Charles Elmer Doolin was born on January 10, 1903 in Kansas City, KS.
As an adult he managed the Highland Park Confectionery in San Antonio, Texas. One day at a gas station Doolin found a man making chips out of masa and frying them to sell. They were called fritos, “little fried things.” Using 100 dollars borrowed from his mother Doolin bought the recipe.
In 1933, Doolin started the new corn chip business, The Frito Company, in his mother’s kitchen.
Doolin joined forces with potato chip maker Herman Lay, to combine marketing and distribution of each other’s products in their perspective parts of the country.
In 1948, Doolin invented Cheetos. Crunchy Cheetos remained the brand’s only other product until the release of Cheetos Puffs in 1971.
Doolin was an entrepreneur envisioning opening a chain of restaurants. He opened Casa de Fritos restaurant in Disneyland in 1955, next door to Aunt Jemima’s Pancake House.
A second Casa de Fritos opened in Dallas. The restaurants were a sort of fast food hybrid between hamburgers and Mexican food. The concept never took off.
In 1958, Doolin bought the rights to Ruffles from its creator, Omaha native Bernhardt Stahmer, who created the crinkle cut chips around 1948
Doolin passed away after a heart attack on July 22, 1959 at the age of 56.
Two years after his death, his company merged with Herman Lay’s company creating Frito-Lay.
In 1965, Frito-Lay merged with PepsiCo and continues to be part of the Pepsi family.
So as you get baked on 4/20 take a moment to savor the crunch that comes from eating a Doolin snack.
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