Sunday, January 20, 2008

Speaking of Food Memories . . .


Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal ran a story on the end of the HyDrox cookie production and on their loyal but disappointed customers. In 2003, Kellogg's, today's owner of the product, pulled from the production lines this American cookie classic. Loyal followers have done everything possible including petitions and websites to convince the company to re-introduce the line, but to no avail. It seems that Oreo's, a top-ten snack seller and HyDrox' competitor, could not be challenged profitably and Kellogg's decided to stop trying.

Honestly, I was more of an Oreo fan but HyDrox, created by Sunshine Cookies in the early 1900's, was the original.

In the same issue, and on a more serious note, the Journal reported the death of Richard Knerr, co-founder of Wham-o Toys. Folks my age remember the Hula Hoop. Everyone knows the Frisbee, but they also invented Silly String, the Super Ball and the Slip & Slide. Few products of such simplicity become a part of a culture, the Hula-hoop was one of the first, the Frisbee maybe one of the biggest. I seem to remember a hula-hoop champion on the Ed Sullivan Show gyrating his body with a dozen rotating hula-hoops. I am not sure why we were fascinated by that but we were. Almost spellbound, actually.

There was an American quality to Wham-o's inventive products. They required a user's physical involvement, they could be easily mass produced and distributed -- and mass marketed, and of course, they were made of plastic, something new at the time of the hula-hoop. Besides Monopoly, Barbie, and a few other games and toys, it's hard to think of other products as widely known and loved.

3 comments:

Andrew said...

Anytime I see those old-time toys I think of the SNL skit with Dan Ackroyd where he's hawking the 'bag-o-glass' and the 'Johnny Switchblade'.

ms said...

Who made "Slinky"?

Francis Shivone said...

That's a good question. I remember reading an article once on the Slinky invention but can't remember the details. I'll find out. I remember like it was yesterday getting one for Christmas. And who can't recite the theme song?