@Swanson_TV September 10

Coach4aday blog posts are written by John Rancke and I. We write daily about leadership, food, people, music, our granddaughters, Lumberton NC, and things that pique our curiosity.
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September 10, 2018 National TV Dinner day

Post by John Rancke

Who would have ever thought it would work back in 1953 at C.A. Swanson & Son’s when they introduced the prepackaged meal. Color TV wasn’t even around and there was already food to sit on the TV tray to watch “Bonanza” and “The Wonderful World of Disney” on Sunday evenings when they began showing in all their vibrant color.

My co-author Dan hasn’t shared with me the reader numbers by age brackets on Coach4aday but I wonder if he and I are the only two that remember a world without color TV on Sunday night!

So in 1962. Swanson dropped the term “TV Dinner”. But the American public didn’t. I can’t remember if June ever told Ward Cleaver she was tired of cooking and that he could eat a TV dinner when he got home.


It was a rough time with those early TV Dinners. No microwave was available, so you had to warm them up in the oven. Now an oven loves to dry out anything you put into it as opposed to a microwave (throw a damp paper towel in the microwave and your food will stay moist).

TV Dinners 4[6916]

BUNKY never understood how easy warming leftovers was and refused to use the microwave always drying food out in the oven. But those days are passed sadly.

The first Swanson TV Dinner consisted of a Thanksgiving meal of turkey, cornbread dressing, peas and sweet potatoes. The original tray was made of aluminum and each food item had separate compartments. The dinner had to be heated in the oven and took about 25 minutes to cook. Today most frozen food trays are made of microwaveable safe material. THANK YOU JESUS!
The original product sold for 98 cents and the production estimate for the first year was 5,000 dinners. To their surprise, Swanson far exceeded that amount and in the first year, sold more than 10 million of them.
• 1960 – Swanson added desserts to a new four-compartment tray.
• 1969 – The first TV breakfasts were marketed. Great Starts Breakfasts and breakfast sandwiches followed later.
• 1973 – The first Swanson Hungry-Man dinners were marketed; these were larger portions of its regular dinner products.
• 1986 – The first microwave oven-safe trays were marketed.
• 1986 – The Smithsonian Institute inducted the original Swanson TV Dinner tray into the Museum of American History.

TV Dinners 3

And today, we can buy almost anything we want to eat in a nice compartmentalized container in our local grocery store. Unless you don’t like a lot of sodium which I don’t so I just heat up the leftover pizza from last night. Ain’t America a GREAT Country!!


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