The proverb “Necessity is the mother of invention” says a lot about how inventors look at life. Many inventors go their whole life without recognition for their creativity while others are household names. February 11 is National Inventors Day so today, I am giving a nod to two Dallas brothers who helped start America's obsession for fried food. In 1938, brothers Neil and Carl Fletcher were offered a unique opportunity to run a food booth at Fair Park. Both men had spent years marveling at the lack of cuisine offered to the Park patrons and knew they had an opportunity on their hands. According to Neil, there was a local baker on Oak Lawn Ave. who served a dish of hot dogs baked in cornmeal in the shape of an ear of corn, and while it tasted good, the process was time-consuming and complicated.
The brothers tested the recipe and realized that by frying it, not only did it cut time in the cooking process but now it was a mobile food on a stick. The Fletchers began selling their corny dogs for 15 cents apiece at the State Fair of Texas® in 1942, but the response was decidedly restrained. In fact, the brothers had to cut them in half and give away samples before people were willing to try it. It took 12 years before they felt their unique batter was perfected and since then, it’s never changed. The secret to a famous Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs™ isn’t just the batter, it is also in the water temperature and how the batter is mixed. And that’s all they are going to say about that… After trying out a series of names ranging from K-9 and Brown Bomber to French Fried Hot Dog, and Meal on a Stick, the Fletcher brothers finally went with "Fletcher's Original Corny Dogs" and the rest is history.
Today, Fletcher's Original Corny Dogs™ is celebrating 82 years in business and is led by the third generation of the Fletcher's family. Fletcher's sells over 500,000 corny dogs annually at the State Fair of Texas® alone. That’s 60,000 pounds of hot dogs sold 25 days! Fletcher’s has delighted celebrities and dignitaries from around the world, including Oprah Winfrey, the Jonas Brothers, Mikhail Gorbachev, Julia Child, Dirk Nowitzki, Mario Lopez, and former Gov. Rick Perry. Since the passing of the Skip in 2017, the Fletcher company is still owned and operated by Skip’s wife GG of 40 years, his two children Aaron and Amber, his brother Bill Fletcher and son W.C. with wife Rebecca. Many children, cousins, and grandchildren work the concessions trailers keeping the tradition alive. Learn more at https://fletcherscornydogs.com/our-story.
This is just one incredible story of a couple of regular Joe's who had a crazy idea and changed the world. There are many other amazing inventions that have come out of Dallas, such as Snow Cones, the frozen Margarita (both frozen AND on the rocks!), Frito Pie, Liquid Paper, Doritos, hand-held calculators, laser tag and many more. Central Track wrote a great story on the subject in 2014 and you can check it out HERE!