During the bleak years of the Great Depression, the lovable Shirley Temple became a symbol of happiness and hope for audiences around the world. In 1934, 20th Century Fox film songwriter Jay Gorney was taken with the dimpled, flaxen-haired star of a short film that preceded the feature at a local Los Angeles theater. As he was leaving, Gorney was surprised to recognize Temple and her family at the same theater, and soon the young actress was signing her first contract with Fox. By the end of the year, Temple would be featured in seven films, and would become the top-grossing box office star in the world.
Meanwhile, the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company approached the Temple family with its Shirley Temple doll concept, and sculptor Bernard Lipfert was tasked to create its unique mold. After seeing more than 20 variations, both the Temple family and Ideal’s staff were satisfied, and the first composition Shirley Temple doll was created.
The earliest prototype was made from composition with three different wig options—red, blond, and brunette. A more generic version of the doll was also marketed without using Temple’s last name. In October of 1934, Ideal applied for a patent, and the Shirley Temple doll was officially announced in an issue of the retail industry magazine “Playthings.”
The updated design came in four sizes, with hazel eyes and curly, strawberry-blonde hair. The product’s only marking read “COP IDEAL N&T Co.” which was imprinted on the back of the doll’s head. Shirley Temple dolls came complete with a polka-dotted dress like the one she wore in “Stand Up and Cheer,” along with an official tag and celluloid button.
At $3.00 each, even the smallest Shirley Temple dolls weren’t cheap. Yet the toys were a hit, and soon Ideal commissioned designer Mollye Goldman to create a variety of outfits based on Temple’s film roles. Shirley Temple fans soon had an assortment of organdy dresses to choose from, many in cute sailor striped or polka-dotted styles.
These mini-versions of the child star quickly became Ideal’s best-selling product, and were made in nine different sizes. Other companies created knockoffs and found creative ways to skirt copyright law. Beginning with its “Little Colonel” doll, Madame Alexander purchased the rights to the books on which Temple’s films were based and marketed their dolls using these titles.
Over the years, Ideal modified its product, slimming the face mold, altering her coloration, and embossing the Shirley Temple name on both its body and head. Extensive lines of c...
After a nearly 20-year hiatus, the company released a slightly more grown-up Shirley Temple doll made from vinyl in 1957. Temple became closely involved with the production and promotion of Ideal’s new series, and two years later helped launch its first “Shirley Temple Playpal” doll, which was a full three feet in height.
In 1960, the first Shirley Temple Collectors Club was established. From the '60s through the '80s, new Shirley Temple dolls were regularly distributed by companies like Montgomery Ward and the Danbury Mint, aimed primarily at nostalgic adult collectors.
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Recent News: Shirley Temple Dolls
Source: Google News
D. Dudley Bloom, 92, real estate executivePhilly.com, August 29th
Among them were the "Magic Milk Bottle," which allowed little girls to play-feed their dolls, and Shirley Temple's Magnetic TV Theater, with which children could stage a show from behind a pretend TV screen. After leaving AMSCO in 1962, he tried to...Read more
Shirley Temple Auctions Reinvigorates Interest In The Former Child StarKpopStarz, August 23rd
America's biggest child star, Shirley Temple, died in 2014. Temple's toys, dolls, costumes and childhood memorabilia have been on display in the Santa Monica History Museum and on auction blocks over the past few months, reigniting interest from...Read more
Two Good Reasons to Visit St. Albans, QueensNew York Times, August 21st
The historic district is part of St. Albans, Queens, a predominantly black, middle-class neighborhood where another sort of nostalgia can be indulged at the MARIA ROSE INTERNATIONAL DOLL HOUSE, which opened in July. Ethnically diverse dolls ... A...Read more
Shirley Temple memorabilia evokes memories and the magic of movie starsLos Angeles Times, August 21st
On a warm afternoon in early June, when a sane person would have headed for the beach or at least the backyard, I discovered that a collection of Shirley Temple's toys, dolls, costumes and childhood memorabilia was on display in the Santa Monica...Read more
Shirley Temple's memorabilia auction may rack up high dollars in KCKansas City Star, July 13th
She was looking at one of the many Shirley Temple dolls that the actress owned as a child. It made Cotter ... It also coincides with the United Federation of Doll Clubs annual convention, which is being held at the Downtown Marriott this week. It's...Read more
Shirley Temple Black memorabilia to be exhibited this weekend at Stanford TheatreSan Jose Mercury News, June 10th
After months of unpacking, cataloging and hanging the costumes in her mother's cedar-lined closets, this dress along with more than 100 costumes, dolls and other Shirley Temple memorabilia will be exhibited Friday through Sunday at the Stanford Theatre...Read more
Legendary Actress Shirley Temple's Personal Childhood Collection Of Movie ...PR Newswire (press release), April 21st
ANNAPOLIS, Md., April 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- While Shirley Temple, the famously dimpled child star danced, sang and smiled her way into hearts throughout the Great Depression years of the 1930s, her mother, Gertrude Temple, was busy preserving the ...Read more
Lost Shirley Temple doll still her favoriteQuad City Times, December 24th
Santa left no gifts, no Shirley Temple doll. Wallie remembers, “I cried and cried. Then he returned and handed me a big box. I tore off the wrapping paper. My hands were shaking. Inside was my Shirley Temple doll. It was the happiest Christmas of my life...Read more