Then there’s that ‘You’re only as old as you feel’ business, which is true to a point, but you can’t be Shirley Temple on the Good Ship Lollipop forever. Sooner or later, dammit, you’re old.Joan Crawford
Shirley Temple charmed the world as a child star in the 1930s and went on to become one of the nation’s diplomats in posts that included ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, and also served as Chief of Protocol of the United States during the Cold War. A conservative Republican, she was open-minded enough to be in charge of arrangements for President Jimmy Carter‘s inauguration.
In 1935, Temple met with Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt after being invited to a cook-out at their home, where Eleanor, bending over an outdoor grill, was hit smartly in the rear with a pebble from the slingshot that Temple carried everywhere. Her films generated hope and optimism during the Great Depression, and Roosevelt said:
It is a splendid thing that for just fifteen cents, an American can go to a movie and look at the smiling face of a baby and forget his troubles.
Temple began her film career at three-years-old in 1932. Two years later, she achieved international fame in Bright Eyes, a feature film designed specifically for her talents. She received a special Academy Award in February 1935 for her outstanding contribution as a juvenile performer in motion pictures during 1934.
20th Century Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck focused his attention and resources upon cultivating Temple’s superstar status. She was the studio’s Number One star. She beat out Clark Gable, Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper and Crawford. 19 writers, known as the “Shirley Temple Story Development Team”, made 11 original stories and some adaptations of the classics for her projects. She received an average of 16,000 fan letters a month, and for eighth birthday, fans sent her 167,000 presents.
Temple capitalized on licensed merchandise that featured her wholesome image; the merchandise included dolls, dishes, and clothing. Making $1,250 a week at 6-years-old, Temple worked 46 feature films and shorts before she turned 13-years-old. Her box-office popularity waned as she reached adolescence. She appeared in 14 more films from the ages of 14 to 21-years-old. Temple retired from film in 1950 at 22-years-old.
She will also be remembered for a drink designed to supposedly make kiddies look grown-up while dining out. During her diplomatic career, Temple told reporters that everywhere she went people couldn’t resist serving her a “Shirley Temple”. Her signature cocktail was a nonalcoholic mix of 7-Up, grenadine syrup, orange juice and a maraschino cherry that was created in the 1930s by the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood.
The drink, it seems, has a shelf life as long as her films. That’s because it is girly pink and has long embodied glamour in a glass for girls and girly-boys. Real boys and little lesbians ordered a “Roy Rogers”, essentially a Shirley Temple with Cola. Now we have a name for such drinks: the mocktail. They’ve evolved from kid-friendly to sober-adult versions like the “smartini” and the “virgin mary” or “virgin margaritas”. But the original mocktail will always be the Shirley Temple. But, just by adding a shot of vodka, and you’ve got a “Dirty Shirley”.
She was quite proud and protective of the drink that bears her name. Temple twice went to court to defend the drink against companies attempting to use her name to sell a bottled version.