As far as I know, there have been photo ops as long as there have been photos.
Never a slouch at keeping traditions alive, Howard often contrived photo ops to amuse us through long childhood summers.
Case in point, the movie musical Lili , based on a Paul Gallico story about a bitter puppeteer and a naïve girl. The movie* was produced the same year I was, 1953. I’m guessing we had the soundtrack or maybe Lili was in rerelease around the time this photo was taken.
Howard had no intention of directing or producing a Flannery Lane production of Lili but that didn’t stand in his way.
How to create photo op, circa 1959, Ashman edition:
Create poster – check
Make puppet – check
Get kid sister to dress up (easy one) – check
Convince Dad to lend his Brownie camera and get someone (name now lost to history) to take shot – check
*(Lili was also the basis of the later Broadway musical, Carnival).
**(Extra credit for eagle eyed obsessives – Howard, or part of Howard, appears in the shot.)