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

Weather vanes retained decorative popularity, even as use faded
Las Vegas Review-Journal, July 31st

By 1935, Ideal had copyrighted the dolls and made them in seven sizes ranging from 11 to 27 inches. All 1930s Shirley Temple dolls are made of composition, a mixture of sawdust, glue and sometimes cornstarch, flour or resin. Your doll was made in 1935, ...Read more

Beware of cheaper copies of weathervanes
Tyler Morning Telegraph, July 27th

By 1935, Ideal had copyrighted the dolls and made them in seven sizes ranging from 11 to 27 inches. All 1930s Shirley Temple dolls are made of composition, a mixture of sawdust, glue and sometimes cornstarch, flour or resin. Your doll was made in 1935, ...Read more

Shirley Temple Fans Flock to Kansas City and the Internet to Own a Piece of ...
Business Wire (press release), July 23rd

“Love, Shirley Temple”, presented by Theriault's, the world's leading auction house for childhood objects. The auction featured 580 film costumes, props, celebrity gifts, dolls, toys, and playthings cherished and carefully preserved by Shirley...Read more

Shirley Temple dress is sold for $75000 at auction in Kansas City
Kansas City Star, July 14th

Maryland-based Theriault's auction house, which runs 70 percent of the global auction market for dolls, organized the auction on behalf of Temple's estate. Fans of the child star had the chance to see pieces on Monday, when they went on display for the...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 think of her mother and how ... “It's what I always wanted,” Cotter, 61, of Wichita, said of the Shirley Temple doll. “This is me pursuing a...Read more

Shirley Temple Memorabilia Going To Auction
Vanity Fair, July 11th

Get ready to have “On The Good Ship Lollipop” stuck in your head, because over 550 items from Shirley Temple's illustrious Hollywood career are hitting the auction block on July 14. Included in the lot are hundreds of dolls, toys, and other objects...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

Shirley Temple's Keepsakes Going On Tour, From Her Dolls To Her Baby Grand
The Inquisitr, March 31st

So which of Shirley Temple's keepsakes could you own? There's the baby grand piano and child-sized race car from Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, her own autograph collection and her movie costumes, doll collection and gifts given to her by actors and...Read more