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 tasty TV dinners during his short stay with us. Let’s take a look back at this fondly remembered food from yesteryear.
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.