healthiest, unhealthiest ballpark foods (pdf)
For more info:
- Cracker Jack (Frito Lay Company)