Tuesday, February 11, 2014
A Celebration of Shirley Temple Black
Sadly, America's Legendary Sweetheart of the 1930's has passed away. Shirley Temple Black was a ray of sunshine for a Depression-weary nation, who helped people forget their troubles while she sang, danced, and solved the problems of everyone around her in less than 80 minutes. Actress, wife, mother, and politician, she lived a very full life during every single one of her 85 years. In the doll world, the Shirley Temple doll is still legendary, 80 years after it was first introduced by the Ideal Toy Company in 1934.
With expressive eyes and soft blonde mohair curls, Shirley's likeness flew off the shelves at a time when people didn't have the money for frivolous items such as a doll. The desire to have a little Shirley at home overcame any financial reservations, and the sales put the Ideal Toy Company back in the black.
Today, a vintage composition Shirley Temple doll represents warm memories and happiness to so many.
In later years, Shirley licensed the manufacturing of the doll to the Danbury Mint, who released a whole slew of porcelain Shirleys for new generations to cherish and treasure. This 75th Anniversary Shirley, representing her as she looked in "The Little Princess," is one of my favorites.
Over the years, there have been large Shirleys (36") and small Shirleys that measure less than 6":
Some of the dolls, like this 1980s vinyl edition by Ideal are downright creepy:
While others are so lifelike you almost expect to hear them say, "Oh My Goodness!"
It will be interesting to see if new Shirley Temple dolls will continue to be released now that Shirley is gone, or if their popularity has merely peaked. I would think that as long as her movies are made available to new generations, Shirley Temple will continue to charm with her message of love and positivity.
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