Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Temple Tuesday: Deleted Broadway

In 1938 Shirley Temple film, ‘Little Miss Broadway,’ there are a few deleted musical numbers that still survive today. Typically, those could be recycled into shorts and were kept in the studio vaults because of that possible re-use. Dramatic numbers usually ended up in the landfill. Thanks to Melissa (aka “The Colonel”), we can get an idea of what was removed. According to a script from February 8, 1938, this is what occurred:

Pop Shea (Edward Ellis) is at the lobby desk of his hotel, The Hotel Variety, looking for his recently adopted daughter, Betsy (Shirley Temple). Flossie the switchboard operator calls upstairs to find Betsy. She calls up to the acrobats’ room, but they haven’t seen her. A man practicing a knife-throwing act gets the call next and says he saw Betsy about 20 minutes ago. Then a call comes to a ballet dancer, and finally to the ventriloquist’s room (photo above). A ventriloquist’s dummy answers the phone. Betsy is holding him on her lap but the ventriloquist is doing the talking. She takes the phone and says she’ll be right down and the dummy says, “Come back and sit on my lap sometime!” As Betsy exits the elevator she’s greeted by a group of performers [photo below]. She stops to talk to a performing dog which jumps over her foot and does a backflip.

In the final film, Shirley descends the stairs, not the elevator, and most likely the idea of a trained dog was rethought, too.

Above is a screenshot that shows Betsy just before the film quickly cuts to her at the lobby desk (below), showing her homework to Pop and his daughter, Barbara (Phyllis Brooks). They have been talking about the overwhelming bills that they owe.

If you ever wondered what color this cute little dress with the embroidered leaves was, don’t rely on this vintage lobby card. These hand-colored promotional items rarely got the color right of the actual costumes and set pieces.

Thanks to the Theriault’s Love, Shirley Temple auction from 2015, we know that the dress was actually red.

From the catalog description:

Red Silk Polka Dot Dress Worn by Shirley Temple in the 1938 film “Little Miss Broadway.” Of fine red silk, the dress features a high-waisted bodice of cream organza, under a faux jacket with puffed short sleeves and embroidered cream flower and leaf trim. The skirt is of alternating flat panels and pleated panels. Included is a vintage photograph of Shirley Temple wearing the costume. The costume was worn by Betsy (Shirley Temple) in the 1938 film "Little Miss Broadway", notably in the first scene at the Hotel Variety as she bounces down the staircase and proudly shows the (completely incorrect!) arithmetic lesson that Mr. Berdini, the magician, has taught her, while greeting (and thus introducing the movie-goers) to all of the zany entertainers who call the hotel home. Sold for $4,750.

The current owner graciously shared an image of the dress in her collection, along with a vintage Cinderella Frock from the same time period that was most likely inspired by this very costume.

Here’s the tag that would most likely have accompanied one of those Cinderella Frocks:

The reverse side:

Next time you watch this movie, you can keep your eye out for what’s left of this scene!

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

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