Shirley Temple, America's Sweetheart

Topics: Great Depression, Girl, Love Pages: 3 (1007 words) Published: April 24, 2012
America’s Sweetheart
In the 1930s, the United States suffered immense economic turmoil known as the Great Depression. Americans were full of hopelessness and sorrow and no longer were able to go to the movies because there was no money for it. Therefore, it was no surprise that when a bright and young new face came onto theater screens, people latched onto it with extreme fascination; some near obsession. This rising starlet, who could put a smile on even the saddest face, was Shirley Temple. In 1935, at just three and a half years of age, Shirley instantly became the number one box office sensation and held onto the title for four straight years; yet she remained successful way beyond those years. Men, women, and children adored her loving personality and innocence; she was a breath of fresh air in a time of hardships and struggles.

During the Great Depression, less people went to the theaters because they could no longer afford the extra expense. In response, desperate movie makers produced films with more sex and violence to lure the audience and money back in. This posed as a great problem in society, mainly with women and children, because no mother would want to subject her child to such filth. Therefore, when Shirley Temple movies premiered in the early 1930s, women were excited about going to the theaters again. Shirley provided pure and classy entertainment that mothers would not hesitate to take their children to. Although the films that Shirley starred in were by no means spectacular, she managed to rise above the script and give the audience what they needed and craved in such a time of despair. People were so enthralled by this little girl with such big talent, spirit, and liveliness that they did not care how “mediocre…[the] movie might be, the people flocked to see her” regardless (Fuller-Seeley, 49). She provided her audience with laughter in a gloomy time, pure love in a lonely world, and innocence in a place of filth and greed. And for that...

Cited: Shirley Temple in 'War Babies ' (1932). Perf. Temple, Shirley. 1932. Web. 3 Oct 2011. <>.
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