Remembering Shirley Temple

Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 by fillups

Shirley Temple

Former child star and US ambassador, Shirley Temple passed away on Monday, February 10, 2014.

Whenever I personally think of Shirley Temple, I think of her constant good spirits in the face of adversity.  Her good humor and pluck have been a source of inspiration to countless audiences dealing with hard times.

The movie work that Shirley Temple is remembered for is largely from the thirties when the USA was in the middle of the Great Depression.  Her effect on audiences was so profound that she was the number one box office draw from 1935 - 1938 and President Franklin Roosevelt was moved to say, "As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right."

Unlike most of the movie stars she worked with during that period, Shirley Temple is still a name that almost everyone recognizes.  

While there are many movies and books to check out, here are some of my favorite ways to remember Shirley Temple.

Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes

This was the first film written as a star vehicle for Shirley Temple.  It contains her famous "On the Good Ship Lollipop" song that will forever be associated with her.  Shirley is orphaned during the course of the film and there is a fight between her aviator "godfather" and the rich patriarch of the family that employed her mother.

The Little Colonel

The Little Colonel

This is the first of four pairings between Shirley Temple and tap dancing legend Bill Robinson.   Temple has consistently named him as her favorite dancing partner.  The enduring popularity of their pairing is even more striking because it occurred while much of the US was still deeply segregated.

Curly Top

Curly Top

Shirley Temple is once again an orphan taking on all the trouble that life throws at her while managing to sing, "Animal Crackers" and "When I Grow Up."  

The film is also famous for New York Times film critic Andre Sennwald's review ,which featured this quote, "So shameless is [the film] in its optimism, so grimly determined to be cheerful, that it ought to cause an epidemic of axe murders and grandmother beatings..."  He did give Shirley herself praise.

Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple

This excellent biography documentary gives a wonderful overview of Shirley Temple's life.  It covers the breadth of her achievements well and captures the endless well of good feeling she generated throughout her career.

Oh My Goodness CD Cover

Oh, My Goodness!

Shirley Temple worked with a lot of the great composers at the height of the creation of the great American songbook of standards.  A lot of these songs were novelty numbers created just for her, but the craft is undeniable, also the infectious high spirits.  

Also worth checking out is Maria Muldaur's interpretations of these songs in Animal Crackers in My Soup Animal Crackers in My Soup.

Discover more great music and movies by checking out the SCCLD Music and Movies blog.

~Don

Image from triangleartsandentertainment.org

Tagged: Temple, Shirley, Milpitas News, Movies, Music and Movies, Children's Movies, Movies, Musicals, Remembering