Thursday, May 03, 2018

Palooza Pt. 4: The Party

To get the Shirley Temple Palooza kicked off with a bang, David Silverman from Sony Pictures Entertainment put together an incredible event in Brentwood that blew everyone away. Throughout the night, the large screen TV was playing Shirley clips as well as those of her Hollywood contemporaries from the 1930s and 1940s. Here David poses with Shirley Jean Rogers and hiding in the back is Melissa Tonnessen, aka the "Colonel" of "Shirley's Army," the group that has been key in keeping Shirley's legacy alive.

Heather, a reporter from Closer Magazine was at the party as well; here she talks to Tonya Bervaldi and Melissa. You might remember Tonya as the owner of "The Little Princess" costume that was temporarily lost along with a number of other original costumes that she owns from Shirley's most famous films.

On the left is 1930s child star Cora Sue Collins who has lost NONE of her spunk from the days that she charmed audiences with her natural talent. On the right is Hollywood Historian Woolsey Ackerman.

David gave an amazing presentation about Shirley which focused on the home in Brentwood that she once lived in at the height of her fame with her parents. The original three acre estate has now been portioned off into 5 lots. The original home was split into two. Huh? Yup...only in Hollywood, folks.

This salary chart REALLY puts into perspective the earnings and fame of the most famous little girl in the world.

A rare color clip of a teenage Shirley was shown:

Following David's spectacular presentation, Cora Sue gave a little fireside chat. She kept the audience engaged with stories about her films as well as her personal friend, Shirley Temple. Unlike Shirley, Cora Sue was able to have a life out of the public eye when she retired at the age of 18 after a Hollywood "wolf" promised her a career changing role...if she'd sleep with him. The brave young girl said "no," even after studio boss LB Mayer told her that's just the way the business is. Without a trace of bitterness, Cora Sue said she left the movies and never looked back. While she enjoys her anonymity, she is by no means a wallflower. Sharp as a tack, I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with her.

Daniel Selznick, son of famous producer David Selznick ("Gone with the Wind," "A Farewell to Arms") and Irene Mayer Selznick, followed Cora Sue with his own memories of Hollywood. A producer, writer, and director, Daniel shared stories about his famous father, who became a victim of Benzedrine and Dexedrine while making "Gone with the Wind." Prescribed by a pharmacist, back in the 1930s these energy-giving drugs were not known for their harmful side effects. They allowed David to work 21 hours in a 24 hour day. Ouch.

She's so adorable I had to share another photo of Cora Sue, listening to Daniel's presentation.

There was also entertainment, as Cathie Nicholas, one of the famous dancing Nicholas Brothers' granddaughters arranged for a girl from her dance studio to sing "On the Good Ship Lollipop." While the little girl's wig might have been questionable, her natural singing ability and charisma were off the charts as Cathie watched proudly.

My last pic from the party shows Marilyn Granas, who was Shirley Temple's first stand-in. She was also a very lovely lady who had nothing but kind memories of Shirley, especially being able to be 10 feet away from her as she did the famous Stair Dance with Bill Robinson in "The Little Colonel," 1935. Marilyn was happy to leave the business as an actress and instead returned as an agent.

Here is Marilyn with Shirley back in 1934:

Still more to come from the weekend—stay tuned!

See more photos at my main website.

1 comment:

Melissa Tonnessen said...

A party like none other....and you captured its magic!