Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sweet Dreams Shirley

Shirley Age 17 (1945)
     Shirley Temple was my introduction to the vintage world.  She conjures up so many memories from my childhood that it's overwhelming.  Heidi, Sara Crewe, and who could forget her singing?  I was so sad to hear of her passing away last night.  Another star joining the pantheon of classic actors in that big production in the sky.  To me, she was a friend, even though I never met her.  

Shirley and Her Doll

     My first exposure to her was through dolls.  When I was a child, I was given a Shirley Temple doll.  Cute, with those classic curls, she remains today in my doll cabinet, an ever present reminder of play times in the past.  Her exuberance timelessly preserved.

     She was one of my first introductions into classic films.  The first movie I owned was The Little Princess (1939), the classic Frances Hodgson Burnett tale brought to life by Shirley as Sara Crewe along with several other actors I adore such as Anita Loos as her wonderful teacher Rose, Sybil Jason as her friend and confidant Becky, Marcia Mae Jones as the snide Lavinia, Mary Nash as the evil Ms. Minchin, Cesar Romero as the savior Ram Daz, the ever delightful Arthur Treacher as Bertie, and of course, Ian Hunter as her father.

Portrait for Little Princess; 1939
     Childhood deformity (which has never left) forced me to become an adult the second I was born.  I often felt myself to be like Sara, long suffering with no help in sight, but determined to make the best out of things.  Even if I did not know how to do something, I was determined to learn how, just like Sara was once she lost her money.  I think the lifelong desire to learn, fostered through this film, is one of my best personality traits.  The film gave me hope that one day I too, would be able to have a normal life.  It never happened, but the thought brought me hope.  Needless to say, it was my favorite film as a child and I wore my VCR out watching it.
Little Princess; 1939

     My favorite scene in the film (aside from Sara finding her father, of course) occurs when Sara and Becky wake up from the poor existence to find the riches gifted to them by their next door neighbor benefactors.  Sara and Becky awaken in their drafty, dark, room to find a roaring fire, dolls, blankets, delicious food, and cozy pajamas.  Finely, all of their hard work is rewarded with love, food, warmth, joy, and rest.
Little Princess; 1939

     Tonight, I hope that the real Shirley is at rest.  You will be greatly missed for all of the joy and hope you brought to me and millions of others.  I could never thank you enough.  Sweet dreams Sara.

1 comment:

RichRed said...

She was one great actress, one so loved by the the curly hair, the cute dimpled smile and most of all her personality that can wow anyone! She will be missed...


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