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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Remembering Shirley Temple

When I was little people often told me I looked like Shirley Temple with my mop of curls. Once a year we went to Colorado to visit my dad's family, and I was always in awe of the huge collection of Shirley Temple VHS tapes that my Great-Grandma Johnson owned. I would usually take a few back to my grandparent's and watched them there. The ones I remember best were from some of my favorite books: Heidi and A Little Princess. When we went to restaurants, I ordered a Shirley Temple and my little brother ordered a Roy Rogers. 

I see some resemblance between Shirley Temple and little me. 


I remember watching a TV movie about her life and being fascinated that her parents had faked her age so that she could play younger roles. 

I remember practicing my Shirley pout and saying "Oh my goodness."

I did some reading up on Shirley Temple today and learned some interesting things. She first appeared at age 3, in "Baby Burlesks", a show I'm pretty sure no one would get away with making now. According to Wikipedia, it was a "series of short films satirizing recent film and political events, using pre-school children in every role. Because the children were dressed as adults and given mature dialogue the series was eventually seen as dated and exploitative." 

She usually made 3-4 movies per year. 

Her films were used to lift people's spirits during the Great Depression. FDR even said, "It is a splendid thing that for just fifteen cents an American can go to a movie and look at the smiling face of a baby and forget his troubles." (Only 15 cents for a movie?!)


Her mother served as her hairdresser, and apparently always did her hair in exactly 56 curls. 

Salvador Dali did a (not surprisingly) super weird painting of her in 1939. 

What a gorgeous wedding photo.....

 Her Hollywood career waned as she grew up and she retired from making movies in 1950.

She was even a knitter!

What a talented little dancer!

It turns out Shirley Temple was much more than just a tap-dancing toddler. 20 years after her retirement from acting, she came into the public's eye again when she ran for Congress. She lost the election, but went on to do work with the United Nations and served as a U.S. ambassador, first to Ghana and later to Czechoslovakia. Shirley spoke out against racial discrimination and after a bout with it in 1972, was one of the first women to openly share about breast cancer.

Goodbye, Shirley!
What's your favorite Shirley Temple film? 

Read about Shirley Temple's life in the BBC's obituary. Have a Shirley Temple (recipe here) and remember Shirley by watching one of her movies: A Little Princess and several others are available to stream on Amazon Prime and Miss Annie Roonie is on Netflix

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