Several years ago, during an Oscars broadcast, the living winners of Academy Awards were all assembled on the stage. As each of their names were announced, the audience applauded, with varying degrees of enthusiasm – until her name was announced: Shirley Temple.
Suddenly the venue all but exploded with applause and cheers, the loudest ones of the evening. The former 1930’s child actress turned diplomat looked shocked at first, then very pleased. That was an audience of her peers and they were all so thrilled to see her, so many years after she’d retired from making movies, but something else was quite apparent to me, watching at home: this woman, as a child, was everybody’s favorite actress.
I’d loved her, too – but I was first introduced to her work via television in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The Depression during which she’d been so popular and had brought such cheer to the masses was long over by then. I still adored her work, but perhaps I’d missed a little something extra about it, simply by having been born during a more prosperous era that was marked by dissent and protests rather than by severe and debilitating economic hardship. One look at all of those cheering stars and their reaction to Shirley Temple brought that fact home. I had read her autobiography when it was published during the 1980’s but after seeing the Oscars show, I wanted to learn more.
If you’d also like to find out additional information about the child phenom loved the world over, then the new book, Shirley Temple: The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression by John F. Karron is definitely for you! It’s a terrific read, too. The author has done a fantastic job of researching not only Shirley Temple’s contribution to the entertainment world but the larger historical factors that were at play during her reign as Top Box Office Attraction of 1935-1938. The optimistic little girl raised spirits during one of the lowest times in recent history. Of course the world adored her, and rightly so.
The book is all the more poignant as it was released following Shirley Temple’s recent passing. I urge whoever loves history, entertainment, and the history of entertainment to rush right out and pick up a copy of this book – find out about Shirley’s life and times. You’ll love it!