SAN DIEGO — If a press agent had suggested it as a publicity stunt, no one would have bought it. However at midnight on Friday night someone had the temerity to swipe the Pillsbury Doughboy from the lobby entrance of the Sheraton Harbor Island East Hotel in San Diego where the company trademark was stationed to greet contestants and guests here for the 33rd Pillsbury Bake-Off.
Now the Doughboy may only have been a 4-foot tall foam plastic replica of the giggling puffball who has won hearts in television and print commercials for the company for years, but the company wanted him back.
As it was, it was only by accident that the "kidnapers" were prevented from getting away with a companion trademark, a 7-foot tall plastic Jolly Green Giant also on greeting duty in the hotel lobby.
A Giant Grab
According to a Pillsbury spokesperson, a night clerk at the hotel, Ruth Ann Sparacio, looked up just in time to see a man carrying the Jolly Green Giant out the front door. Yelling "Stop," she and the hotel's assistant manager Bob Masserio hotfooted it out the door after the "kidnaper" who, in turn, dropped the Jolly Green Giant and hopped into a waiting car. Masserio spotted the Doughboy ensconced in the car's back seat as it pulled away, but failed to get the car's license number. The Giant's injuries were sufficiently mild that he was able to return to his entry way post at once.