A railroad tank car at Alaskan Way and Columbia Street had ruptured a hose and more than 1,000 gallons of corn sweetener spilled onto the street. Haglund, ever the promoter of his Acres of Clams Restaurant on Pier 54 across the street, saw an opportunity. He quickly ordered a stack of pancakes and donned a pair of hip boots. When news photographers and reporters arrived at the scene, they found Haglund squatting in a lake of corn sweetener, spooning the syrup onto his breakfast pancakes.
The photo was picked up by wire services. "The Great Syrup Spill of 1947" and "the crown prince of corn" were news around the world.