Shirley Temple costarred with John Wayne before retiring from films

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Shirley Temple Black would become an actress-turned-ambassador as an adult, accepting posts in Ghana andf Czechoslovakia.

Be assured, however, she always will be most lovingly remembered as our most successful child actress.

(Surely one of you knows all the lyrics to “On the Good Ship Lollypop!” Or can name the film in which she sang this tune?)

Black died from natural causes at her California home on Monday night. She was 85.

Born in 1928, Shirley Temple not only became the first white actress to hold hands with an older black man when she tap-danced on a staircase with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson in “The Little Colonel.” She also was credited with saving Daryl F. Zanuck’s studio, 20th Century Fox Pictures, from bankruptcy when he developed her as an international star after Fox Films merged with Twentieth Century Films.

(You may remember that Fox loaned Temple to Paramount Pictures to make two movies in 1934. But after that, Zanuck put his foot down and said, “No more!”
He was still saying a resounding, “No,” when MGM politely asked to borrow Shirley Temple to use as Dorothy Gale in “The Wizard of Oz.”)

She was a gifted child star, number one at the box office for four years in the 1930s, but did not fare so well — not consistently anyway — after making her final child’s film at age 12 in 1940.

True, she made some good films as an adult, but most of them did not take off at the box office. Eventually, she instead would choose to make a name for herself as a Republican diplomat.

I’m not certain why I temporarily forgot, however, that she also was a member of director John Ford’s ensemble in 1948’s “Fort Apache,” with John Wayne and Henry Fonda.

Then again, I am curious if you have a favorite Shirley Temple film from the following:

Films of Shirley Temple

1932: “Runt Page,” “War Babies,” “The Pie-Covered Wagon,” “New Deal Rhythm,” “Glad Rags to Riches,” “Kid’s Last Stand,” “Kiddin’ Hollywood,” “Polly Tix in Washington” (all one-reel shorts produced by Educational Films)

1933: “Kiddin’ Africa” (Educational Films), “The Red-Haired Alibi” (Tower Productions/Columbia), “Dora’s Dunking Doughnuts” (Educational Films), “Out All Night” (Universal), “Merrily Yours (Educational Films), “Pardon My Pups” (Educational Films), “Managed Money” (Educational Films), “To the Last Man” (Paramount Pictures), “What To Do?” (Educational Films)

1934: “Carolina” (20th Century-Fox), “Mandalay” (First National/Warner Brothers), “New Deal Rhythm” (Paramount), “Change of Heart” (Fox), “Bottoms Up” (Fox), “Stand Up and Cheer” (Fox), “Little Miss Marker” (Paramount), “Now I’ll Tell” (Fox), “Baby, Take A Bow” (Fox), “Now And Forever” (Paramount), “Bright Eyes” (Fox)

1935: “The Little Colonel” (Fox), “Our Little Girl” (Fox), “Curly Top” (Fox)

1936: “The Littlest Rebel” (Fox), “Captain January” (Fox), “Poor Little Rich Girl” (Fox), “Dimples” (Fox), “Stowaway” (Fox)

1937: “Wee Willie Winkie” (Fox), “Heidi” (Fox)

1938: “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” (Fox), “Little Miss Broadway” (Fox), “Just Around the Corner” (Fox)

1939: “The Little Princess” (Fox), “Susannah of the Mounties” (Fox)

1940: “The Blue Bird” (Fox), “Young People” (Fox)

1941: “Kathleen” (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

1942: “Miss Annie Rooney” (United Artists)

1943: “Since You Went Away” (United Artists)

1944: “I’ll Be Seeing You” (United Artists)

1945: “Kiss and Tell” (Columbia)

1946: “Honeymoon” (RKO), “The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer” (RKO)

1947: “That Hagen Girl” (Warner Bros.)

1948: “Fort Apache” (RKO ), “Adventure in Baltimore” (RKO)

1949: “Mr. Belvedere Goes to College” (Fox), “The Story of Seabiscuit” (Warner Bros.), “A Kiss for Corliss” (United Artists)

By  William Kerns – Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

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