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Brother for Sale (1930)

Galveston and Texas History Center Rosenberg Library

Silent | 1930

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  •  Similar to newsreels, shorts like this one played in theaters before the screening of a feature film. 
  •  Sibling rivalry 
  •  Sunny tries to shake off his brother Frisbie 
  •  Good Samaritan Charlie falls for Sunny’s ploy 
  •  Sunny realizes his mistake 
  •  Climax at the baby parade 
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Released in 1930, “Brother for Sale” is a two-reel silent film short produced by Stern Brothers Comedy and Universal Pictures as part of the “Newlyweds and Their Baby” series. The short stars Lawrence McKeen Jr. as resentful older brother Sunny, who tries to rid himself of baby brother Frisbie before realizing that his apparent sibling affection buys goodwill with his mother. Hijinx ensue along the way, with Sunny’s plot also threatening to break up an engagement. McKeen was featured in 39 “Newlyweds and Their Baby” shorts, first as Baby Snookums and then as Sunny Jim. The role reportedly turned him into a child star. (He even had a candy bar named after him.) McKeen went on to make six sound shorts before his untimely death in 1933 due to blood poisoning. He was eight years old. This film was digitized by the Library of Congress as part of the Silent Film Project.