Old Movie Teams

Weren’t they also in that other movie?

Shirley Temple & John Boles

As the Great Depression of the 1930s continued to wreak hardship and deprivation for just about everyone, people frequently sought refuge in the movie theater, a place where the fantasy of a charmed life unfettered by harsh reality could be had. One of the stars of this fantasy machine was Shirley Temple. And never perhaps was the fantasy more fantastical than from the three films in which Ms. Temple shared the screen with John Boles. Ms. Temple invariably plays the callow, cute, and precocious child to melodramatic backdrops set in either the Great Depression or the Civil War. Mr. Boles is the handsome, suave, compassionate, and romantic, yet fatherly soul offering with his prepubescent co-star an inevitable staple of sunshine, joy, and warmth. Their first movie together (1934’s Stand Up and Cheer!) showcases their singing talents, though in separate scenes, among a cavalcade of classic vaudville acts intent on uplifting America, if only in spirit, out of its economic woes. Their two remaining collaborations (The Littlest Rebel and Curly Top, both in 1935) tug less fantastically at the heart strings of America, but, now through the combined talents and scenes that Mr. Boles and Ms. Temple share, strive to tug nonetheless poignantly, compassionately, and personally at the heart. While modern sensibilities and a reality removed by nearly 80 years from this kind of movie fare may make it difficult today to derive the same measure of enjoyment as did audiences back then, there is still no denying that the Shirley Temple and John Boles team served up a very appealing treatment of life as it never existed.

1 Comment»

  V.E.G. wrote @

Shirley Temple:
May her memory be eternal! Her parents are gone now, but she will be remembered by her children, Linda, Charles, and Lori. God bless.


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