Saturday, December 06, 2014

Just Around The Corner

As Shirley Temple got older, the previously successful formula for her blockbuster movies was fine-tuned. In 1938's "Just Around the Corner," Shirley is given a male co-star that gives the first ever-so-slight hint of a romantic pairing. At the tender age of 10, anything more than that would not have been appropriate! Benny Bartlett was given the role of Milton Ramsby, who starts off as a snooty coddled rich kid but eventually morphs into more of a Mickey Rooney type. Shirley helps this metamorphosis by trimming off the curls on his head that his aunt adores.

In the photo above, Bartlett & Temple are shown with Franklin Pangborn, whose character gets duped by the two kids and ends up in the pool. Pangborn was known in the 30's and 40's as supporting comic relief, typically playing roles that would fit the prissy gay stereotype that at the time could only be hinted at but not directly labeled.

Like so many other child actors, Bartlett's career slipped when he hit puberty, so he joined the military during World War II. Afterwards he returned to the silver screen and was cast as a member of the gang in "The Bowery Boys" comedies (seen above on the far right). He left the series in 1955 and then permanently retired from films.

"Just Around the Corner" marked the last on-screen pairing of Temple with frequent dance partner Bill Robinson.

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