Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rant #1,343: She Is Now On "The Good Ship Lollipop"

When talking about great child stars, we often forgot about Shirley Temple.

Her movies were relegated to Turner Classic Movies, and well, she just wasn't as popular as, let's say, a Jerry Mathers or a Miley Cyrus.

But Shirley Temple was the quintessential child star, probably the most famous and best of that breed.

She has passed away, at age 85, and all of a sudden, that little girl with the little curls has come to the forefront of our thoughts again.

I don't think that today we can fathom the impact that Shirley Temple had on the generation that lived through the Depression.

Starting out in various ripoffs of the Our Gang comedies--she often co-starred with Mickey McGuire himself, another one of the great child stars, Mickey Rooney--she later gravitated to feature films, and that is where she made her major mark.

She was the antidote to the fears that came with living through a time when there was little money around, millions out of work, and wondering where the next meal would come from.

Along with Babe Ruth, she gave the country something to hope for, a distraction from the days of incredible poverty.

And she broke barriers too.

She danced with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson on screen.

Sure, he was in a stereotypical role, but Shirley actually held his hand during part of their dance together.

Whatever the case, Temple was a smart cookie.

Her time at the top was brief, and although she acted from her heyday into the early 1960s, she basically knew when to get out.

She married well, after her money was squandered by family members, so she never had to worry about that end of life. But she wanted to do more.

She became a diplomat as Shirley Temple Black, and represented the U.S. in the continents of Africa and Europe in that role.

She did that for many years, and when the time came, she also was smart enough to bow out, and do it gracefully.

She was once asked if people could believe that Shirley Temple could become a diplomat. She answered, "No, people could not believe that Shirley Temple could become a diplomat. But they could believe that Shirley Temple Black could become a diplomat."

So she had one life split into two.

But what an incredible life she led.

No scandals, no nonsense, no nothing.

Just an incredible life, from beginning to end.

And whether it was "Animal Crackers in My Soup" or "The Good Ship Lollipop," Temple knew when it was time to bow out.

And in death, she once again bowed out gracefully.

She evidently didn't know any other way.

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