11 2 mins 14 yrs

President Franklin Roosevelt allegedly said during the Depression in the US in the 1930’s that "As long as we have Shirley Temple, we’ll be all right."  Shirley turned 80 years young yesterday which is an impossible age to contemplate Little Miss Marker attaining.  She’ll be forever the age of Heidi or any of the little characters she used to play in the popular imagination. 

For those of you too young to recall, Shirley was a delighful presence on the silver screen in the 1930’s, a dancing and singing little girl with curley hair who charmed her way as a little heroine through a series of adventures.  She ranked at the top or near the top of the box office during those years.  A child actress with a few adult roles (she was actually quite good in John Ford’s "Fort Apache"), she essentially retired from Hollywood by 1950 and went on to serve as a diplomat in a few US Adminsitrations.  I recall watching her films generations later on our black and white t.v. with my sisters, and enjoying them (while of course demanding we next watch a cowboy movie).    

Some might say her time was a time of innocence, but we know it most certainly was not.  Bread lines, unemployment, segregation and the reality of war reigned.  But it was a time that appreciated and promoted innocence.  Some might say it was all mere escapism, give folks a couple hours away from their hard existence in a movie theater.  I don’t agree, although there was an element of that.  I think it also offered people some ideals, some hope and some entertainment which are not such bad things.  So Happy Belated Birthday Shirley, and thanks.

(This post has nothing to do with the U.S. Primary elections.  You’re welcome).       

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  1. I vaguely remember watching those old films on our black & white too.

    I think Hollywood did a better job back in the day of providing entertainment that didn’t constantly focus on the underbelly of society.

  2. Dimples. She had the most wonderful dimples.

    My wife has always been a huge Shirley Temple fan, and many of today’s performers remind her of Shirley if they have dimples. Just last week, we were watching Kimberley Locke on "Don’t Forget the Lyrics," and my wife said "She looks like Shirley Dimple!" Of course, so does Wayne Brady.

  3. Hmmmm… wow… ok…I’m down with this…I think… Shirley Temple?

    Mahons, honey, you feelin’ ok?

    I don’t remember black and white TVs but I do remember tape cassettes, and typewriters — and the wall-to-wall orange shag carpet that adorned our house…

    Was she ever popular outside of America?

    Well, Happy Birthday to Curly Tops..(Curly Locks?)

  4. While I’m sure it would behoove Mahons to start drinking Shirley Temples, he might be on to something.

    FDR, a patrician with a sense of the everyman, saw that these movies of the 1930’s showed the inate optimism of the American people. Today may be bad, but tomorrow it might be better. While other countries were responding to the Depression with fascism and movies like Triumph of the Will , we had Shirley Temple movies .

    And everything did turn out all right.

  5. Patty – Feeling fine thanks. I don’t know about her international popularity, but i would presume like most film stars of her time she had a certain degree.

    Charles – good lord, I forgot about that drink. Probably because it is nonalcoholic.

  6. Patty

    Yes Shirley Temple is well know here in the UK . The nearest we came to a Shirley in the UK was a child actress called Bonnie Langford !

  7. a true child star that didn’t wind up as some drunk/drugged up embarresment in the tabloaids, she actually grew up to serve her country. Not what you see of hollywood youth now is it.

  8. You’ve lost me Mahons; but I presume the title of your post refers to the Marks Bros: Animal Crackers and Duck Soup, but what they have to do with Shirley Temple beats me. I did’nt even know she was still on board the good ship earth.

  9. Troll

    Give today’s Hollywood youth a chance to grow up first.

    Bernard – didn’t Little Miss Temple sing a song called ‘animal crackers in my soup’ ?

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