Saturday, September 17, 2011

Screen Gem Saturdays: Shirley Temple and the Mystery Caption

This 1934 photo is one from my collection that has an odd caption. Well, probably not so odd if you aren't one of those semi-nitpicky detail freaks like me (aka anal retentive).

Here's the accompanying caption for this Otto Dyar photo:

Here is something new in dancing — SHIRLEY TEMPLE is taught a modern development of the old-time soft shoe dance, brought up to date and executed with taps. The five-year-old motion picture star is being taught by JACK DONOHUE, the new dance director at the Fox Film studios. With a week of training and rehearsals, Shirley has worked out this intricate dance exceptionally well and it will be introduced in her new picture, "Bright Eyes." This dance was originated by the late George Primroses and was in later years carried on by William Rock and Eddie Leonard. This rehearsal is shown being conducted in the kitchen of Shirley's new bungalow on the Fox Film studio lot.

What's so odd? "Bright Eyes," known as the movie where Shirley first introduced "On the Good Ship Lollipop" has no dance number in it. In addition, the dress that Shirley is wearing in this photo is one she wore for the movie "Baby Take A Bow," released in June 1934. In between "Baby Take A Bow" and "Bright Eyes" (released in December 1934), Shirley cranked out "Now And Forever" over at Paramount (released August 1934).

Here she is on the set of "Now and Forever" with costar Gary Cooper:

Either the caption is a lot of publicity hooey, or "Bright Eyes" has a deleted dance number. Or, the publicity department screwed up and meant to reference a number for "Baby Take A Bow" instead of "Bright Eyes." Either way, Sammy Lee is listed as choreographer for "Baby Take A Bow" and "Bright Eyes." No Jack Donohue. In fact, Donohue isn't listed on the credits for a Temple movie until 1935's "Curly Top."

Here's another publicity still of Shirley from "Baby Take A Bow," showing her in the same polka dot dress, posing between costars James Dunn & Claire Trevor:

What does this mean? Well, probably not a heckuva lot, other than Shirley Temple was one busy 6 year old in 1934! She had the lead role in 4 feature films and a key supporting one in at least 4 more. Just what did YOU do at age 6?

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1 comment:

Connie Moreno said...

I had to cheat...I looked up 1961 (because that's when I was 6) and found that 101 Dalmatians was released. Really? That long ago????