Tuesday, June 7, 2011

For the Love of Shirley!

I like to think everyone has the same experience of wonderful discovery upon their first introduction to Shirley Temple. It's as though you alone have stumbled across the very embodiment of happiness in the form of a little girl with curls. The experience stays with you always as a most magical moment.

For me it was Sunday's after church. I would hang over the front seat of our white Behemoth willing my father's foot to stay pressed down on the accelerator instead of his usual up and down movement that caused the car to lurch along the road. "Dad pleeeeaaassseee get me home by noon. I can't miss the Shirley Temple matinee on television!

It didn't matter that I was years older than the golden curled moppet, or live in a penthouse, or be expected to unite waring factions by the end of a second reel; it was that no matter the situation, this kid had moxie.

A "Can Do" attitude in the face of any hardship. This became a personality trait I wanted for myself, one I also saw everyday in my own mother who was a child of the Great Depression. "Don't Have/ Make Do", "Ask Not/ Want Not", "I'll Show'em, you bet I will!"

By chance a book sticking farther out from other nearby spines in my local library happened to be this most wonderful book I just had to share in the hopes others have just as strong memories of this same discovery. (Shirley Temple, A Pictorial History of the World's Greatest Film Star)

Imagine the lucky little girl who owned her own Shirley Temple doll with a trunk filled with clothes matching the ones seen in her movies.

I love that the Ideal Toy Company produced the Shirley doll in sizes for different budgets. She always came with an official Shirley Temple button that could be worn by the little girl herself.

Little girls begged their mother's to sew dresses for them just like their film idol. The Cinderella Dress Company began producing a line of Ready to Wear to meet every little girl's dream to be just like Shirley.

Moxie! That's what this little girl had to embody to maintain her composure under such attention and expectation. It seems Shirley had the grounding love of adoring parents and two much older brothers. She was not allowed to be a "Star" at home!

She would leave the film industry to raise her own family becoming Mrs. Shirley Temple Black, receding from the spotlight until her children were grown. She would re-enter national awareness as the first public person to share with others her winning battle with breast cancer. From the cover of Life magazine her moxie showed through, "If I can speak the C word out loud, so can you!"

I suppose Shirley Temple was a childhood hero for me. I know that I am a better person for having been influenced by her truly good heart. My husband would have the honor on several occasions to meet her in her role as Ambassador to Ghana during the Regan administration. He described his time with her just as I imagined it would be, "Her smile made you feel as though you had always known her."


Jane said...

What a sweet tribute to a lovely girl and her grown up self!

Mary said...

She was just an adorable little girl. I love getting a 'personal little glimpse' of famous people thru your blog. It is wonderful to know Ms. Black was truly kind in 'real' life. Loved seeing the dolls and outfits. I wonder how many are still around? Have a wonderful day Elizabeth!

Sandi McLean said...

So part of my own childhood too! What sweet memories to start the day with - thank you! A blue depression glass "Shirley" breakfast set was and still is one of my own treasures!

Celestial Charms said...

Hi Elizabeth,
Oh, another thing we have in common that I didn't know. I have always adored Miss Temple, and would sit glued to the television when her movies were on. I play them all for my children now, and of course, Heidi is their favorite! Besides baby Jesus, I don't think there was a child in history, that influenced so many people, like she did. Love this post! Have a great rest of the week.

Cindy said...

Elizabeth would this be your collection...lol

I have always watched anything of hers..my girls were raised on all her movies also...recently the grandkids were introduced to Miss Shirley..and they loved her.
Animal Crackers and On the Good Ship Lolli Pop are now being hummed by this new generation. Love it!!

Moxie I like that word!!

Hugs Cindy from Rick-Rack and Gingham

Cindy said...

I loved Shirley Temple! I wanted to be her, and to that end, I cut my waist length hair myself at age 5. What a mess! And it wasn't even curly. I can't remember my parents reaction, but pictures of me for awhile were very weird.

I also followed her career as ambassador. She was one great role model.

Wendy McDonagh-Valentine said...

I loved watching Shirley Temple movies as a child. Thanks for all of the wonderful photos!!!!!! : )

~ Wendy

Nan said...

Oh I always loved Shirley Temple and admire how she lived her life in public service.

Unknown said...

My memories of Shirley Temple are wrapped around my mother. We would watch her movies on Sunday Afternoon TV my mother would share her times of going to the movie with her mother to watch her. I have a picture from a Christmas in the early 70's that my mom got me my own Shirley Temple doll. But I will love her for Hedi.

LBP said...

From one Shirley Temple lover to another!! I got a Shirley Temple doll back in the 1970's when I was probably too old to play with dolls, but I wanted it so bad that "Santa" brought it! I still have her in her original dress and curls! I also have several dvd's of hers. Such fun to watch!

BucksCountyFolkArt said...

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead!

I remember some of those Shirley Temple movies. My favorite was when she played Sarah, the little girl who was looking for her father who was supposedly killed in action. Remember that one?

annemarie said...

Loved growing up with Shirley Temple - such good memories of such a sweet little curly haired gir.

Debby said...

I have always loved SHirley Temple. Loved those afternoon movies SO much that I named my daughter, Heidi, yes I did. My Mom talks about having a Shirley Temple dol when she was young. Do you still have the doll and all those clothes.
Miss you.

laurie -magpie ethel said...

I love watching Shirley Temple movies. Fun post with lots of history I did not know...wanting to hunt down one of those swell buttons that came with the doll.

Anonymous said...

I love sweet Shirley, too. I have lots of her movies and a sweet doll with a trunk filled with clothes. I'm spoiled rotten. I know. Maybe I will blog about it this summer. Miss you!


I have the old Shirley movies and watch them with my Grand daughter!

Jenny's Heart said...

The love of Shirly carries on today in my family, my grandma's, my mom, all 4 of us girls and now my 4 year old niece have all loved her. My mom still has her Madame Alexander Shirley Temple doll with the original clothing and signature pin. I wish I could have met her.

Tresa said...

My sister and I watched all of the Shirley Temple movies when we were little. I especially loved "The Bluebird".

Julia said...

Congratulations to all those who watch over the smooth running of this magnificent blog !!

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