Monday, March 5, 2012

From the Frozen Foods Dept.: Libbyland Dinners

Libbyland Frozen Dinners
Company: Libby's
Years: 1971-1976

1972 Libbyland Sea Diver's TV Dinner Box
Photo by Gregg Koenig

If there is one thing we've learned in life, it's that sometimes things that are beautiful on the outside can be ugly on the inside.  Libbyland Dinners were just this: A work of art on a cardboard and tinfoil canvas. It's just too bad that the food (and I use the term food loosely) on the inside was, well, not tasty or healthy or anything we require from food in this day and age. But, in it's defense, it was marketed to kids, and kids will eat a bowl of dirt if they think there is a prize at the bottom.  This is what made these meals legendary to kids of the 70's: They were awesome for all the wrong reasons. You bought them for the fun, not the food.

Libbyland cel
Photo by Grickily
Libby the Kid was Libbyland's mascot, and he didn't just bring kids processed microwave meals. Oh no. He brought them adventure. You could choose from Safari Supper, Sea Divers Dinner, Pirate Picnic, or Sundown Supper. Each box had fun and games on it, and it popped up into a cool scene you could look at as you tried to choke down the little hot dogs, or tater tots, or fish sticks, or chicken patties, or blazing hot pudding, or grape infused applesauce, or any of the other items not fit for consumption by anyone over the age of 11.

The trays were also pretty freaking cool too - embossed with little images of different Libbyland characters.
Hey, there should be some sort of reward for cleaning your plate, er, tray. 
Libbyland Dinner inside tray
image by emeraldtoys
Libbyland Newspaper Ad - 1971
Libbyland newspaper Ad 1971

They had a good run in the early 70's, but the world just wasn't ready to say "Food be damned! Give me an awesome package to look at, and a tray that makes me smile! And molten hot pudding! Rich, chocolate, fire pudding! AHAHAHAHAHahahahahahahah!" 5 years and they were gone.


  1. Man, I loved these so much! I remember me and my sister running to the frozen section at the store to pick 'em out.

  2. My brother and I got these on the weekend sometimes as a treat.

  3. OMG...I had COMPLETELY forgotten about these! I had them sometimes as a kid. We ate a good bit of froze food & Hamburger Helper growing up. I can't remember whether I LIKED them or not, but I decidedly recall the attractive packaging upon seeing your post!

  4. Yes! Delicious and nutri....well, they were fun and we loved 'em!

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  6. Libbyland Dinners may not have been the healthiest of dining options, but I have only the warmest memories of them.

  7. So glad to find these. I thought they were a figment of my imagination! Teeheehee

  8. Came to this blog in pursuit of Bacon Cream Oreos. Thought I'd look around, and when I saw the "Frozen" aisle, the FIRST thing that came to mind was Libbyland dinners! I mainly remember the root beer (and purple grape) flavored milk additives.

  9. My sister and I loved these when we were kids; I still recall the taste of those little macaroni hoops in the Sea Diver's Dinner (unusual, but not bad), and remember all too well having problems with the hot pudding. Then there were the commercials: "Libby the Kid! That's Billy the Kid spelled sideways ... sort of!"

  10. Yashashree Food Product is fast growing dairy milk products manufacturing company in Pune area. All products are Frozen Milk Dairy Products and can be utilize up to 90 days. We are processing around 2500 Lit of Milk every day.

    1. I do remember one of the chapters in one of my economics textbooks looked at the market for milk in India. The example was how regulation and inspection made it possible for responsible manufacturers to find a market for pure products, ones that didn't make people sick. So Yashashree Food Product is probably producing fine products that would be especially good to stock at home for power failure season, or snow season, or for camping. :)

  11. wow, this one really brought back memories. your description is spot on. if I close my eyes I can taste the half frozen half burnt hot dog buns and mystery meat tube. the food was positively disgusting but I didn't care

  12. Oh, MAN!

    Being around 10 years old and having these with the purple pudding/dessert montrosity?


  13. Milk Magic! The only good part and I miss it still...

  14. Wow, I vaguely remember those. Yup, the old TV dinners, before microwaves were commonplace. I remember those things would take about a half hour to cook in the conventional oven. But, damn, I loved them.

  15. Yesterday, my 53 year old daughter had a strong memory of Libbyland Dinners. She sent a quiz to her three siblings to learn if anyone remembered the name of the frozen dinner Mom would prepare when she and Dad were going out. How well, I remember my children's delight in having these dinners! Thanks for the memories. One thing - Swanson introduced the first and only TV Dinner. The competition produced mere frozen dinners. One of the aluminum trays is in the Smithsonian Institute.

  16. OMG Ihad forgotten about this!
    So cool.
    I LOVED them!!

  17. I remember these rather fondly from my grandmother's house. They were definitely different than the other TV dinners on the market. I remember one of them came with Grape Milk, and I do remember that being awful!

  18. I remember these. As an 8 year old kid, I loved them.

  19. I actually used to like these. Boy, kids are dumb.