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Online Collections

Hopalong Cassidy

lunch box

1950

Worried that its lunchboxes were too durable, the Nashville company Aladdin sought a way to encourage kids to buy new boxes every year rather than hanging onto the same sturdy one forever. The company hit on the most ephemeral of attractions: the pop icon. The newly introduced entertainment medium of television was already installed in millions of American homes by the 1950s. Why not emblazon lunchboxes with pictures of the latest and most popular TV shows? Aladdin's first such lunchbox was this one from 1950, covered with pictures of Hopalong Cassidy, one of the most popular TV heroes of the day. Selling a whopping 600,000 Hopalong Cassidy lunchboxes the very first year, the company knew the time for mass-market merchandising had come. "Overnight," the company said, "the mundane, boring lunchbox trade became big business." Ever since, lunchboxes have been a kind of barometer for popularity in American culture. What lunchbox themes are popular with kids today?

ManufacturerAladdin Industries, Inc.
Materialpainted metal | decal
OriginNashville, TN
LicenserWilliam Boyd, Ltd.
Object ID93.1143

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