Just Off The Wire ...
Shirley Temple Leaves Us
The young cannot know what an enormous star died last night. For that matter, neither can I, or most of us who weren't around when Shirley Temple was hands-down leading boxoffice for most of the 30's. I guess she was the last truly major name from that decade still around, other than Mickey Rooney (depending upon definition of "major," of course, as there is still Jane Withers and Gloria Jean, among child players who achieved prominence, but not at Temple's level). There were two if not more distinct screen careers Shirley had, a first and most successful as child sensation, then as ingénue working for Selznick and loaned for likes of Fort Apache, probably the most notable teenage part she had along with Since You Went Away. I can't claim to have watched her kid stuff that used to be on afternoon television, probably the only vintage group I'd studiously ignore, but how to wed an adolescent boy to travail and concerns of a seven-year-old girl?
What clips are shown as TV tribute will likely be she and Bill Robinson dancing up the stairs, anchor persons exchanging baffled look over how such remote persona could have enchanted a long-ago nation. I'll bet not one of a hundred of those reporting her death ever saw a Shirley Temple movie. There were attempts at marketing her for newer generations with colorization, release of DVD's, carpet-bombing of the Fox Movie Channel. Did any of devices work? From what I hear, there are still Shirley Temple fan groups, but charter membership must be long gone. She wrote a blunt memoir back in 1988 that left blisters on some big names. The marriage to John Agar was the biggest event since Cleopatra swept into
I reproduce these ads to show just how big Shirley Temple was. 30's folk without dimes scraped them up somehow to see whatever she was in. The pictures being formula didn't matter a toot. I suspect grown-ups went for her more than their kids, ST a hopeful child giving same to adults. Theatres didn't have to stage-support Shirley, or worry lots about double-featuring, she being money's worth alone. Her stuff was sock right to the end of a decade, and I'll bet Fox sold whole seasons just on basis of
Also see Greenbriar's Shirley Temple Glamour Starter from 7/2/06 HERE.