Sunday, February 23, 2014

Does wholesome have to be a dirty word?

As some of you may know, I write. Mostly fiction. Mostly, but not entirely, in the M/M genre. Often of the romantic variety.

I don't feel limited to that genre, though. Also, I don't feel obligated to include sex scenes in every story. Sure, a lot of my writing has explicit sex. But not all, because that's not all I can do. At least I hope I'm more than the sum of my heroes' body parts, if you know what I mean.

But this is more than just a discussion of how much sex is too much, how little is enough. No, this is about someone who recently died, someone who could be considered the epitome of wholesome. And is that such a bad thing?

That's a picture of Shirley Temple from 2013, looking pretty damn good. If you look, you can see the little girl she was, the one that stole the hearts of the world.

I've been a fan since I was a girl, so a long time. I've seen most of her films, many of them multiple times. She was just such an adorable little girl, how couldn't you love her? Here are some of my faves, in no particular order:

The Little Princess (1939)

Shirley plays Sara Crewe, whose father is a military officer who goes off to fight in the Boer War and leaves that Arthur Treacher who used to have fish & chip restaurants here) persuades her not to. But the mean woman makes Sarah into a servant, and the snobby girls treat her abysmally and life is hard. Still, she never gives up believing her daddy is alive and will come home to her. This makes me cry even now. Love this movie (look for the Mad Movie version which makes her doll evil and possessed lol). Also look for a small role played by a very handsome Cesar Romero, who was quite good looking back in the day and might be best remembered as the Joker, on the Batman TV show (hard to tell what he looks like beneath that garish makeup lol)

Sara in a girls' boarding school. Life is good, despite some of the snobby girls who look down on her, until word is received that her father has been killed in action. Sara has no place to go. The headmistress wants to throw her on the street, but her nice brother (played by Arthur Treacher, yes

Bright Eyes (1934)

Shirley plays a little girl named Shirley, whose mother works as a maid for a rich, snobbish family, the Smythes. They have a very spoiled brat child named Joy (played by Jane Withers, who is probably best known for her portrayal in later years as Josephine the Plumber) and a wealthy wheelchair bound uncle Ned, whom they bend over backward to please (can anyone say inheritance?) Shirley's late father was a pilot, and she is a favorite among his aviator friends, especially Loop. When Shirley's mother is killed in an accident, Loop wants to raise Shirley, but he's a single man. And Uncle Ned has taken a shine to her (unlike the horrible spoiled Joy) and wants her himself. The story is complicated by the appearance of Loop's ex, who is helping Ned gain custody of Shirley (despite the Smythe's wishing Shirley would just go away). One of the highlights of this film is Shirley on the plane, singing Good Ship Lollipop.

 Curly Top (1935)

Shirley plays Elizabeth Blair. She and her older sister Mary live in an orphanage. The head of the orphanage
is not very  nice to the little girls, and neither is one of the directors. Neither appreciates Elizabeth's high spirits and playfulness and try to quell them. Mary works at the orphanage, being over the legal age, and she does what she can, but she's afraid to be separated from her sister. A new benefactor arrives, is enchanged by Elizabeth and wants to adopt her, but he learns that there is an older sister, who won't let her go. And he is enchanted by the older sister. So he spins a tale about a rich man who wishes to remain anonymous who adopts the two and takes them to live with him. Look for Arthur Treacher as the butler, and listen  for Shirley to sing Animal Crackers. A delightful film!

The Littlest Rebel (1935)

Shirley plays Virgie Cary, and this time for once she isn't poor, but lives on a Southern plantation during the Civil War. Her daddy (John Boles, who was also in Curly Top) is a Confederate. Sneaking back to see his family, he gets caught and they plan to shoot him as a spy. Virgie has to save her daddy. Look for Bill "Bojangles" Robinson as Uncle Billy. Love their dance numbers! Look for the scene at the beginning where she's having a birthday party and they're having ice cream when the little fat boy wants more but there is no more, and Shirley gives up her own to him lol Also, look for the scene at the end with Abe Lincoln.

There are so many more. Heidi, the classic story of a girl who goes to live with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps, and wins his heart. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, which has being used by her guardians because she is talented, but they don't really love her. The Little Colonel, another Civil War tale involving a hardhearted grandfather. The Stowaway, with costar Robert Young (best known for Father Knows Best and Marcus Welby, M.D.), which takes place in China. Susannah of the Mounties, which costars Randolph Scott as her guardian.

Shirley's popularity didn't survive her growing up, as is often the case with child stars. She married John Agar, who was in a few John Wayne films, as well as the Sci Fi "classic" Tarantula. Later on, she served as embassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia. What a full life!

Shirley Temple had a very sweet and charming nature. I'm not sure how well this generation has embraced her, but I hope they do. These are films for people of all ages, every generation.

Yes, I do enjoy writing and reading about sex. But it isn't everything, and it shouldn't be. There's room for stories that don't have it too. Diversity, after all. It's the spice of life.

If you don't know Shirley Temple, check her out. I can't say enough good things about her.

Rest in peace, Shirley.

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

No comments:

Post a Comment