When we opened a box of Cracker Jack, we could hardly wait to find the toy surprise
inside. It was always in the bottom of the box. What would it be? A plastic figure such as a tiny animal, airplane, whistle, or a ring? As kids, we looked forward as much to the prize inside as to the great taste of the snack in the box.
Cracker Jack was introduced at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. It got its name of “Cracker Jack” after an enthusiastic man who sampled it remarked “That’s a crackerjack!” He meant it was exceptionally good.
In 1908 Cracker Jack got lots of free publicity when the song, “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” became popular. It included these lines: “Take me out to the ball game; take me out to the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack. . .” This confection was packaged in a red, white and blue box with a picture of Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo on the Cracker Jack box cover. On June 16, 1993, the 100th anniversary of Cracker Jack was celebrated at Wrigley Field during the game between the Cubs and the expansion Florida Marlins. Before the game, Sailor Jack, the company mascot, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
There are no longer prizes in the Cracker Jack boxes. But who can forget that thrill of opening the toy surprise inside? So, thank you, Cracker Jack for what you were. Thanks for the good times and the memories of something special from our childhood days.
By Doris Stensland – February, 2014