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Old 07-06-2001, 01:58 AM
Redboss Redboss is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Downunder - Melbourne, Oz
Posts: 1,158
Move along there folks - no pornogrphy here! nothing to see. Move along please...


They were actually called "Baby Burlesks" I believe. This was considered a kute spelling back then.

I think it would be going too far to say these films were bad taste or that the costumes were sexy. I mean the early thirties were a far more innocent time than now, and these films were just seen as dress-up parodies. The (mostly non-existent) hilarity was meant to come from the disparity between the exotic original movie star and the chubby child portrayal.

For example, Shirley portrayed Marlene Dietrich (as "More-legs Sweet-trick". Her wooden performance is just like that of any little kid parroting lines.

But the Burlesks were very early in her career. When she was a Big Star, and films were tailored to her personality, there were a couple of things that to modern eyes seem uncomfortable.

First, she frequently performed in very short dresses. Secondly, she almost always sat on some man's lap and charmed him. In fact there's a lot of manhandling by men: during the performance of the Good Ship Lollipop song a plane full of men pass her around bodily, by necessity grasping her in an intimate way from time to time.

The thing is this really didn't seem inappropiate then. Sex wasn't seen as such a large part of everyone's life, and adults in contact with children were assumed to take a parental role.

Except that a British writer, Graeme Green, pointed out in a film review the wriggly, seductive, nature of Shirley's charm act.

Immediately the 20th Century Fox legal department swung into action, and Mr Green paid a heavy price. The offending article was suppressed, and not republished again until the eighties.

So the sexual aspects of her work were kept where they could be most effective - in the audiences' unconscious.

Her parents were wonderful. In an era when many child stars were exploited and swindled, and had extremely difficult lives, the Temples ensured that she reamined as unspoilt as possible. Certainly her life after the movie career finished was a success. True, she made a foolish, too early first marriage. But her later years have been rewarding. Her involvement in Republican Party politics have involved an ambassadorship to Ghana (was it?) in Africa, where she was extremely popular in her own adult right.

So, in a word - pornographic - never.

Thank you for the opportunity to pontificate about ST. None of my real-life friends will stand still long enough. I appreciate it.