Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Temple Tuesday: Shirley Meets Margaret

Actress Margaret O’Brien is probably best known for the role of Tootie, the youngest sister of Esther Smith (Judy Garland) in “Meet Me in St. Louis.” She was an adorable child with just the right amount of impish trouble mixed in to keep her from being too saccharin. Margaret O’Brien met Shirley Temple on Valentine’s Day in 1945 (photo below).

She recalled the story to Time Magazine shortly after Shirley passed in 2014 in an article titled, “There Will Never Be Another Shirley Temple.”

I met Shirley Temple on Valentine’s Day in 1945. To this day, I’ve never forgotten it. I was in red, she was in black, and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner together. We didn’t immediately become best friends, but every winter, my husband and I would send a Christmas card to Shirley, and she and her family would send one back, so we kept in touch that way. She was just lovely—a very, very sweet girl. My husband always had a crush on Shirley, but he ended up with me instead. It wasn’t too bad, but you have to remember, there will never be another Shirley Temple. She will always be Shirley Temple in people’s minds, and they’ll always be showing her movies, so new generations will know who she was. Sometimes people put a stamp on the world, and Shirley certainly did. So many times, people think that child actors have a terrible life after the movies, but Shirley went on to have a wonderful life and family and career as the U.S. ambassador to Ghana and later Czechoslovakia, so it doesn’t all end tragically. It helped that we both had wonderful parents who saw that we stayed on the right path. I’d see her at functions throughout the years, and we’d say hello and talk about our families—she had married and had started on a different career by then, so we didn’t keep in touch through the movie world. We kept in touch through the friendship world, and I’ve never forgotten our first meeting. That’s why I have always kept her in my heart on Valentine’s Day, never more so than this year.

Melissa (aka “The Colonel”) attended a Shirley Temple luncheon where Margaret gave a few more details about the 1945 dinner where the two actresses met:

I’m looking a bit prissy in that photo from the event, because they served oysters at the dinner, and Shirley turned to me and said, “Those are alive, can you see them wiggling?”and I got a little bit ill over the oysters so I didn’t eat them until I was grown up. Shirley said later that she was a little bit jealous of me, but she apologized for that incident many times and said, “I don’t know why I ever said that,” so I forgave her. That’s my oysters story. So as long as we don’t have any oysters at the luncheon, I’m fine!

I can’t read the text in Shirley’s hands, but I am guessing it is some kind of script. If only the focus had been a bit sharper!

See more teenage Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Monday Mystery at Fowler's Harbor

Based on the size of the landscaping and the Gullywhumper Keel Boat, this shot of Fowler’s Harbor is from somewhere between December 1955 and…?

The Gullywhumper baffles me; the design of this one is different from the one in most of the shots from my collection. The railings on top look like straight beams, whereas in this March 1957 they have been replaced with oars. Perhaps the one in my shot, showing the word “Pittsburgh” on the front, was an early version or prototype.

Back to the original image for today’s post. The bigger mystery is what the heck is this large cylindrical object being worked on? Was it construction for the Disneyland Railroad tunnel?

By June 1959 (image below), the front shack seen above had been removed.

Bueller? Bueller?

See more Disneyland Fowler's Harbor photos at my main website.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Friday in Old Tucson

Occasionally a batch of Disneyland slides will yield a few extras from different areas. In this particular situation, the images looked like they could be from Calico…or Pioneertown…or maybe some old movie studio set. Checking with expert Ken from Stack’s Liberty Ranch, I learned that they were from Old Tucson. From the Old Tucson website:

Built in 1939, Old Tucson is a renowned film set and family theme park located just outside Tucson, AZ. Nestled between Saguaro National Park and Tucson Mountain Park, this beautiful desert setting has been the filming location of hundreds of classic western films and TV shows featuring stars such as John Wayne, James Stewart, Paul Newman, Jean Arthur, Frank Sinatra, Clint Eastwood, and Ronald Reagan. The studio opened its doors as a theme park in 1960 and continues to welcome guests for a variety of immersive experiences, special events, and tours.

One of the most famous movies to use this location is the 1986 comedy “The Three Amigos,” with Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Chevy Chase.

An April 1976 entrance shot:

Zooming in you can see the poster for the 1972 Paul Newman western/comedy, “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean”:

The poster art was by Richard Amsel, best known (to me at least) for his incredible TV Guide covers (thirty-seven total!).

Back to Old Tucson! An undated shot of the main street:

So popular they even had their very own red pickup truck!

Plenty of saloons in town. First we have Ward’s, from February 1959:

…and the Railroad Saloon, circa June 1972:

Looks like there’s another place to go to on my travel checklist!

See more Old Tucson photos at my main website.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Hump Day on Tom Sawyer Island, September 1969

Welcome to Tom Sawyer Island, circa September 1969! Our first shot was taken aboard the Mark Twain and shows The Old Mill, the raft to the Island, and the Fishing Pier. Yes, you once were able to catch fish at Disneyland. Below, Apple-Skirt Girl is posing next to the Three Falls and steps to the Treehouse.

Not to be outdone, her brother poses for the same shot. Dad did a better job this time, capturing more of the Three Falls this time. Practice makes perfect!

The fam finally made it to the Treehouse.

A detail of the Tom + Becky carved detail, mentioned in a previous post:

Now you can see that Tom and Huck's Tree House was made from boxes that contained oderless (sp) feathers for pillow stuffing.

Dad handed the camera over to Mom for a shot by the Old Mill.

Just in case you wanted to read the sign and learn something. Edutainment.

Time to brave Injun Joe’s Cave! Who knows what dangers lurk inside those dark caverns?

Mom was not going to let go of the Tom Sawyer Island brochure. No way she was going to get lost on the Island. Nice ring, too! That must have set Dad back a pretty penny.

A rare interior shot of the caves. Thank goodness for flash bulbs!

Final one for today shows the fam (minus Dad who took the photo) on top of Teeter-Totter Rock:

See more Disneyland Tom Sawyer Island photos at my main website.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Temple Tuesday: 96th Birthday Bonanza!

Today marks the 96th “Heavenly Birthday” for Shirley Temple Black, actress, diplomat, wife, mother, and author. One of the most infamous tales about Shirley was how her movie studio, Fox, got her mother to agree to shave a year off of her birthdate to make her antics appear all the more precocious. Above, you can see her original Santa Monica Hospital birth certificate, with the true year of 1928. Below is a shot of Shirley at age one.

For the earliest deep dark secrets about Shirley, look no further than this Important Event card, diligently recorded by her mother, Gertrude:

Gertrude also charted Shirley’s growth progress:

Shirley’s studio birthday parties at Fox were legendary. Here’s the first one, from April 1934. Is that little boy on the right actually using a toothpick while the camera is snapping his photo? Such poor manners - bet he wasn’t invited back again!

By the time of her 1936 birthday, Shirley looks a little bored with it all, despite the spectacular cake! Shirley would later recall:

Fox would have (a party) for a large number of people I didn’t know, a lot of children I’d never seen in my life and never saw again. And I was hostess. It was kind of strange. I figured it was part of the job. Fox would pay h alf the cost of the parties and my mother and father - or I - would pay the other half. Why I had to pay for the parties at all is a mystery, but that’s how it went. And there’d be two hundred kids, maybe more. I thought those parties were a big bore.

Shirley’s first stand-in, Marilyn Granas, had this recollection about the parties:

They always had lovely food and lovely prizes. Everybody got a favor and I remember one of the favors was a beautiful leather autograph book that Shirley had autographed. I’ve still got mine.

Shirley’s last studio birthday at Fox was held during the filming of “Young People.” Stand-in Mary Lou Isleib is two over from Shirley’s left.

For 1940, Shirley got not one, but TWO incredible birthday cakes! That’s what happens when you’re the most beloved child star of all time. The shot below was from her party at the studio commissary, which had a Dutch theme. Dickie Moore, Shirley’s first on-screen kisser in “Miss Annie Rooney” (1942), recalled this birthday celebration in his autobiography,  Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star:

The day of Shirley’s party all guests parked their cars in the main parking lot and were met by buses and driven to the commissary. There Shirley stood at the head of a long reception line, gravely shaking hands with all arrivals, telling each of us how glad she was we had come, and thanking us for the presents we had brought, which were passed along to join the growing mountain of unopened packages, most of which were later sent to an orphanage. Everyone ate cake, while mothers tried to get Hymie Fink to take their children’s pictures. There were many party favors, including a pen with a magnifying glass on one end and Shirley’s name inscribed on it.

If you’re wondering about the art on the wall, here’s a closeup:

By 1944, Shirley was working for Producer David O. Selznick. Her sweet sixteen birthday party was attended by her costars from “I’ll Be Seeing You.” L-R: Dorothy Mann, Tom Tully, stand-in Mary Lou Isleib, Guy Madison, Shirley, and John Derek.

In 1946, Shirley turned eighteen and celebrated the milestone birthday on the set of “Honeymoon” with then husband, John Agar.

Shirley’s last movie-birthday party was held during the filming of “The Story of Seabiscuit” (1949). At left is co-star Barry Fitzgerald, Director David Butler, Shirley, and John Agar.

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Macabre Monday

In this September 1969 image, a father with just my type of humor is shown in an open grave on Tom Sawyer Island. The daughter looks appropriately melancholy. “Oh, Dad! Do we have to jump in the grave?” This is new to me; I don’t recall ever seeing an open grave that guests could pose inside of. The earliest shot in my collection of the “Unknown Guest” marker is from February 2006. By this time, the marker has been smoothed over and the area is not deep enough to climb into. If I had to guess, the year probably changed annually and this was once a picture spot. Probably not sponsored by Kodak though.

Little old me posing outside of the fence in 2006. Always following rules! Any other readers recall this vintage picture spot?

See more Disneyland Tom Sawyer Island photos at my main website.

Friday, April 19, 2024

TGIFort Wilderness!

It’s been awhile since we’ve visited Fort Wilderness at Daveland, so what better day than TGIFort Wilderness Day? Although a version (and that’s the kindest word I can think of) still exists on Tom Sawyer’s Island, the original was a vibrant structure that guests of all ages could explore and run rampant through. First shot is from October 1958. In the closeup below you can see the perfectly themed hand-done signage.

These three lads from June 1962 seem to be having a blast at the Fort.

The entrance, circa September 1963

How about this vintage purse? The design doesn’t ring a bell here, but it looks like some kind of referee. It appears that it might say “Varsity Tote.”

In the woman’s hand, she is holding a Park Brochure with a Tom Sawyer Island brochure sandwiched inside. The portion sticking out shows Tom and Huck’s Tree House.

The supporting evidence:

More from this family’s September 1963 visit to the Fort:

An example of Walt Disney’s beloved Edu-tainment:

The costumed cast member in this September 1969 looks like he just walked off the set of the 1965-67 sitcom “F Troop.”

An interior shot from the same batch:

On the left you have the Union Soldier, on the right, you have an actual member of the military, enjoying a day of leave at the Fort.

A father and his kids:

Sister holds back brother, who probably wants to rip into that bag of Lays chips.

See more Disneyland Fort Wilderness photos at my main website.