The Big Idea is a 1917 American short comedy film starring Harold Lloyd. The film has been preserved and is available online.


Harold, Snub and Bebe are employees at a pawn shop that is having trouble attracting customers. The boss informs Bebe that business is so slow that he will have to let her go. Both Harold and Snub are smitten by Bebe. Harold comes up with a clever way to save Bebe's job. He circulates a fake telegram stating there is an item in the pawn shop marked with a double X that contains $10,000. Harold proceeds to mark numerous items in the shop with the double X and makes sure that several people on the street accidentally see the bogus telegram. Very soon the hopeful customers come into the antique store and buy almost everything on the floor. The happy proprietor rehires Bebe. She and Snub see the phony telegram too. Snub sees the only unsold item left in the shop--a large vase--has a double X on it and buys it. Snub eagerly buys the vase before Harold can tell him about the ruse. Snub angrily smashes the vase--and finds a large sack containing $10,000. Snub and Bebe happily leave the antique shop arm in arm with the huge amount of money.

    More details

    director Gilbert Pratt Hal Mohr
    genre comedy
    keywords bos let her go
    producer Hal Roach
    productionCompany Rolin Films
    publisher Pathé
    theme short