Thursday, March 13, 2008

Shirley Temple - Grauman's Handprints

On March 14, 1935, some 73 years ago tomorrow, Shirley Temple put her small hands and bare feet in wet cement.

The box office champ for 1936, 1937 and 1938, three years in a row, and the savior of Fox studios, had not even hit her stride when she did the Grauman’s Chinese Theater sidewalk treatment.

Her film, “The Little Colonel” had just been released the previous month, with Lionel Barrymore, Hattie McDaniel, and that famous tap dancing up the stairs routine devised by the remarkable Bill Robinson.

Shirley Temple, not quite 7 years old at the time she got her hands in cement, would make three other pictures that year, one of the hardest working kids in Hollywood. The only thing more pleasing than reflecting on her early success is knowing that the rest of her life, beyond the soundstage, was varied, and full, and evidently a great pleasure to her. Hollywood film history is filled so many tragic stories of lives ruined. Miss Box Office Champ had a long way to fall even before she reached her 10th birthday. How nice that she didn’t, but just skipped along safely to other levels, like the little kid holding Mr. Robinson’s hand, bouncing up and down those stairs.

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