February 13, 2014

Farewell Bright Eyes: Shirley Temple Black (1928 - 2014)

Shirley Temple circa the 1930s, fifty-two curls and all!

Would you be surprised if I told you this was the third crack I've taken at writing this post? See, this is what happens when one of my absolute favourite classic film stars dies - someone I thought of as invincible and otherwise untouchable. Untouchable by death especially.

I grew up in a small town in Ontario, Canada completely enamoured of the curly-topped Temple. Though there wasn't much going on in our town there was a whole lot happening indoors, in front of my television. Admittedly I only owned a handful of Temple's classics on good ol' VHS - Bright Eyes (1934), Heidi (1937), Curly Top (1935), Dimples (1936), and Sing & Dance Along (released on home video in 1998) - but that didn't deter me from watching them over and over again until the tapes wore out.

These were happy movies that made me forget my troubles and just relax and luxuriate in a world where things like homework and tests didn't exist. I suppose this is the same effect that these films had on Depression-era audiences; Temple made everyone - even the most hardened of film critics - forget their troubles and ultimately fall in love with her. That dimpled smile is so hard to resist! When people ventured out to the cinema, often spending their last dime on a ticket, they wanted to be taken away to a world where money didn't matter and love was the ultimate gift.

They got what they paid for when they purchased a ticket to a Shirley Temple film. Not only did she save the public, she also saved her movie studio, 20th Century Fox, from receivership. She served as the United States Ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia and also served as the Chief of Protocol of the United States. She later retired from films in December 1950.

Shirley Temple Black passed away at her home in Woodside, California at the age of eigthy-five on Tuesday, February 11, 2015.

3 comments:

  1. This is a lovely tribute to Shirley Temple.

    It's hard to pick a favourite movie, but I think mine would have to be "Little Miss Marker". She was so little and so cute and so darn talented.

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