Fritos Twist Record

Fritos Twist Record

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This 78 rpm record was made by the PAMS (Production, Advertising, Merchandising Service) production company in February 1962 for the Frito-Lay company to promote its Fritos snack food with a dedicated jingle, the “Frito-Twist.” The disc’s white paper label bears the Fritos and PAMS logos on both sides. Side A plays “The Frito Twist,” and Side B contains the instructional “How to Twist.” (In earlier versions of this promotional record, side A featured “Dallas: My Home Town” with “The Frito Twist” on side B.) The music for the “Frito Twist” was written by Euel Box, a Dallas-based composer and arranger best known for his work on the “Benji” movies of the 1970s and 80s, and a music director for the PAMS company. The sound engineer on the recording was Dick McGrew (as noted in the fine print along the edge of the record).The Dallas-based PAMS production company was founded in 1951 by William B. Meeks, Jr., often credited as the creator of the musical station break. In the 1950s-1970s, advertisers looked to music and dedicated jingles to help promote their products. They aimed branded dance fads in particular at teenagers and young adults.
This record was purchased by Kaleta Doolin, whose father, C.E. Doolin, founded The Frito Company in 1935. Though she did not remember the release of the original recording (she was 12 years old at the time), she later learned how to dance the Twist. This record is part of a collection of objects and archival materials on the Doolin family and the Frito Company donated by Kaleta Doolin, the daughter of C.E. Doolin. See Frito Company Records, 1924-1961, #1263, NMAH Archives Center.
C.E. Doolin launched “Fritos” in 1932, inspired by a recipe he had purchased from Gustavo Olguin, a Mexican-American restaurant owner in San Antonio, where Doolin had worked as a fry cook. Olguin’s “fritos” (the name came from the Spanish word frit, meaning fried) were small fried corn chips made from masa dough. Doolin bought the recipe, Olguin’s hand-operated potato ricer, and nineteen customer accounts for the snack, all for $100. He then patented his own device for extruding the masa dough through a cutter, which produced ribbon-like strips that were then fried in hot oil. Doolin marketed the chips as an ingredient in recipes, many of which were inspired by his mother Daisy Dean Stephenson Doolin’s dishes for entertaining. The chips were used in both sweet and savory preparations, including as crust for fruitcakes, breading for salmon croquettes, and garnish for tuna salad.
In 1945 Doolin connected with Herman Lay, famous for automating the manufacturing process of potato chips and the head of H.W. Lay & Co. Lay took on the nationwide distribution of Fritos at this time. Doolin passed away in 1959, and in 1961 The Frito Company officially merged with H.W. Lay & Co. to become Frito-Lay. Frito-Lay went on to develop more products (including the wildly popular snack foods Cheetos and Doritos) and become the largest snack conglomerate in the world. Initially promoted as an ingredient in foods for entertaining, Fritos were advertised mostly to children, both in print and television campaigns and via cartoon characters such as the cowboy-inspired “Frito Kid.”
Fritos were most successful as a standalone snack. Following the success of the commercial potato chip in the 1930s, there was a growing market for other salty snacks and pre-packaged foods to be eaten on the go and in-between meals. The creation of “snack time” as a new type of American meal helped bolster the popularity of Doolin’s invention. The packaging of these snacks would also prove revolutionary—before 1900, snack foods and sweets were sold in small paper bags and portioned out by the grocer or shop owner. As manufacturers experimented with cans and glassine bags and materials such as wax paper and cellophane, they found new ways to keep food fresh and vacuum-packed until the customer opened it. Over the second half of the twentieth century, snack foods would develop into a $22 billion dollar industry.
The Frito Twist on Youtube
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Object Name
date made
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
black (overall color)
overall: 6 7/8 in; x 17.4625 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Kaleta A. Doolin
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Work and Industry: Food Technology
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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