Saying goodbye to Shirley Temple
It’s with great sadness the General Mills family says goodbye to our most famous “spokes kid,” Shirley Temple Black, who passed away this week at the age of 85.
We’re honored to highlight how she played a part in our company’s past.
In the 1930s, Shirley’s adorable image appeared on many promotions for both Wheaties and Bisquick.
Wheaties even offered a popular series of 10 collectible Shirley Temple images, from her movies, on the back of cereal boxes. Those were available in 1936 when “Shirley Mania” was at its peak.
Here’s a closer look at one of those images.
She appeared 12 times in all, making her the second most featured individual to appear on a Wheaties box (only Michael Jordan has appeared on more Wheaties boxes).
But Shirley and her dimples far surpassed other world-famous athletes in this accomplishment.
“I remember watching Shirley Temple movies on Saturday afternoons,” says corporate archivist Susan Wakefield. “She was the all-American girl who had a heart of gold then went on to be a United States Ambassador.”
Before she counted diplomacy among her many accomplishments, Shirley Temple worked with Bisquick to get children to drink more milk.
All people had to do in 1935 was to go to the grocery store and pick up a large box of Bisquick. Their friendly neighborhood grocer would then give them a child-sized blue glass mug with Shirley Temple’s face on it.
If Shirley’s smiling face wouldn’t get the kids to drink more milk, we don’t know what would! The mug was part of a set that also included a milk mug, pitcher and cereal bowl.
We have one of the mugs on display at our headquarters.
In researching information for this post online, we found that many people still have those items mentioned above.
Do you, or a family member, remember seeing those packages and items in your home? Tell us about that in the comments.
Editor’s note: The General Mills Archives provided information and images for this post. You can learn more about our past on GeneralMills.com. Have a question about General Mills’ history? Send our Archives team an email.