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1960s Snack Pack Theatre

If somehow you have never seen a "snack pack" cereal box, these are single-serving boxes that can be opened along perforations on the front face. Because the box is lined with wax paper, you can pour milk right into, and eat the cereal right out of, the box. At least when I was a kid. I can't vouch for the box design today. Here's an image of a typical snack pack box from my day: http://theimaginaryworld.com/snacpac01.jpg

Now, I am not sure whether we got this idea from TV or whether we thought it up ourselves, but one day my brothers and I decided that we would use these boxes to make mini-theatres. Note on the image I posted of the snack pack box that if you score the perforated lines, you can pull open what looks like a set of doors. What we did is to open our snack pack boxes in this fashion, remove the cereal (I forget what we did with it), and construct a set for a skit, as if the inside of the box were a stage. We accomplished this my drawing or painting scenery on the inside of the box and I think in some cases adding small objects (probably out of clay or play-dough).

What did we create skits of? TV commercials--what else? The one skit I remember constructing was for a Heinz ketchup commercial in which people are waiting forever for the ketchup to leave the bottle--but this is a good thing because Heinz ketchup is "thick and rich." Pomp and circumstance begins playing when the ketchup finally starts emerging slowly from the bottle. In my cereal-box version, I drew a picture of a hamburger in the back of the box. Then I created a cardboard cut-out version of a bottle of Heinz ketchup. The cap was a separate piece. I attached a paper-clip to the back of the Heinz bottle and inserted the clip through the back of the box. This allowed me to tilt the cardboard ketchup bottle from an upright position to a position angling downward. I attached a separate handle to the cap with a slot that allowed me to pull off the cap and move it away from the bottle. To create the appearance of ketchup leaving the bottle, I cut two slits--one near the neck of the bottle when tilted downward, and a second slit right above the hamburger. I cut a piece of paper into a curved arc, colored half of it red, and threaded it through the two slits so the white part was showing. After removing the cap and tilting the bottle and beginning to sing Pomp and Circumstance, I pulled the paper through the slits to make a stream of red ketchup arc from the bottle onto the hamburger.

Our parents had gone out for much of the afternoon that day. When they returned, my brothers and I put on a show for them, demonstrating all of our cereal box theatre shows.

This was long before computers.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 24th, 2006 04:49 am (UTC)
I'm not sure why but, I recall that my mother would buy these single serving, cut open boxes only during the winter. After eating the cereal, we would remove the waxed paper and use it to create speed with our metal runner sleds. We would rub the wax from the cereal boxes onto the metal runners of our sleds. There was a noticeable increase in the speed that our sleds would go.
Jul. 24th, 2006 12:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Cereal
We used to rub bars of soap on our sled runners. I'm not sure whether the sleds went faster, but I'm sure that the snow was cleaner as a result.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )