From across the city, families brought their daughters, hoping they looked enough like Shirley Temple. The legendary child star had just hit it big the year before, playing an orphan in Bright Eyes, and parents crowded the February Cleveland Food Show to compete in a contest that would judge which of their children most looked like her.The show, scattered with samples of coffees, crackers and cookies, was a rising attraction during the Great Depression. Attendance jumped to 13,000 people that year. The tenor Frank Parker gave performances. Aimed at housewives and brides-to-be, the show had exhibits on new kitchen appliances and tools, classes on how to use ready-mix biscuit flour and a demonstration of how to “partify” gelatinous desserts. But the Shirley Temple lookalike contest was by far the star attraction. About 950 contestants showed up. It was, The Plain Dealer reported, a “mob scene.”
Cherubic Lois May Krieger, age 6, of West 32nd Street, took home the win, earning a first-place prize of $50, a sum no doubt pocketed by her probably cash-starved parents. The promotional contest was very popular and three more took place during the Cleveland Food Show’s run: one for femme fatale film star Myrna Loy, another for the singer Alice Faye, and the last for the already-legendary Katharine Hepburn.