My mother introduced me to the films of the iconic child actress, Shirley Temple, when I was five. Mom, who was just a few years younger than Ms. Temple, was raised as a dancer because of her idol.
By the time of my own childhood, in the 1960s, many of Ms. Temple's films were already on television. I loved her pouty voice, and her snappy footwork with the likes of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (The Little Colonel) and Buddy Ebsen (Captain January), to name a few.
It was easy to laugh with Ms. Temple during every movie, but sometimes her touching performances made me cry — when, say, she encouraged Clara to walk, in Heidi, and when she was the Poor Little Rich Girl who found the father she thought she lost in during the Boar War, just before she was to be sent away to an orphanage.
I can carry a tune, but could never really shuffle off to Buffalo. So, a belated thanks to you, Shirley, for sharing your incredible talents with the rest of us.
Signal Press/ 978-0-9740214-0-9
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