Of all the fast food places one could eat, far and away my favorite has always been Long John Silver’s. I’ve had a tumultuous love/hate relationship with the chain during my 42 years on this Earth, but I’d wager that there was more love than hate over the years. The last time I mentioned the fast food chain on the site was during a particularly unfortunate period for the restaurant where the quality of the food and the atmosphere was sliding down into the murky depths of oblivion. I’d visited the closest location at the time (2006, the first full year of this site) and had the first meal there in well over a decade of missing the place, and at the time I thought it would certainly be my last. Of course Long John Silvers is a harsh mistress and a tough one to quit outright, and after a few years I found my way back to the chain and had plenty of fun and positive new experiences.
Before I dive into the meat of this piece, let’s take a minute to appreciate a couple of Long John Silver’s commercials from the mid-80s, and the peak of when my family would have visited the seafood chain.
Chicken Planks were my jam as a kid. Those, a few paper cups full of tartar sauce, hushpuppies, a side of crumbs and a slice of pecan pie. Jesus, saying it out loud it seems like a huge feast. No wonder I was such a fat kid.
I’ve written and podcasted about the restaurant a couple times since I started this site, and for those of you brave enough to listen to my 28 year-old self on his first foray into podcasting, I’m gonna put that old Long John Silver’s Branded episode right here…
Even though I’ve mentioned the chain on the site before, there’s always been a nagging feeling in the back of my head that I hadn’t exercised the chain from my system. I think there’s always been a piece of me that wanted some small piece of memorabilia for my collection, some scrap of vintage ephemera that represented my relationship with the eatery in a tangible way. Well, last year I came into possession of a magical piece of Long John Silvers kitsch that was the missing puzzle piece. This story started last August when friend of the site and all around rad gentleman, Todd from Neato Coolville, posted a couple of pictures from his collection of vintage Long John Silver’s items to celebrate the chain’s 50th anniversary. One of those items, an old paper soda cup (lovingly labeled as a Scooner of Coke) hit me very hard nostalgic memory-wise. I completely remember using those cups and immediately tried to figure out how I could get my hands on a piece like that. The search was pretty fruitless, though there were plenty of affordable vintage paper pirate hats to be found. One of the hats was not quite what I had in mind, so I kind of gave up.
A couple of months or so later and I received an amazing early Christmas gift from my good pal HooveR (who know co-hosts the rad 4 Million Years Later Transformers podcast.) He managed to procure a vintage LJS Treasure Chest kid’s meal container in almost brand spanking new condition! I was completely taken aback and weirdly stoked to be holding this piece of 33 year-old paper magic.
I wish I could say that I remember getting a bunch of these as a kid, but like I mentioned above, I was all about full-sized adult dinner at LJS. That being said, this thing is so awesome and it perfectly encapsulates my hope of what I could find for my collection. Though it may not have the same kind of licensed graphics of old school McDonalds Happy Meals or Burger King Kid’s Meals, this 1986 LJS meal is just as awesome with the whole treasure chest theme. In fact, it also reminds me of the larger scale cardboard treasure boxes full of cheap toys that my dentist office used to have. So I’m kind of getting residual nostalgia from that experience!
Like most kid’s meals, these also came with toys or trinkets, but as an extra cool bonus, they were hidden underneath a trap door at the bottom of the box!
The whole treasure map false bottom is such a fun component of this box. Sadly, I don’t live anywhere near a Long John Silver’s these days, but there is a part of me that want’s to make a two hour road trip just so that I can run inside and beg them to fill this thing with all of the batter crumbs it’ll hold. Outside of that, I think this has done it. I think I’ve finally been able to exercise the Long John Silver’s nostalgia via this Treasure Chest kid’s meal. Now, if I can’t fill it with crumbs, I wonder what the next best thing is? M.U.S.C.L.E. Men? Garbage Pail Kids? My collection of read-along books on cassettes?!
Finally, I’ll leave you with a gigantic supercut of Long John Silvers commercials. Over an hour of ridiculous fun and artery-clogging seafood action that makes me long for a bucket of greasy crumbs. Enjoy!