Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

February 19, 2014

Collecting pieces honoring 'America's Sweetheart'

Able to hold her own with some of the finest tap dancers of the 20th Century, always coiffed with 56 perfect golden ringlets, and driven by one of the most notorious stage mothers of all time, little Shirley Jane Temple burst onto the big screen at the age of 3 to begin a career that would establish her as the greatest child star in American film history.

Her first major hit came in the 1934 release “Bright Eyes,” for which she was presented with a specially designed miniature Oscar for her performance. It was peak of the Great Depression, and her wining smile and sunny disposition came as a ray of hope for the desperation that faced thousands. Her film career spanned 15 years during which she made more than 20 full length feature films. Today the dolls made in her likeness are considered to be one of the most collectible of all American-made dolls.

The ideal Toy Company was the first to manufacturer the Shirley Temple doll from 1934 to 1939. Available in nine sizes ranging from 11 to 27 inches tall, the composition dolls were made of six pieces strung together with elastic and painted flesh tone. They have hazel eyes with upper hair lashes and painted eyebrows, lower lashes and lips and mohair wigs. They are marked SHIRLEY TEMPLE on the back of the head or neck.

Shirley Temple baby dolls, produced in 1935 and 1936 are the most highly-sought by collectors. They were made with either composition or rubber and are marked SHIRLEY TEMPLE on the back of the head. The baby dolls came both bald and wigged. They will have an open mouth with three lower teeth and two upper ones. Their original costume consisted of an organdy long dress and bonnet with cotton panties and slip and leather booties. Height range on these dolls will be from 16 to 27 inches.

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