Shirley Temple Dolls

Shirley Temple was born 23rd April 1928 in California USA, the youngest of three children. She had two elder brothers. She was a good looking, charming and talented child and her mother encouraged her with dancing and singing lessons. While at a dance school she was “spotted” and invited to audition for a screen test. She was signed up to a contract in 1933 for $150 per week at just five years old.

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By the end of the 1930’s Shirley’s popularity began to wane and her contract with 20th Century Fox was dropped.  At the age of just 17, she married John Agar an actor. That marriage ended in 1949 and she married Charles Black, a businessman.  She had three children.  In later years Shirley went into politics and ran for a seat in the U.S House of Representatives (unsuccessfully). She was a delegate to the UN General Assembly.  Served as US Ambassador to Ghana in 1974, was chief of protocol for President Gerald Ford in 1976 and a member of the U.S. Delegation on African Refugee Problems in 1981.  In 1989 she served as ambassador to Czechoslovakia.  Shirley died February 10, 2014 in Woodside, California.

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Her first film “Stand Up and Cheer” was a huge success, as was “Baby Take a Bow” and “Little Miss Marker”. Then her salary was upped to $1000 a week with additional bonuses and her mother also was employed for $250 a week. During the Great Depression those sums in today’s money would be worth well into the thousands (if not millions) of dollars.  She went on to make over 20 more films. Mostly musicals where she usually played the part of the good fairy, the cupid or the fixer-upper.

In the 1930’s Shirley was a superstar and 20th Century Fox’s greatest asset, she went on to become the most recognisable person in the world.

Because of this, many products came out in her image, photos and paper products and so on but the most famous being Shirley Temple dolls. Manufactured by Ideal off and on until the 1970’s, they were made from composition (a composite of glue mixed with sawdust) then from vinyl. The dolls had open-mouthed smiles and a choice of red, blond and brunette curls.  Sized from 11 inches to 27 inches.

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Danbury Mint produced porcelain versions of the doll but many doll makers bought the greenware and made their own porcelain versions of the Shirley Temple doll.

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No two Temple dolls look exactly alike!  Not only did the dolls have distinctly different characteristics, but also the copyright markings on the back of the dolls differed.  

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Hand and Footprints at Graumans Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles

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