Old Dutch “Kids’ Bids”: searching for past contestants

UPDATE: This research is now completed. Thanks to all for sharing your stories! My book, Snacks: A Canadian Food History, will be available from University of Manitoba Press in August-September 2017.

I’m searching for past contestants of the “Kids’ Bids” TV shows that were sponsored by Old Dutch Foods, to interview for my snack foods history research project.

Old Dutch delivery truck in Minneapolis. © Janis Thiessen, University of Winnipeg, ja.thiessen@uwinnipeg.ca.
Old Dutch delivery truck in Minneapolis. © Janis Thiessen, University of Winnipeg, ja.thiessen@uwinnipeg.ca.

The show was developed by Robert Watson of Watson Advertising in the 1960s.

Nancy-Ellen McLennan, Linda Koesveld, Susanne, and Danny Hooper were participants. In blogs, facebook posts, and a newspaper article, they describe the show as an auction for prizes, where bids were made by children using empty Old Dutch packaging as “Old Dutch points” instead of money.

While a photo collection has been archived, there are no archived interviews of these children’s experiences.

If you (or anyone you know) were a contestant on “Kids’ Bids” and are willing to be interviewed, please email me: ja.thiessen@uwinnipeg.ca

91 thoughts on “Old Dutch “Kids’ Bids”: searching for past contestants

  1. I can tell you a little about the Saskatoon edition of the show, hosted by Yorkton native Gary Gibney. One summer they held the auction outdoors in the parking lot next to the Bapco Paints store and warehouse, which was beside TV station CFQC. I was there. I met Gibney who knew my dad. Gibney went on to fame in Toronto as the anchor of CFTO News.

  2. Thanks for your comment! Sounds like the show attracted quite an audience. My research assistants and I hope to find ourselves in Saskatchewan in the coming months, and may contact you then. Best wishes.

  3. Well, I’m living in Andalusia, Spain now. But grew up on the prairies (Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Calgary). Kids’ Bids was a big deal in the ’60s for us kids growing up in Saskatoon. I remember the blue and pink knobs on the turning board for boys and girls respectively. Strange times in a flat place.

      1. I was a kids bid kid many times…. Walked away with some really cool things.. A girls CCM green bike is my favorite memory..

  4. I was only on the show once, but I know Lethbridge, Alberta had it, and Medicine Hat had it too. The fattest kid always won, surprisingly!

  5. I have the greatest memories of my trip to CKCK TV Regina studio on a Saturday morning.
    The efforts of friends and family to help me collect bags and box tops are a huge part of my childhood. Nervously and exitedly driving with my dad hoping to win a prize. The endless hours my cousins playing Monopoly. Yes, I successfully bid on a Monopoly game.

  6. I lived in Medicine Hat and the local station (CHAT-TV) aired “Kid’s Bids” for a few years. I seem to recall a box top (from a box of chips) was worth 50 points and a bag (the bags were smaller back then because the boxes contained the amount of chips we now get in a big bag) was worth 10 points. I saved up a boat load of the bags and box tops and went on the show with somewhere around a thousand points. That was about 50 years ago, so I don’t recall all the little details. I do recall there were a lot of kids with a lot more points than me there, and all the cool stuff up for auction went to others. I remember also kind of giving up the idea of saving bags in the future – it was so competitive and high priced for the cool stuff. I bought a Scrabble game for about 700 points. It wasn’t cool so the bidding was tepid. I recall thinking it was far too much effort for what was about a $10. thing back then. I also recall that when Kid’s Bids was around you never would see an empty bag of chips littering the city. Occasionally you’d see an empty paper Old Dutch box lying around, but it wouldn’t have a lid.

  7. I remember a trip out to CFRN Sunwapta Studios one evening in 1964 or thereabouts, to cash in what felt like a lifetime of collecting Old Dutch potato chip bags and box tops. I was around 6 years old at that time and was caught in between states of excitement, fear and confusion on what now turns out to be a 15 minute drive from our home to the stage of Kids Bids.
    The day we were to appear on the show, my 9 year old brother and I had been waiting for
    our parents to get home from work and with time running out and no sign of them, my brother sprang into action and called a Yellow Cab. Good thing my brother was the sensible one (well, he was older) and had a job delivering prescriptions on his bike for 25 cents. He had enough money in his account to write a cheque and cover the fare. We made it there on time and after hauling our boxes of savings inside, I was over come by all the lights and organized chaos behind the scenes. We were given a chit deeming our worth and were ushered to our seats on the bleachers. I got the pep talk and instructions not to move a muscle throughout the bidding as obviously, my brother was in charge. Those instructions were not hard to follow because once the show began and that giant potato chip box opened to reveal the treasures inside, I was immediately fixated on the replica of an M16 Marauder rifle and foresaw the hours of battles to be won facing the imaginary enemy that lurked throughout Skyland, an undeveloped stretch of property out behind our family home. My future war stories were interrupted by an elbow to the ribs as my brother pointed out our Mom & Dad waving from backstage. In a flash, the show was over and they were closing that giant potato chip box but wait, there were still toys to be bid on! This can’t be over! We were headed home in defeat. We were shut out. Each and every item, out bid.
    Consolation was the family watching our old black and white a few days later, giggling and laughing, ironically eating Old Dutch potato chips and drinking Pop Shoppe Soda. I grabbed the box top and stashed it away in my pocket as I continued to watch the television dream of that M16 and the enemy that awaited me in the foxholes of Skyland.

  8. Getting rather late in the year, and I’m sure this project has since wrapped up. I was a young lad of 12 or 13 when I appeared at the studio in Winnipeg. I remember it being a pretty cold Saturday morning. I don’t recall the exact amount, but I had bags upon bags of single bag (10 pts), Twin Pack (the most value – 100 pts) and Triple packs (can’t get them any more – 75 pts) in tow. I was in the bleachers sitting with my loot and what I remember most was how little I had compared to some. Every vision I had of getting something I actually wanted was pretty much dashed in the first few bids. I ended up bidding on a big teddy bear that I wound up giving to my younger brother for Christmas. It didn’t matter, because I realized I was never going to be able to save up enough to go back again for something more valuable. A pretty cool experience, though.

  9. I was on the show in Winnipeg when I was a wee little girl. I cannot say I remember much about it except a brief memory of the set, the fact that my grandma saved hundreds of chip bags for me and that I got a Mattel road race set for my brothers from the show. Wish I remembered more, not sure why I was even thinking about it recently and thought to look it up. 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing your memories! What year (approximately) would that have been? And what do you remember about the set? (we haven’t found pictures of it yet). If you’re willing to be interviewed about your memories, however fragmented, please let me know. We’re keen to find out more about this prairie childhood experience!

  10. I was on the show in Winnipeg in the very early 60’s, possibly ’62. I was 6 years old at the time and a member of the Langruth ,MB cub scout troop. We definitely had a mission back then and that was to collect as many points as we could and make it to the BIGGEST show of the time in Winnipeg. Well after enlisting the help of the entire town (app.250) and every family member, we did manage to accumulate, I believe 26,000 points. We (there was about 6 of us) went on the show with MC Bob Burns and after several unsuccessful bids finally won a bid and found ourselves the proud owner of portable record player of sorts. it was not the big prize but it was something. Now with our heads held high, it was time to head home and share our adventures of the big city and the show with everyone plus the prize. Thanks.

  11. I was also on the show in Wpg, but was very young so have a vague memory of it all. Remember being very very shy when I was on it, think it was
    Bob Burns doing the show and asking questions.

  12. I love this! I lived in Northern Minnesota in the 1960’s and loved this show. Never got to go but loved to watch the excitement on the tv from Winnipeg! Miss my Old Dutch Potato chips……………….thank you!! Glad we had Sjoberg’s Cable TV!

  13. There is a group on facebook called Thunder Bay Memories where some of the members talk about being on Kids Bids and the prizes they won.

    1. Hey Don, I too remember kids bids but it was not Thunder Bay then but Port Arthur on. Seen the pics on Thunder Bay memories. Never went on the show but watched it all the time.

  14. I was a participant and winner on the show in Calgary. It would have been in 1963. I won a bike. It was lime green with a banana seat. Very exciting times.

  15. My father, Bob Lang, hosted the Kids Bids Show in Lethbridge. Something like 1965 to 1970. Do you remember my dad loading “the winning kid’s” arms up with chip bags at the end of the show? I do! It was live TV and the Lang kids, 7 of us, watched the Sears black&white rabbit-ears TV, cheering against chip bag boy. Why? Because the more he dropped the more came home in a big cardboard box to feed us Lang kids. And trust me, we needed it more than than Bucky did. Lol. Good memories.
    Ken Lang
    Chips were 10c then.

    1. Hi Ken, My brother Jim and I were on that show, for weeks my brother hunted every sq inch of Nobleford for hundreds of Old Dutch bags, rolled them up nicely, packed them into a box and used them for a couple ping pong bats and a net that was auctioned on the show. Your Dad was a great host, remember him always with the microphone in hand.

      1. Hello Bob
        Thank you for remembering my father. In reading your story; there is something special about working hard and “earning” something. Sure it is nice to receive a gift but … you know what I mean. I am sure you and your brother have many fond memories of the digging.

        Ken Lang

    2. So much fun to read this! I was on the show once. I don’t think I won anything, but I remember ” Uncle Bob” was the host. Being on the TV set was not what I expected – a big empty studio with benches and a large TV camera pointed at you. If I remember correctly, the camera man was nick -named “Corny” – Cornelius Martin, perhaps? These are 50 year old memories!

  16. I remember my first bike that I got on Kids Bids in Regina on CKCK TV. I had 2 nieces and a nephew that were the same age and we collected bags and box tops from friends, family, the street (people would throw them away???). My nephew got his bike first (he was the oldest) then down the line. All four of us were riding around on our bikes for years. The only thing was, he was the oldest so he bid for us ‘younger girls’. I did stick up my hand once (which he promptly smacked down as I bid against him) but we did get my bike. It was so much fun. I still like auctions, but I don’t bid against my husband. Actually, he lets me do the bidding.

  17. I was a contestant and won a bike! This was on CkCk TV in Regina on Saturday morning!
    Perry Pachkowski

  18. I was on the show in Regina, Saskatchewan. I remember sitting in the bleachers and being so excited to see if we could win anything. I was with Gail Waffle who had many more points than I did. So I just gave her my points. She bid and won a Snowball dart game. I can’t remember how many points. Just being able to go down off the bleachers and be interviewed. It was so exciting. Must have been about 1960??

  19. Hello! I encountered your site quite by accident… fascinating project! My father was the host of Kids Bids in Saskatoon on station CFQC during the 1960’s. I recall going to some tapings of the show, and even participating in the show on one ocassion- I was young so i don’t recall much, however my dad would likely have some good stories. Please email me if you are interested in contacting him.

  20. In 1964 or 65 I did appear on Kid’s Bids at the CKCK TV studio off Highway #1, perhaps a couple of times. I would have been around five years old and therefore only have a very vague recollection of standing in the studio in front of TV cameras among a group of other children. I won a nice red CCM bike, which I think was the top prize.

    Our family had saved a lot of Old Dutch box-tops and chip bags over the preceding months. It helped that my Dad worked as a buyer for McDonald’s Consolidated and often brought home chips for us as he dealt regularity with people from Old Dutch and with confectioneries in the city. I remember often asking for a dime so I could buy a bag of chips after school. Please feel free to contact me if you require any further detail.

      1. Yes it was and I was very lucky, a green CCM Bike.. Those were the days Great memories..

  21. I was on Kids Bids twice circa 1970, I remember the approximate time because I was asked what grade I was in and I answered “kindergarten”. My older brother and sister were on three times I think. I remember picking up chip bags anywhere and everywhere we saw them, it actually was a very environmentally friendly idea because we were picking up other people’s litter!! Then we carefully counted and boxed the bags and wrote the number of bags on the top of the box. We collected until we had “enough” then we were off to the show! Although my specific memories of the show are faded, I do remember the prizes I won! I won a Matt Mason action figure (astronaut toy, all the rage at the time!) and Space Crawler which was a battery operated toy for Matt Mason to ride and explore the Moon! It really was a thrill at the time. I also remember that my sister won a Cheerful Tearful doll, a doll you filled with water and when you pulled down her arm tears would squirt of of her eyes! Can’t for the life of me remember what my brother won, but we all won something, it was great!

    1. Forgot to mention, we were on in Winnipeg at television station CJAY-TV hosted by Bob Burns. Also, I remember my parents being suspicious of the incredibly high number of chips bags some of the other kids said they had…because once you got to the show nobody there ever really counted the bags to verify the number you said you had. (after all who really wanted to touch all those dirty old chips bags that we pulled out of garbage or out of the ditch!) Ha ha…Kids Bids Controversy!!!

  22. We saved bags and box tops for what seemed like years, mom used to collect a lot of bags at the church bingo on Thursday evenings. We planned our attendance and early one Saturday morning mom and dad loaded the five of us and our bags and box tops that had been carefully counted, tied up in 100 point bundles and packed into brown paper shopping bags, and off we went to CKCK TV studio just outside of Regina.

    The Saturday morning we were there they also taped the show for the next week so we got to be on two shows, I use the term “we” loosely as I was far too sophisticated, and probably only 10 years old, to be on a children’s show bidding on prizes. We didn’t get a bike as we didn’t have enough points but we were lucky enough to win at least one bidding war.

  23. I entered Kids Bids with my younger brother in 1965 on CKBI/Prince Albert,Sask.
    I collected many potato chip bags from the local skating rink where they had a canteen serving
    pop, chocolate bars, etc. I scrounged back alleys and King George school grounds for any
    empty bags. The studio was quite Spartan as I remember. Live TV was awesome.
    My brother made a crack about his teacher having a strap in her desk. The host was
    mortified. And the teacher happened to be watching the show that Saturday afternoon.
    Anyway I won the auction for a train set which I kept for many years. Fun days, great to
    be a kid.

      1. The teacher was quite amused about the comment and didn’t hold anything against my
        brother. By the way, Rick Duccomun also attended King George. A great
        standup comic and supporting actor to many of A list Hollywood actors.
        i.e. Carrie Fisher, Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern(The Burbs) RIP Rick!

    1. You’re very kind! The manuscript is now being reviewed by University of Manitoba Press; I suspect it will be published later next year. You can be sure I’ll post about it here when it’s available in stores!

  24. Myself and my two sisters and four brothers were on Kids Bids in 1969 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We were seated in the front row and watching it on TV later we found that the camera man had paused to slowly capture our faces! We collected chip bags from ditches and wherever but also found what we thought was a lot did not get us far in bidding! LaVerna Wiebe-Peters

    1. There seems to have been a tremendous amount of collecting going on! I’ve heard from folks that they enlisted family members and neighbours to accumulate the necessary stockpile for bidding. Thanks for sharing your story.

  25. Hi …..my brothers and I were on the kids bids show when it came to our town in British Columbia……I was just telling a friend about it the other day ….do u know if there is any film footage of the show……..

  26. Hi my name is Brian ( BUZZ ) Douglas i remember back in the early 60.s me and my best friend would watch Kids Bids every Friday after school in Lethbridge we decicded to look every where for chip bags and old dutch box tops . We were just little kids at the time , we went to the TV station ( forgot the name ) anyway we were siting in th bleachers watting for the show to air we had about 4 minutes beforing airing and uncle bobby the hoist asked if any of the kids had any talent , and of course my friend said i did so uncle bobby asked me to come down and talked to him , he asked me and i told him, all of a sudden the show was live , so about five min. into the show he called me up and said that we had singing talent and this young man named Buzz was going to sing a song , so i did and the song was one of louie Armstrong songs i sang just like Louie did in his raspey voice , i sang for about 1 min a long time for me anyway. . I got home that night and told my mom and she said sshe saw it and was very proud of me . A nd the next day the phone wrang my mom said it was for me , and there was a lady on the other end of the phone , and asked me if could come over to her house she had a surprise for me . My mom took me over to her house , ans she asked me to sing that song for her and her husband and i did and they gave me 10.000 points of chip bags and box tops I found out later that her husband worked for OLD DUTCH i thought that was pretty kool One of many fun times growing up in Lethbridge

  27. I remember the kids bids show so well. Our father who knew a great of people had everyone he knew saving chip bags and box tops so he could take his children on the kids bids show. We were very fortunate and went quite a few times.. One special moment stands out for me. We were heading down to the station and I remember him looking at me and saying to my sisters and brothers. I think we have enough points to get Joanne ( me) a new bike.. And he did, it was a CCM green bike. I was so excited and rode that bike every day. We didn’t have a lot growing up, but we did have the love of our mother and father until he passed at the very early age of 42. Our mother continued to raise 5 of with the eldest being 17 and the youngest just 11 months. So trust me, when I think of what a special day that was when daddy said it my was my day to get a new bike, and I did. Was very blessed to have him for the short I did and miss him terribly.

  28. I was on the show in Winnipeg with my older sister.
    They asked me something about my parents and I said they fight like bears(no idea why I said that..) we got a huge prize of chips and Blueboy ice cream that lasted for months. Might have been a years worth ..

  29. I was on the show in Prince Albert Saskatchewan, won a bugs bunny rabbit lol had a string in the back that talked. That was years ago lol I am 56 now.saved alot of empty chip bags.

  30. I was on Kids Bid in the early 1960, It was filmed live with Bill Story as host. Bill Story was also the reporting person on “Story About Farming” around that time. I will never for get the excitement I felt! it was a pretty huge deal for me, who was around 10 yrs old to be on T.V. I believe what I purchased with all my Old Dutch bags or box tops was ei a small green transistor radio. Since Bill knew my Dad (Ralph Young) one of the questions Bill asked me when I won the bid was “Has your Dad shot his deer yet? (so the show was aired in late Oct or Nov. during hunting season. My Dad was a little ticked “that I had told EVERYONE, he had got a deer yet”! Dad said “Great now everyone knows, thanks kid”! Bill was a neighbour and a great friend of my parents!

  31. I was also on Kids Bids in the 1960s in Winnipeg. Must have been quite young as my memories of that experience are vague. I recall being quite excited about this opportunity and the studio lights being bright. The host asked me some interview questions. But the most vivid memory is the loot I came home with. A large doll, a large colorful picture book about animals and a crisp blue Five dollar bill. Would love to see video of that but alas probably not possible.

  32. In my late teens I met a really decent fellow and we were talking about KIds Bids. I said I had never saved enough chip bags to bid on anything. He laughed and said he had won a bike for each of his siblings and himself from the show. I asked how he had saved so much and he replied, my dad was mean and he was a drunk, we grew up in Victoria Park in Calgary and had nothing, sometimes not even food. He said his father had a janitorial job at night at CFCN station in Calgary. His dad would take him to work and then sit and drink while his son worked. My friend soon figured out that all of the chip bags and box tops were just thrown out after the bidders turned them in for prizes and part of his job was to throw out the trash. One mans junk, another little boys treasure.

  33. And today we heard, Greg Barnsley passed away on Monday January 3, 2017, best weatherman ever, he will be remembered by all of Saskatchewan, especially Saskatonians! funeral arrangements to be announced in the Star!

  34. I was on the show in Vancouver. I won a huge black/grey stuffed poodle. My father worked in maintenance for the Vancouver School Board so he was able to collect a lot of Old Dutch chip packages. I remember the host Ron Morrier asking me my name but I was to shy to answer him. I just wanted to get my new dog and leave.

  35. I remember watching kid’s bids in Lethbridge back in the 60’s. Back then we could pretty much see the TV station across the field, from our house. Still recall many freezing Saturday mornings out on my bike scouring the ditches and fence lines for wind blown chip bags. Over time I amassed a goodly quantity, yet not quite enough for the show. So I joined forces with a friend from the neighbourhood who was also collecting. This turned out to be an error. One day unbeknownst to me, this “friend” took our stash to the show and came back with a watch, which he gave to his dad. One of those life lessons for me I suppose. Think this guy this still lives in that city.

    1. Bought the book! I love it and my family had a good laugh on reminiscing of years now past. Thank you Janis…

      Sincere regards,

      Robert Fafara

      >

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