Thursday, August 27, 2015

Shirley Fights City Hall

Picture this…Spring 1964. It had been a few years since Shirley Temple was last seen in a TV series. ABC and Twentieth Century-Fox approached her about giving Hollywood another shot, developing a number of different ideas for her. By January 1965 Shirley was before the cameras again filming the pilot for "Go Fight City Hall!," a half-hour situation comedy in which she would play a single social worker at a San Francisco welfare agency. "Days of Our Lives" fans will recognize Bill Hayes with Shirley in the photo above. He was to play her boyfriend. Temple imitator Victoria Meyerink, from "The Danny Kaye Show," would be her daughter. If Shirley's hair looks a little funky, that's because she's wearing a wig; and not a very good one! Rumor has it that her family objected to Shirley's dyeing her hair blonde for the role; instead she wore a red wispy wig. From a January 7, 1965 publicity blurb:

Shirley Temple returned to 20th Century-Fox Studios, where she made her first picture more than 30 years ago, to star on a television series. Miss Temple, who was born in 1928, will star in Go Fight City Hall, a situation comedy series scheduled to be televised next fall. The dimpled darling of the depression era began her career at 20th Century-Fox at the age of 6 in "Caroline." She starred in 33 films at the studio, for which she earned more than $40 million. Now the other of three, Miss Temple lives in the San Francisco Bay area, but plans to spend four months a year here filming the series. Her husband, Charles Black, is a northern California businessman.

Jack Kruschen (seen below) played her supervisor and Cloris Leachman was also on board as Shirley's co-worker.

Leachman had previously played Shirley's mother in an episode of "The Shirley Temple Theatre" (1960). From Leachman's autobiography:

There's not a lot to say about playing Shirley's mother. It was a long time ago, and the shooting schedule was short. The memory that stands out is this. We were working on a soundstage at Twentieth Century-Fox studio, and I needed to make an important phone call. This was long before cell phones. I couldn't locate a phone. I knew there had to be one, but where was it? I turned to Shirley and said, "Shirley, you must know where there's a phone. You worked at Twentieth your whole early life. Where is it?" She said, "I don't know. I was only three feet tall then. I couldn't even reach a phone."

When Shirley passed away, Bill Hayes and his lovely wife Susan tweeted:

And Shirley Temple Black passed on Monday. She and I made a pilot for a series back in the 60s. "Go Fight City Hall!" Lovely lady.

Much more Shirley at my main website.

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