Scrappy and His Amazing Puppet Theater

Scrappy and His Amazing Puppet Theater

August 2005
There are those who think that Scrappy is too specific a subject for a Web site. Hah–here at Scrappyland, we’re beginning to think he’s too general a topic. There’s so much stuff relating to just one aspect of Scrappy–the Puppet Theatre premium that released as a tie-in with Farina in 1936–that we’ve been forced to add this entire section about it. If we discover anything else concerning the theatre–and we probably will–it may warrant an entire site of its own.

The obvious thing would be to start by showing you the theatre itself. Before we do, we’re going to build some suspense. Which is what Columbia did with its massive promotional effort. In this ad (reproduced from the November 1st Cleveland Plain Dealer comics section), Pillsbury did its best to whip young America into a veritable froth of Scrappy Puppet Theatre excitement. (Click on the ad to see it at a larger size.) Little Mary and Johnny (generic 1930s kid names, those) beseech their mother to buy two small-size boxes of Farina in order to receive the Theatre. The ad notes that Farina is the “best thing on earth for boys and girls who want to be strong and healthy.” (Of course, this was when cigarettes were also sold as cough suppressants.)

Farina ad

Meanwhile, Columbia was also trying to stir up interest among grocery store owners (who sold Farina) and movie exhibitors (who screened Scrappy cartoons). Here’s a remarkably elaborate pressbook released in conjunction with the premium (photo courtesy of David Welch’s Childhood Memorabilia):

Scrappy promo book

Inside the pressbook were…two smaller pressbooks. Yes, that’s Scrappy waltzing with a box of Farina. Click here or on the covers below to get the entire press books as a 14-page PDF for easy reading. And worth reading they are–there’s tons of stuff in them, including ideas for strongarming schoolteachers into helping to promote Farina, and reference to a “Scrappy Says” newspaper feature of allegedy immense popularity.

Scrappy Farina books

Also included in the pressbook was this poster (image courtesy of David Welch’s Childhood Memorabilia) for grocery stores. Say, are those Mary and Johnny from the newspaper ad?

Scrappy Farina poster

This Way For More

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