She was the curly-haired moppet who lit up the screen in the 1930’s, giving Depression-era audiences a dash of cute, devilish sauciness. She remains the most famous child star — ever.
She’s had a drink named for her. Dolls were made in her image. Her DVDs are still being pitched on cable tv infomercials. What exactly explains Shirley Temple’s amazing durability?
Well, the height of her fame, from 1934 to 1938, was dead in the middle of the Great Depression when movie audiences really did crave optimism from any source including a child actress sporting dimpled cheeks, twinkling eyes and golden curls.
How much do you really know about this cinematic phenomenon? Try our Monday Quiz to find out. As usual, answers tomorrow.
1) Question: At what age did Temple begin her movie career? a) Nine; b) Six; c) Three; or d) Four years old.
2) Question: Which of the following movie moguls exploited Temple’s onscreen appeal the best? a) Darryl Zanuck; b) Harry Cohn; c) Louis B.Mayer; or d) Herbert Yates?
3) Question: Which famous director who hated child actors was assigned to a major Shirley Temple movie? a) Alfred Hitchcock; b) Michael Curtiz; c) John Ford; or d) Cecil B. DeMille.
4) Question: John Steinbeck, author of The Grapes of Wrath, which was made into a big film at 20th Century Fox, told a famously funny story about an incident involving Temple that panicked studio execs. What happened? a) Temple’s curls kept unwinding; b) Her front tooth fell out; c) She got into a physical altercation with her mother; or d) She got spanked by her famous leading man.
5) Question: At the peak of her fame, Temple coped with rumors that she was really a midget and not a child performer. a) True; b) False?
6) Question: Temple’s mother assiduously styled her hair for each movie with each hairstyle comprising exactly how many of those famous curls? a) 15; b) 32; c) 64; or d) 56.
7) Question: Temple enraged a famous male star by performing imitations of him on movie sets behind his back. Who is this hapless star? a) Orson Welles; b) Tyrone Power; c) Cary Grant; or d) Clark Gable.
8) Question: After her movie career was over, Temple became involved in Republican politics and wound up with ambassadorships to which of these countries? a) Norway; b) Ghana; c) New Zealand; or d) the then Czechoslovakia.
9) Question: In the early 1950’s Temple was bluntly told that “you’re through” and was fired by her longtime agent. a) True; or b) False.
10) Question: Despite her professed affection for Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Temple’s most famous dance partner, the two did not get along well, and became estranged over the years. a) True; or b) False.