Libbyland Dinners

Libbyland Dinners

With a white suit and cowboy hat, accentuated with a snappy orange scarf, he endeared himself to children everywhere by offering the little buckaroos an alternative to boring adult food. He was Libby the Kid (that’s Billy the kid spelled sideways … sort of) and he wrangled up some flavorful Libbyland TV dinners in the 70s, perfectly tailored to a kid’s tastes.

Libby the kid was the lovable mascot for Libbyland dinners, which gave kids the pleasure of injecting a little adventurous fun into their food experience. With offerings like “Safari Supper,” “Pirate Picnic,” “Sea Divers Dinner” and “Sundown Supper,” gourmet didn’t exactly work into the equation; these were geared towards a prepubescent palette. Little hot dogs, fish sticks, hamburgers and chicken patties, served with potatoes or tater tots were the fare of the day. Many may also have fond (or not-so-fond) memories of the chocolate pudding, which, after spending close to an hour in a 400-degree oven, bore a striking resemblance to molten lava. Of course, should you singe your tongue, never fear – there was a handy packet of Nestles’ chocolate milk mix included in every dinner.

The packaging itself was fun, offering a number of puzzles to enjoy while you ate. And as you reached the bottom of each section of the tray, there awaited an embossed character smiling at you – apparently pleased that you finished your food.

Libbyland dinners were on the market from 1971-1976, before they sadly ascended into food heaven. But, for the brief time they lasted, they made quite an impression. And through it all was Libby the Kid. He was perfectly capable of outwitting any villain (even the dastardly Mean Gene) who might try to steal the rations Billy was sworn to dutifully deliver to famished tykes around the country.

If you managed to consume a few of these kid-friendly dinners in your youth, or if you frantically pointed to the television screen every time one of the commercials played, trying desperately to convince your parents to drop a few in the shopping cart, we want to hear from you. Share your memories of Libbyland dinners in our comments section, as we fondly remember this little slice of our past, a meal fit for a kid.

36 Responses to “Libbyland Dinners”

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  1. Kapatsos says:

    I wish they still made them.

  2. Jennifer harris says:

    I don’t remember these.

  3. Robert Wolff says:

    Begged my parents to get these when I saw the commercials (never saw the Deep Sea Diver’s Dinner, but got one of each of Safari Supper, Pirate Supper, and Cowboy Supper). Ugh! Back to good old Swanson’s for me.

  4. Eric Schwalbe says:

    I LOVED these, wasn’t a big fan of chicken patties or fish sticks but I did chow down many a Pirate Picnic (with the hot dog) and Sundown Supper (which I recall only had a single burger although some commercials on YouTube said double patties). I used to pull the Sundown Supper from the oven about 5 minutes early and put a piece of Velveeta on the burger patty so I could have a cheeseburger. The hot dogs were scarcely bigger than a cocktail frank and the buns used to get hard as a rock . . . YUM. Also the pudding edges would get extra done almost like a brownie. It was my childhood and we all wanna go back. Oh, to have one again. If I had kept one in the freezer for the past 35 years, it would probably taste the same.

    • Lisa Hemphill-Dubord says:

      I loved these too! I’m so happy to find this commercial and pictures of them. My sister and I had to eat these outside in the warm weather because the fun dinners prompted food fights!

      Yes, I would love to see these in the stores again!

  5. Andy Verderame says:

    You almost got this correct. It was – Libby the Kid (that’s Billy the kid spelled [b]sideways[/b] … sort of).

  6. Cheryl says:

    Looking at the pictures, I can STILL taste them! Good times!

  7. Alanna says:

    I remember the ads, these used to be special treats on the rare occasion someone was getting a break from the kitchen–better than a drive to Speck Chicken or A&W I suppose. I can still remember the brownies :) great memories from the commercials.

  8. Karen says:

    My parents use to let us get these when they were going out. I don’t remember the food but always looked forward to eating them. There was something special about eating out of the tin foil compartments.

  9. kapatsos says:

    what a great thing for kids to grow up with

  10. Judy says:

    I loved these – they were a Wednesday night treat both for me and my mother (I ate them, she didn’t have to cook). I don’t recall getting chocolate milk mix in them, though. Loved the cute little hot dog and bun!

  11. Ally says:

    I have no memory of the food itself, but my sibs and I LIVED for that chocolate milk!

  12. Bob W says:

    I remember getting these when we were kids. My father would buy them and we were grateful as he was terrible at cooking and anythng was better than that! I would get the Sundown supper, my brother the Safari supper and sister the Pirate Picnic. what they didn’t finish, I would! what great memories they bring back. I wish they still made em as I would still buy them!

  13. Libbyland Jane says:

    These were better than eating out! Loved the hamburgers! I’ll bet even if they DID make a comeback, they’d cut corners or use GMO. You can’t beat vintage times!

  14. Tiffanie says:

    I LOVED these and no one ever knows what I’m talking about, until NOW!!! Nothing has ever come close to being like these again, with the puzzles, themes, drink and dessert included. We could sit there long after the food was gone. I’ve always said they were kind of like TVs for us!!

  15. Patty says:

    Anyone remember if these also came with a rootbeer flavored milk packet? If this is the same thing, I LOVED them!

  16. Julie says:

    I remembEr these! I mainly recall my mother frowning upon the fact that they contained no green vegetable. But she was a sweetie, and would let me have one now and again. And I remember fondly “Billy the Kid spelled sideways…sort of.”. :^D

  17. RICH says:

    I can still remember that taste. We ate these on most Friday nights, (parents night out) we loved them!
    I wonder why they only had a 6 year run?

  18. Ate these a lot when the folks went out on a Friday night. I loved these dinners!

  19. Robert Perlberg says:

    I got my mother to get me one of these. She had this stubborn thing about not following instructions and she burned it. Then she wouldn’t get it again because I didn’t finish it.

  20. Paul Thomas says:

    I remember these dinners. I was a terrible eater so mom would buy these sometimes to get me to eat all of my dinner. My favorite was the sundown dinner, loved the artwork. I can still taste the tin and the hot dogs were yummy.

  21. Veronica Gelakoska says:

    Wow! Did not know this was such a cultish collectible! I ate these regularly and mom enrolled me in the Libbyland fan club. I just found my Libbyland B Day card and put it up on eBay for fun!

    Now that you mention it, that chocolate pudding was scortchin’ hot!! Yowza!

  22. lisa hergenrothed says:

    Coming from a family of nine. I was the second to last and my mom always tried to make us feel special. Mine was after kindergarten 1/2 session – she would have one ready every Thursday for lunch. What a great memory!!!!

  23. julio -sabu-Fernandez-k-a says:

    In the 70’s this was the cool kids dinner . For the love of God , I could not remember the name of this product ; thanks to the internet Here we are together again — loved this stuff 1970 I was 9 yrs old .

  24. Jeff Heeszel says:

    I was probably about 8 or so years old. It was a very rare and special occasion when my mom would buy these for my brother and myself, such as when my parents went out of town and we had a baby sitter. I remember they seemed to take FOREVER to cook as we waited in anticipation for them. I definitely remember the super-heated pudding and thought that was an odd way of eating it.
    I don’t have too many memories of how it all tasted, just all the fanfare and utter coolness of the whole presentation.

    There are some postings on Youtube of the original commercials.

  25. Lamont says:

    Pudding? I thought that was a brownie. Seriously though,I never saw one in real life, Mom insisted on following the Canada Food Guide, so lack of greens was a deal-breaker. But the commercials – that one line (“sideways”) sparked a life-long interest in spoonerisms and their ilk. So I never had dot hogs or stricken chips without a side of chalk boy or stellary six. Sort of.

  26. DAVE N says:

    I remember my Mom was the Queen of frozen dinners, and she wouldn’t buy this for us. What’s the next best thing, go to Grandma’s and say “Mom buy’s these for us all the time”. That is how I got my Libbyland dinner’s until my Mom saw them in Grandma’s freezer. That stopped those.
    I don’t remember them being awful, but you could never make out what the dessert was suppose to be, and I loved the Magic Milk.

  27. Leslie P says:

    I loved Libbyland Dinners as a kid. If I was told correctly, Richmond, Virginia was a test market, so we got them a little bit earlier than the rest of the country. In the beginning they did not come with Nestle Chocolate milk, but came with packets of sometimes really off-the-wall flavors for milk – like root beer (definitely not my favorite). Perhaps a Milk Magic was what those packets were, like you have in your picture of a Libbyland Dinner. They weren’t regular fare in our household, but we sure enjoyed them when we got them!

  28. Johnny C. says:

    My mom practically raised me on TV dinners but I totally forgot about these. Now I remember making a panorama from the packaging. I soon graduated to Hungry Man though. Thanks for reminding me about these.

  29. Dina says:

    I used to love these! The packaging was great with the puzzles and activities, very colorful. My favorite was the little hamburger and the pudding. My Mom always cut up carrots and celery or apples for us to eat with it.

  30. Dan says:

    I remember the commercials, particularly the “spelled sideways… sort of”!

    I never actually tried the dinners Asa kid, but definitely liked the commercials.

  31. Dan says:

    If it says Libby Libby Libby on the label label label you will like it like it like it on your table table table!

  32. Sharon Veronica says:

    I loved these! The boxes were fun, the brownies (who knew they were pudding!) were good (dessert!) and the little smiling faces under each food item was like finding buried treasure :) I loved Libbyland dinners because they were FUN! Oddly, I don’t remember the magic milk mix, but I suppose it was there 😉 I’ll take your word on that! Maybe my 2 sisters drank mine! LOL. I wish they’d bring these back in the stores. I’ve seen cute kids TV dinners in the Save-A-Lot supermarkets (Libbyland knockoffs), but nothing compares to the real thing!

  33. Kate says:

    Loved these! My parents got them for me on the nights they left me with a babysitter. I only remember having Pirate’s Picnic and Sea Diver’s Dinner, but Safari Supper looks familiar. Totally forgot about the milk packet. My favorite part was folding up the boxes and finding the designs at the bottom of the tray 😀

  34. Bunny says:

    I loved these! I always bugged my mom for one at the store and had to try each new variety as it showed up. I liked the stories on the box and also, the “milk magic” mix packs weren’t all chocolate – the “magic” part was you didn’t know what color or flavor it was going to turn your milk, it was a surprise to find out. It’s good to know other people liked them as well because it seems like nowadays people just want to make fun of them when they actually tasted pretty good – let’s just say MUCH better than your average school cafeteria food.

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