Wednesday, September 9, 2009

41. SHIRLEY TEMPLE, Child Superstar!

The most well-known child actress of the 1930s was born in 23 April 1928, rising to fame at age 6 for the movie "Bright Eyes". During the Depression years, the films of this bedimpled moppet made her filmdom's top grossing star. She acted, sang and tap-danced her way in movies such as: Stand Up and Cheer, The Little Colonel, Rebecca of the Sunnybrook Farm and won acclaim for singing "On the Good Ship Lollipop" and "Animal Crackers in my Soups" which became her trademark songs. In 1935, Shirley Temple received a special miniature Academy Award Oscar "in grateful recognition of her outstanding contribution to screen entertainment during the year 1934." After her film achievements she began a notable career as a diplomat with assignments in Ghana and Czechoslovakia and retired from public life, occasionally coming out to receive the Kennedy Center Honors in 1998 and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2006.

Before long, the adorable Shirley became the darling of Hollywood's merchandising machine. Capitalizing on her popularity, millions of Shirley Temple materials flooded the market--from dolls to coloring books, kitchen ware to children's clothes, calendars, music sheets, baby carriages and all sorts of toys. Shirley temple dolls are the most desirable, especially the early composition ones produced by Ideal Novelty, commaning hundreds, and even thousands of dollars when found in pristine condition.

This precious 10 in. Shirley Temple doll, was found while rummaging at Makati Cinema Square over 10 years ago. Somebody saw me looking over a box of old action figures and dolls, and she approached me if I'd be interested ina doll her late grandmother owned who told her that "the doll was a Hollywood actress doll named Shirley", and that she had owned it for many, many years. The next day, we promised to meet, and in a plastic bag, she had this doll, her limbs loose and her clothes scruffy, but nevertheless complete. And yes, it was an early composition Shirley Temple Doll--identifiable through the name of the maker incised at her nape.

I paid for the doll for 250 pesos, took her home, give her a good cleaning and replaced the elastic that held her arms and legs. Later, I got a genuine vintage Shirley Temple button from an international toy auction, which she now produly wears. My Shirley Temple is ready once more to stand up and cheer!

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