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OMAHA FIRM MARKS 40 YEARS OF TV DINNERS

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The TV dinner has turned 40.

Swanson, an Omaha-based company, took the (aluminum) wraps off the first TV dinner product April 6, 1954.Swanson held a ceremony Wednesday to mark the occasion. The featured guest was Betty Cronin, a developer of the original product. Swanson calls her "the mother of the TV dinner."

Cronin said the idea evolved when Clarke and Gilbert Swanson, sons of the company founder, "realized what a strong hold television had on the nation. They knew that a portable meal that could be consumed while watching TV in the living room would be a big success."

Today, Swanson is one of several lines of frozen dinners that come in containers meant to be used both for heating and serving. The advent of the microwave oven has changed most of these containers from aluminum to paper or plastic.

Campbell Soup Co. liked Swanson TV dinners so much that it bought the company in 1955, just one year after the product was launched. The Swanson line is still manufactured in Omaha.