Cracker Jack Toys

Posted December 6, 1998 at 1:48 am 13 Comments

Is it just me, or have the toys that come with Cracker Jacks really gone to shit lately?  I remember back when I used to ask my dad buy me a box of Cracker Jacks at the baseball game even when I wasn’t hungry, just because I wanted the toy.  Back then, Cracker Jacks came in a box, and the toys were things like magnifying lenses, plastic trucks, and secret message decoders made of red cellophane.   These days, Cracker Jacks come in a bag, just like every other snack food around, and the so-called “toys” are nothing more than stupid little pieces of paper.   They still use the little sailor boy mascot with his dog, which I suppose is cool, but the “GUESS WHAT’S INSIDE?” message written on the cover of each toy kind of loses its meaning when all the toys are just little squares of cardboard that are indistinguishable by feel.  Today I’d like to take a few minutes to explain Why Cracker Jack Toys Suck.

cj0.jpg (21000 bytes)
The outside cover of
a Cracker Jack “toy”.

cj1.jpg (15109 bytes)
Setup for the “Micro Magic Trick”
from the Cracker Jacks box.

Exhibit A: This “toy” came in a box of Cracker Jacks I bought last week.  It’s what the clever people at Cracker Jack call a “magic trick”.  Here are the instructions:

Separate the four cards and place all but the Micro Magic card in a row.  Tell your friend that you can predict what he likes best about Cracker Jack®.  Place the Micro Magic card face up and ask your friend to slide it to his favorite — popcorn, peanuts, or toy.

cj2.jpg (14653 bytes)
The trick’s amazing conclusion.
Notice how the back of the peanuts
card says “YOU WILL CHOOSE

Sound fine so far?  Here’s the kicker:

Turn over the card that your friend selects and show him the message on the other side.  Whatever your friend picks, you will have predicted it.

Pretty amazing, huh?  I’ll bet nobody will be able to figure that one out.   If the people at Cracker Jack were smart they would modify the trick so that it had just two cards, “popcorn” and “toy surprise”, and on the back of both of them it would say “YOU WILL CHOOSE POPCORN”, since you can be pretty damn sure that nobody’s going to pick “toy surprise” with toys like this.

Exhibit B: The assembly instructions for a Cracker Jack “Blowracer”.  In case you’re having trouble reading the instructions, I’ll summarize them for you:

  1. Take the little piece of cardboard we gave you and tear out the four corners.
  2. Fold the flaps down.
  3. Congratulations!  You’ve succeeding in transforming a standard piece of cardboard into a standard piece of cardboard with some folds in it!
cj4.jpg (19127 bytes)

My Blowracer was called the “Air Rocket”.  It was number two in a series of five.  “Collect all five,” the instructions suggested, “and you can race your friends!  Then see how far you can drive them in one breath!   Try making jumps and doing some stunt racing!”  No thanks.  If I really wanted more I could just take a piece of notebook paper and make 15 of them.I suppose that you might enjoy Blowracers if you’re the sort of person who’s fascinated by the idea that when you put a piece of paper on the table and blow on it, it actually moves forward.  But I think that most people will agree with me when I say that Blowracers really blow. cj3.jpg (23396 bytes)


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  1. Yeah i miss all the cool old toys that you could actually play with and choke on

    Comment by Dave — March 27, 2006 #

  2. I have about 30 of the “original” plastic toys framed as a “Tree of Life” (planes, animals, cars, etc.). How do I find the value? Thank you, Jody Tate Sackmann

    Comment by Jody Sackmann — April 2, 2006 #

  3. what is the name of the little boy on the front of the box

    Comment by cameron campbell — June 12, 2006 #

  4. We call him Cracker.

    Comment by Nicolas Cage — August 11, 2006 #

  5. Yes, the toys definitely suck these days.

    Also, the front of each package of Cracker Jacks that I buy says it contains “Caramel Coated Popcorn and Peanuts”. Uh, peanuts? Where? I know there used to be peanuts in there.

    Also, according to the package of Cracker Jacks that I ate today, the boy’s name is Jack, and his dog’s name is Bingo.

    Comment by Ben — September 18, 2006 #

  6. I believe…..The little boy on the box is “Sailor Jack”

    Comment by Annette Whited — January 18, 2007 #

  7. hmmm… last comment didn’t show up…

    I was just wondering if Annette married a Barker and if she remembers anything before that…lol

    Comment by Danny — April 5, 2007 #

  8. well….. i want to know why there is a salior on the bag! It just seems weird a salior! maybe bc crakerjacks started back in like world war 2 or something. just curious. my mom loved the crackerjack toys when she was a kid!

    Comment by sydney — April 9, 2007 #

  9. I have 2 metal soldiers that I was told were early Cracker Jack toys way back. Does anyone know if that is true? I can’t find them on any of the websites for Cracker Jack.

    Comment by Pam — July 2, 2007 #

  10. I have some crackerjack mini baseball cards and I would like to know something about them.

    Comment by Penny — May 5, 2008 #

  11. The last actual toy they had was a small plastic red/yellow carousel horse, with a suction cup on the bottom.

    Comment by chuk — December 4, 2008 #

  12. My kid got a papercut on one of these new “toys”. Anyone know a good lawyer. I want to sue.

    Comment by Richard — January 26, 2009 #

  13. When I was a kid I used to get the toys, meaning the good one’s from back in the days and then light them on fire for no reason. I would do the same thing with the little Army men that came in this bag. What you would do is light a feww of them on fire and then set the one Army guy holding the flame thrower as if he was shooting it at them. In the backgroud I would put screaming music to make it sound like the little plastic army guys were screaming. Man, those were the days and now all we have for kids is Xbox

    Comment by Joey Chezzendornski — June 5, 2009 #

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