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

Circling the Square: Stringer's retirement a loss for the community
Wicked Local, February 4th

Of course, I had a beautiful Shirley Temple doll I absolutely loved. ... Interestingly, actress Kirstie Alley, who has always had a problem with her weight, asked on Twitter if the celebrations of the newest Barbie dolls as role models should be taken...Read more

An Analysis of Alfred Hitchcock's Thriller, Rebecca
Huffington Post, February 4th

Here we have a young bride (Joan Fontaine) who is so displaced and alone that we are somehow reminded of a more twisted version of Little Orphan Annie arriving at Daddy Warbuck's house, or Shirley Temple in The Little Princess, curled up by a fire...Read more

In age of apps, an exhibit of vintage toys
Inquirer.net, February 2nd

The antique dolls in the exhibit are a China head doll (German made, 1905-1910), a metal head doll (made by Minerva Dolls in the United States), and a Russian doll (France, made of ceramic). Contemporary celebrity dolls include those of Shirley Temple...Read more

The soul songs that saved me: Sexuality, the South, sadness, meet Al Green and ...
Salon, January 30th

She was the creamy-skinned dream child relatives adored, with long hair, a living doll with Shirley Temple vibrancy. The girl danced and sang for anybody who paid attention, and Dusa loved attention. Mama Teacake's attachment to her bordered on ...Read more

This Happened at the SAG Awards: 22 Moments That Need Remembering
E! Online, January 29th

Twelve-year-old Dakota Fanning brought a Shirley Temple doll with her on stage in 2006 to introduce Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Shirley Temple Black. SAG has a history of recognizing the young talent in its midst. Dakota was a nominee at 8 for ...Read more

Theater Listings for Jan. 29-Feb. 4
New York Times, January 28th

This spiked Shirley Temple of a show, which first opened in 1992 and now returns with less fizz, follows the adventures of Tina Denmark (Tori Murray), a stage-struck prepubescent with occasional homicidal tendencies. But what must have once seemed...Read more

BOOK EXCERPT: 'In a Different Key: The Story of Autism' by John Donvan and ...
ABC News, January 15th

One of the nurses took possession of her prized Shirley Temple doll -- which she would never see again -- and directed her in-stead to the shelves of communal toys, games, and books. Another nurse took away the clothes and shoes she had worn from home ...Read more

Shirley Temple's memorabilia auction may rack up high dollars in KC
Kansas 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