Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Temple Tuesday: Tobin and Temple


Today’s image is from the Los Angeles Public Library collection and shows our gal Shirley dedicating a bridge. From the September 24, 1938 publicity blurb:

Shirley Temple, child film star, and Mayor Maurice J. Tobin, of Boston, are shown dedicating a new Los Angeles bridge just built on the 20th Century-Fox studio lot in Westwood in a ceremony witnessed by studio executives and employees. The bridge will cross Olympic boulevard when it is extended westward through the studio lot to West Los Angeles and the ocean.


What the heck was a Boston Mayor doing in Hollywood for a bridge dedication? Tobin served as Mayor of Boston from 1938-1945. Shirley had visited Boston one month before during her summer vacation; she had received this letter from Tobin in July 1938:

The auction house blurb:

A 1938 letter addressed to Shirley Temple at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Boston from Mayor Maurice Tobin, inviting Shirley to participate in the Field Day to be held at Fenway Park on August 1st. "These exercises are to be conducted to aid needy men, women and children". Along with a photograph of Mayor Tobin and Shirley Temple during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.


Here’s a previously posted shot of Shirley during her August 1938 trip to Boston:


Tobin visited Fox in late September of 1938 and lunch at the Café de Paris on the Fox lot. He was in town for the Legion Convention with his wife and State Senator Donahoe and Capt. Flaherty of the Boston police. He also helped Shirley dedicate the bridge. Then they went back to the bungalow and she gave out police badges. He'd been asked by Joseph Schenck to participate in the bridge dedication. With a little online sleuthing, I found these images at the Willis Henry Auction site showing Shirley dining with Tobin at the Café de Paris.


Actor Jack Haley (the Tinman from “The Wizard of Oz” and two-time Temple co-star) stopped by the table to say hello.


Tobin and Temple:


Mrs. Tobin was apparently there, too:


Back to the bridge; unfortunately, I was not able to find that this bridge still exists today (or else I was looking in the wrong area). I did find this odd tidbit though on the KPCC website:

As civic leaders pushed construction of Olympic Boulevard to the west, they ran into a roadblock: the movie studios of 20th Century Fox. The city of LA and Fox struck a deal: build a bridge to connect the studio on either side of Olympic, and Fox would donate the right of way. Matt Roth, historian at the Auto Club, says the bridge opened in 1937 with a bit of movie glamour. "Basically what they did," he says, "is they either hired or invited two starlet types to pose on the bridge with sweaters and skirts, no skin showing, but form.

The photo of Shirley is definitely from 1938, and I don’t see any starlets around. Maybe a different bridge, or maybe a ceremony for the initial construction of the bridge. Below is a screenshot from some rare color footage showing Shirley cutting the ribbon:


You can view it at 5:09 in this 1981 segment of the show “That’s Hollywood” with Tom Bosley narrating:


While I didn’t find the bridge, I did find something else new to me. In Century City near the Fox lot, there is a 5 block stretch of road titled “Shirley Place” before it becomes Spalding Drive. Coincidence? I doubt it!

During Shirley’s 1938 summer vacation out east, she wore the same dress that she did during the bridge dedication, as seen in this previously posted shot of her at Mount Vernon:


The dress was auctioned off in 2015; here’s how it looked:


And the auction description:

Of fine royal blue wool/linen, the jumper is constructed with a high waist, flat front panel with full-length side pleats, attached sash with back ties, double straps with inset panels of silk to match the blouse, and embroidered heart decorations at the top edge; with matching blouse of ecru with colorful heart designs, and with embroidered hearts on the blouse collar, with original studio inventory label "14725 Shirley"…. The dress was worn by Penny (Shirley Temple) in [“Just Around the Corner”]. A favorite costume of Shirley Temple, it was worn at a number of events, including her July 1938 interview for the Saturday Evening Post, in which the reporter named her "Little Miss Miracle". The costume designer for the film was Gwen Wakeling.


And that’s it for the Tale of Tobin & Temple!

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

1 comment:

rita-d said...

Love the Tobin post! The series of candid pix at the commissary are all HAAC approval stamped September 26, 1938, so the luncheon (or whatever) with Mr.and Mrs. Tobin took place the same day as the ribbon cutting. The color shot was also taken the same day with a Fox executive, I think. Great stuff!