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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dj Buddy Beaverhausen Remembers Shirley Temple

Eleanore Roosevelt & Shirley Temple
As Ray Davies of The Kinks sang, "Celluloid Heros never really die." Shirley Temple may have sailed away on the Good Ship Lollipop (where the bon-bons play on the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay) but she will forever live on in our hearts as America's sweetheart; the childhood actress/singer/dancer who kept America optimistic, at the movies, throughout the Great Depression. The American Film Institute ranks Shirley Temple the 18th greatest female Screen Legend of all time.

Ms Temple died of natural causes at age 85, forever remembered as the upbeat, cherubic child star with dimples, ringlets and winning disposition. Her look indeed inspired Bette Davis as the aging child-star Baby Jane Hudson in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

My mother was a year younger than Shirley Temple and idolized her on the silver screen from the time my grandmother would take her and her sister, my Aunt Ellen, to the Paterson, NJ movie palaces to see Ms Temple's films. Mom even had a Shirley Temple doll from the era.

Growing up, watching Shirley Temple movies on television was a must in our house. There was one every Sunday afternoon on our local NY-based channel. I loved her songs, especially "Baby, Take a Bow," "We Should Be Together," "At the Cod Fish Ball," "When I Grow Up," "Animal Crackers in My Soup" and "On the Good Ship Lollipop," which my Mom would sing to me as part of her repertoire of lullabies.

Originally slated to star in MGM's The Wizard of Oz, on loan from 20th Century-Fox, Darryl F. Zanuck pulled the plug on that casting at the last minute. MGM quickly replaced Temple with their own Judy Garland and the rest is cinema history.

Temple hosted a tv series, Shirley Temple's Storybook, from 1958-1961. I never failed to tune in, watched all the episodes and even owned the Mattel Storybook Theater, moving the cardboard characters around with a magnetic wand under the stage floor. The Theater came with cardboard sets and props as well.

Dj Buddy Beaverhausen also appreciates, to no end, the fact that the world's most famous non-alcoholic beverage was named the Shirley Temple -- basically a Cosmo with ginger ale instead of vodka -- introducing generations of children to the joys of sipping pretty pink cocktails when they grow up.

At age 17, Shirley Temple married celebrated Army Sergeant-turned-actor John Agar. They divorced six years later. In 1950, she married Charles Alden Black, a Navy Intelligence Officer and exec for the Hawaiian Pineapple Company. She was the mother of two daughters and a son.

Shirley Temple underwent a mastectomy in 1972. Wikipedia writes, "Following the operation, she announced it to the world via radio, television, and a February 1973 article for the magazine McCall's. In doing so, she became one of the first prominent women to speak openly about breast cancer."

CNN reports that "after stepping down from the silver screen... she did not fade from the public eye. She embarked on a new career as a foreign diplomat: She served in the U.S. delegation to the United Nations from 1969 to 1974 was U.S. ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976, and U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992."

A liberal Republican (the term was not always a paradox), she strongly opposed the Viet Nam War. Shirley Temple Black, as she was then known, was also in charge of arrangements for Democratic President Jimmy Carter's inauguration and inaugural ball.

In 1939, Salvador Dali created a montage, Shirley Temple, The Youngest, Most Sacred Monster of Contemporary Cinema, that still hangs at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It is a satirical, surrealistic protest of the sexualization of children by the Hollywood film industry. This topic has since become a hotly debated one in contemporary culture.

Shirley Temple, rest in peace. You are alive in our remembrances, in our hearts and, forever, at the movies.

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