Marketing the Silents: The Great “Grandma’s Boy” Sugar Cookie Giveaway

Every so often, I run into cute marketing gimmicks for silent films and I like to share them. This one was a giveaway held by a theater showing the Harold Lloyd picture Grandma’s Boy.

“Grandma’s Boy” Cookies Used to Exploit Picture

McAlester, Oklahoma: Manager Earl Settle, of the Palace theatre, recently put over an effective tie-up on “Grandma’s Boy,” when he arranged with the Federal Bakery to have cookies made, calling them “Grandma’s Boy Cookies.” A large window display was arranged with the cookies and attractive announcement cards of the picture at the Palace theatre.

The local management advertised that these “Grandma’s Boy Cookies” would be given away on Saturday at the theatre, to all children attending. The cookies were wrapped in tissue paper on which was printed the name of the picture with a cut of Harold Lloyd. These cookies were placed in a large box in the foyer of the theatre. Mr. Settle states that more than 250 cookies were given away to children in one afternoon.

Okay, lots of cookies handed out! But what kind of cookies were they? Well, the opening scenes of the picture show baby Harold Lloyd having his cookie stolen and the scenario helpfully informs us that it is a sugar cookie. This may or may not have been the case with the Palace cookie giveaway but the cookie in the film does look very obviously to be a sugar one.

I tracked down a recipe for sugar cookies from 1912 but, oddly enough, it calls for lemon flavoring. And there’s no Harold Lloyd cutout either.

By the way, Grandma’s Boy is available on DVD as part of the Harold Lloyd Collection from Kino.


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  1. Nancy Delaney

    Sugar cookies eh! Almond or lemon could be added, I prefer almond flavor in my sugar cookies ♡ Cheers!

  2. Keith S.

    At our local Picture Palace (in the Square), to give it it’s full name, when The Miracle of the Wolves was shown free tickets were given to owners of Borzois or Alsatians.
    On another occasion, three hundred adult attendees were given a free cigarette at a showing of Jack Sheppard.
    In March 1928, when Two Girls Wanted was the attraction, two pairs of free tickets were given to the two girls who most closely resembled Janet Gaynor, one as a boy and one as an office girl, in addition the winner would receive five shillings!!!
    I wish picture houses were as imaginative these days!

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