Friday, May 30, 2008

On The Good Ship Lollipop

The Fox Movie Channel was showing Shirley Temple movies earlier this month and I recorded Bright Eyes (1934) and Curly Top (1935). I grew-up watching Shirley Temple movies on television as a child and loved them all. As I got older I became more discriminating and now prefer the earlier ones to the later ones. This is because as Shirley grew older she became more polished as a performer. This happened so quickly you can see a marked difference between the Shirley in Bright Eyes and the Shirley in Curly Top. She plays more to the camera in Curly Top.

Bright Eyes was my favorite Shirley Temple movie as a child because it had Shirley, Jane Withers as a spoiled brat, and airplanes; including a Douglas DC-2. In fact, this is the movie where Shirley sang On The Good Ship Lollipop, a song which happens to be about an airplane and not a boat.

I had not seen either movie in a long time and was very surprised when Shirley's first scene in Bright Eyes had her walking alone down a busy highway trying to hitch a ride to the airport. That's right they show a five-year-old child hitchhiking. It was nerve wracking when a big truck stopped and the driver asked Shirley where she was going and then offered to give her ride. He acted like it was perfectly normal for a five-year-old child to be walking along a road thumbing rides. Heck, everyone in this movie acted like it was perfectly normal for a five-year-old to be thumbing rides. Seems Shirley does it all the time. I thought this strangeness was an aberration on the part of the screenwriter until I watched a scene in Curly Top.

In Curly Top Shirley is in an orphanage and called to the superintendent's office for doing something wrong. This is what followed:

What can I say? I was doubled up in laughter at this point.

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