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Shirley versus Marilyn; you make the call for the doll PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Baird   
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 2:53 PM

My wife recently received an offer from The Danbury Mint to reserve a Shirley Temple tribute photo honoring her birthday last month for only $129 plus $9.80 shipping and service payable in four monthly installments of $34.70.

She will pass on ordering this gem, but the great child star was 85 on Tuesday, April 23, 2013.

Of the hundreds of child stars in my age bracket during the depression years of the 1930s, there are only two I loved and wanted to kiss and marry.

One of these was Shirley Temple and the other was Marilyn Knowlden.

Both of these stars were excellent, but very different. Shirley was beautiful and cute while Marilyn was beautiful and elegant. Marilyn could have played Joan of Arc while Shirley couldn’t.

Shirley was under contract with her mother acting as her agent and hairstylist. Her mom was the one who put the 56 curls in her hair. Shirley was the top box-office star 1935 through 1938 beating out the adult stars. Her films kept her studio, 20th Century Fox, from going bankrupt during these lean years.

Marilyn wasn’t under contract to a studio and could work for any studio, which is responsible for her, being in some truly great films.

Marilyn’s attorney father was her agent and didn’t curl her hair. I couldn’t believe it when beautiful Shirley married John Agar (1921-2002) at the tender age of 17.

He was seven years older, wasn’t handsome, wasn’t an actor at the time, but the marriage got him a contract and he never was a good actor.

This marriage lasted four years with one child. Shirley married a businessman in 1950, and it lasted until his death in 2005, with two children.

She also served her country as an ambassador. I had lost track of Marilyn by the time she had grown up and got married. Due to being under contract to a studio, Shirley made about twice as many films as Marilyn but Marilyn made more high-quality films with more first- class stars.

I list six of the ones I consider best by both stars. Marilyn’s six: Little Women (1933), David Copperfield (1935), Les Miserables (1935), Show Boat (1936), Anthony Adverse (1936) and Marie Antoinette (1938).

Shirley’s six: Little Miss Marker (1934), Bright Eyes (1934), Captain January (1936), Wee Willie Winkie (1937), Heidi (1937) and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938).

In his editorial on May 1, Editor Awad wrote that I liked Harrison’s hot chicks like the Southern major in Morgan’s Raider did. How true! Myself, a southern invader, I think that Harrison has the most hot chicks I have ever seen.

Most of these chicks attend the same church as my friend Father Shine and are married. Was the term “hot chicks” used during the Civil War?

Bill Baird is a Whitewater Township resident who writes a weekly column about old movies and Hollywood trivia.