Shirley Temple Biography Part One

Shirley Temple Biography part 1 (1928 - 1939)

Shirley Jane Temple was born on April 23, 1928. She was the youngest child and only daughter of George and Gertrude Temple. Her brothers, Jack and Sonny, were quite a bit older than she was. At the age of 3, she was taking tap dancing lessons at Melgin's dance studio. A film producer named Jack Hays came along to the studio one day to find the next **star** for his short films called Baby Burlesk. Once he spotted Shirley, he knew she was the one. "Baby Burlesk" were spoofs of hit pictures with little kids taking the roles of the adults, wearing adult looking tops, with diapers on their bottoms. They were not exactly great movie making, but they paid the bills. After the series ended, Shirley did a few more comedies including "Dora's Dunking Doughnuts", "Merrily Yours", and "Pardon My Pups". These were also very short films that were shown before a movie (kind of how they show previews before the main picture now-a-days). Round that time, a Fox studios songwriter saw Shirley at the theater (which just happened to be showing one of her shorts, and spoke to her parents about auditioning Shirley for a role in a new movie that he was working on. Soon after, Shirley auditioned for a small part in a happy-go-lucky film called "Stand Up and Cheer" she got the part hands down, and basically stole the film. She sang and tap danced to "Baby Take a Bow" with James Dunn. Every move, every jiggle of her head, the dimples, the curls, the spunky innocence, it was just what the audience needed during the Depression.

The Shirley Temple doll came along soon after the success of "Stand Up and Cheer". Ideal Novelty and Toy Co. gained exclusive rights to manufacture the doll using her name. They hired the best doll artist (Bernard Lipfert) to design the mold for the doll, the hired the best clothes designer (Mollye Goldman) to design the outfits for the doll. The Shirley Temple was the most successful dolls ever made up to that time. The face on these dolls was beautiful, with the golden curls, hazel eyes, big smile, and, of course, those dimples!! Every little girl wanted a Shirley Temple was the most successful doll ever sold up to that time, with over six million Shirley Temple dolls being sold!!

This little child could lift their spirits like no other person could. After "Stand Up and Cheer", Fox knew they had a gold mine; there would be no bankruptcy for them with Shirley Temple around. She was loaned to Paramount for a star-making turn in "Little Miss Marker", and then Fox began working full time on getting Shirley into every movie they possibly could. The quickly hired the best screenwriters to make storylines devised specifically for Shirley, and the best songwriters to write her songs, the best dancers (Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Buddy Ebsen) to dance with her. Shirley starred in eight movies in 1934, four starring roles in 1935, and four in 1936. In 1937, Shirley was directed by john Ford in the classic tale of "Wee Willie Winkie". Daryl Zanuck (who ran Fox at the time) declared the her appeal was endless. She was the top box office star for the years 1935, 1936, 1937, and 1938, an amazing accomplishment, never duplicated. As she got older however, Fox began the resort back to the same themes that they had been using with Shirley since she was 5 years old. In 1939, Shirley's box office draw started to wain, simply because she was getting older, she wasn't that tiny little child any more, Shirley's last big successful picture as a child star was "The Little Princess", which almost every generation of children in the years following has seen, it was a beautiful story, and showed that Shirley could do more than just be cute on screen.

In 1940, a deal to loan Shirley out to MGM to star in "The Wizard of Oz" fell through due to the death of Jean Harlow, so Fox studios decidedů

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