The Greatest Invention of the 1950's?


Late Night TV King, Johnny Carson, died last year.  Now, Gerry Thomas is gone.   If you've ever pulled a serving tray over your knees while sitting to watch the flickering light coming from a rectangular box in the living room, you should know Gerry Thomas.

Mr. Thomas is the inventor of the frozen TV dinner.  He passed away today at age 83.

Paradise Valley, Arizona is the final resting place for this hero of modern convenience. But his story is traced to Omaha, Nebraska.  Mr. Thomas was a salesman for Omaha—based Swanson and Sons in the 1950's when he first proposed the invention which changed the way we watch television.  Who would ever dream of watching The Honeymooners without something to shovel into our empty stomachs?  You think Ralph Kramden missed many meals?  Or about when the channel was turned to Uncle Milty?  The prospect of seeing a man in a dress and apron and not having a hot meal?  Preposterous!

Through the years, of course, every red—blooded American male with taste buds has partaken of Gerry Thomas' gift to bachelorhood.  The things we watch may have changed, but the grub in a box is still a staple.  And now that I'm married, has the freezer been retired as a source of sustenance?  Not on your life.  When a man wants what he wants, he wants it now and he wants it hot.  Sometimes the wife is not so accommodating.

J. James Estrada   7 20 05