A: According to the legend, the East Coast was experiencing an unseasonably warm November in 1953, making for poor Thanksgiving turkey sales. Folks just weren't in the holiday spirit, and didn't want to spend hours in a hot kitchen when it was still warm outside, meaning that Swanson was faced with a surplus of just over a half million pounds of frozen turkey meat. What’s an desperate company to do?
The firm basically saved themselves by creating pre-packaged frozen turkey dinners in aluminum trays, and pricing them at 98 cents. At least, that's the urban legend behind the invention of TV dinners. The truth is that, according to weather records, November 1953 was a very cold and snowy month in the East.
It's more likely that Swanson simply purchased more turkeys than consumers required. Either way, Swanson sold more than a million TV dinners before the end of the next year, and they're still a staple of American food, and millions enjoy them every day.