6 fascinating facts about Fritos corn chips
The popular snack has ties to Bugs Bunny, Disneyland and the L.A. Dodgers.
Top image: Thinkstock
Today is National Corn Chip Day? Didn't have your calendar marked for that one? No worries. We've got some crispy trivia about the pioneering corn chip, Fritos.
Over eight decades ago, a man in Southwest Texas named C. E. Doolin deep fried some masa and the Frito was born. Over the years, the Frito has become a favorite snack and an ingredient for some ingenious junk food. Here are six things you might not know about Fritos.
1. The snack dates back to 1932, a decade before mass produced tortilla chips.
As unlikely as it seems in hindsight, the Frito has a longer commercial history than the tortilla chip, which was first sold out of L.A. in the 1940s. Four years ago, Frito-Lay celebrated the 80th birthday of the corn chip, which means the Frito is the same age as Debbie Reynolds.
2. Mel Blanc was the voice of Frito Bandito.
The Frito Kid, a blonde cartoon cowboy, was the original product mascot of Fritos until 1967. He was replaced by Frito Bandito, a chip bandit who was pursued by the "Frito Bureau of Investigation." The defamatory caricature was buried in 1971. Though the Bandito was a rather regretful creation, he did have some animation legends behind him. Looney Tunes icon Tex Avery drew the guy and Mel Blanc provided the voice, which was essentially just Speedy Gonzales.
3. The company later had a mascot based on comedian W.C. Fields.
The company replaced F.B. with W.C. Frito, who was modeled after vaudeville funnyman W.C. Fields. The comedian had passed away three decades prior, but apparently retained enough cultural clout to sell snack food to families. Then again, a Groucho Marx stork was pitching pickles.
Image: Fritos commercial, 1973
4. Casa de Fritos was the first Mexican restaurant in Disneyland.
Opening in 1955 and relocating to Frontierland in 1957, this Mexican joint featured a giant animatronic Fritos dispenser that depicted the Frito Kid before of a gold mine set into a hill. Kids would pop in a nickel and the Frito Kid would announce to his unseen miner friend, "Someone else knows what’s good. Another bag of Fritos, Klondike!" A bag would tumble down the rock slide. "They are dark and salted too, Fritos best for you!" Klondike would sing.
5. The Frito Pie is also known as the Walking Taco and the Texas Straw Hat, depending on where you live.
We hope you have had the pleasure of this ingenious treat. Chili and other assorted nacho and taco toppings are dumped into an open bag of Fritos. Eat with a fork (or a spork, if you have one). In the Midwest, especially around Ohio State games, this sack of goodness is called a Walking Taco. In Texas, some refer to it as a Straw Hat. Elsewhere, it is typically called a Frito Pie.
Image: AP Photo / Matthew Mead
6. You can get a Frito Pie Hot Dog at Dodger Stadium and AT&T Stadium.
The popularity of the Frito Pie has grown over the last decade, from Chicago's super popular taco spot Big Star to sports arenas around the land. If you catch a ballgame in Los Angeles, buy a Frito Pie dog at Dodger Stadium. Cowboys fans can chomp on one in their Dallas megaplex, too.