Shirley Temple, the pint-sized star whose youth and effervescence is credited with helping lift Depression era moviegoers’ spirits, died Monday of natural causes. She was 85.
She leaves a legacy of memorable performances in such films as “Heidi,” “The Little Colonel” and “Wee Willie Winkie.” Temple fans flocked to theaters for elaborate production numbers that were bouncy, witty, infectious and irresistible.
Also read: Shirley Temple Dead at 85
These musical diversions cemented Temple’s status as one of the brightest stars of her day, an actress whose popularity eclipsed that of Clark Gable and Greta Garbo. She embodied pluck and confidence at a time of economic hardship and uncertainty.
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In honor of Temple’s contributions to film, TheWrap takes a look at some of her most enduring musical numbers — essential performances one and all.
On the Good Ship Lollipop
Perhaps no song is more synonymous with Temple than this candy-coated ditty from 1934’s “Bright Eyes.” The number was reportedly choreographed by Temple and finds her charming passengers on a taxing airplane. It’s sweet enough to make any stewardess forget to have travelers return their seats and tray tables to their upright positions.
Animal Crackers in My Soup
Temple is the world’s happiest orphan in 1935’s “Curly Top.” She rallies the rest of the kids at the orphanage with her mugging ode to the virtues of kid-friendly food in this spirited number. Its influence continued long after the film was released, getting shout outs in later work by Barbra Streisand and The Muppets.
The tapping feet of Temple and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson are the main source of music in this memorable stair dance from 1935’s “The Little Colonel.” The racial politics of this antebellum confection are iffy, but the two stars’ talent is undeniable.
Oh My Goodness
Temple showed that money can’t buy happiness in 1936’s “Poor Little Rich Girl.” Her neglected heiress confides to her doll collection about her intense feelings of loneliness. They, in turn, come to life. It’s a feat of cinematic wizardry that was dazzling in its day. The best special effect, however, may have been Temple’s mega-watt smile.
Magic Wooden Shoes
This Alpine infused number finds Temple decked out in Swiss attire, windmills whirring in the background as she tap dances in some pretty intimidating clogs. The number is a fantasy, but “Heidi,” the 1937 hit that features “Magic Wooden Shoes,” is notable for being more grounded in reality and genuine emotion than other Temple vehicles. Odd to say about Temple, but it may be her most mature work.