Shirley Temple


Book Review by Willard Manus

She was called "the wonder tot," a "national obsession," and "the most famous child star of all time." Shirley Temple was all of these and more: at seven she was Hollywood's #1 box-offce draw, surpassing such greats as Clark Gable, Greta Garbo and Mae West.

The smiling, dimpled, curly-headed moppet did everything on screen--sang, danced, emoted and clowned, wowing audiences around the world in such films as Little Miss Marker, Bright Eyes--in which she sang "The Good Ship Lollipop"--Heidi and Poor Little Rich Girl, among many others.

Her career spanned 1932-1940, but her influence has lasted until this day, thanks not only to her acting legacy but to books like the just-released SHIRLEY TEMPLE: A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST CHILD STAR (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books). Written and designed by Rita Dubas, a Shirley Temple authority, the richly-illustrated, 296-page tome is a visual treat. Dubas has done a vast amount of research into Shirley's life, coming up not only with movie stills and publicity shots, but candid family photos, childhood scribblings and drawings.

Shirley Temple's likeness also appeared on a staggering number of dolls, buttons, cards, candies, clothing lines, coloring books, furniture, shoe and breakfast cereal boxes. The tot was a marketing phenom, a sales whiz, an ubiquitous force of nature. Her face sold products around the world (sometimes without authorization) giving her the kind of recognition that resulted in her being named, in adult life, a UN delegate and U.S. ambassador.