A Thanksgiving mix-up inspired the first TV dinners?
In 1953, a Swanson employee accidentally ordered a colossal shipment of Thanksgiving turkeys (260 tons, to be exact). To deal with the excess, salesman Gerry Thomas took inspiration from the prepared foods served on airplanes. He came up with the idea of filling 5,000 aluminum trays with the turkey – along with cornbread dressing, gravy, peas and sweet potatoes to complete the offering. The 98-cents meals were a hit, especially with kids and increasingly busy households.