Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Temple Tuesday: Shirley Hits Her Mark

One of the requirements of being a good actor is “hitting your marks.” If one doesn’t land where they’re supposed to during the shooting of a film, they run the risk of being out of the camera frame. For years, it has been typical for marks being put on the floor so that actors know where to stop and stand. This little trick is effective, but causes the actor to have to look down at the floor when walking, thus giving away the illusion of perfection. I noticed in this still from “Captain January” (1936) that you can see the chalk marks made for Shirley Temple, who is standing next to Sara Haden.

These marks weren’t just for children, though. Even veteran performers like Jack Haley and Alice Faye, shown here in “Poor Little Rich Girl” (1936), required the same assistance.

You can clearly see the marks for Haley AND Shirley; Faye’s are out of frame, but I guarantee that she had them, too.

Many years later, Shirley told talk show host Larry King that she really didn’t need the chalk marks. Instead, she used the same trick that Joan Crawford did; she used the heat of the overhead lights to let her know that she’d hit her mark. “I had to learn to hit my marks without looking at the floor, the little piece of tape.…I could do it by the feeling of heat on my face. If the light hit here and it hit my shoulder and it felt warm, I would know that I was in the right place. If it was cool, I’d say I’m not in the right place.” Even at age 6, Shirley showed a remarkable intelligence regarding her profession. See the entire interview here:

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

No comments: