*Includes pictures of the child stars and important people, places, and scenes.
*Includes Temple and Garland's own quotes about their lives, films and relationships.
*Includes a Bibliography on each for further reading.
*Includes a Table of Contents.
Shirley Temple remains the most famous child star of all time, but even this designation fails to reflect the magnitude of her popularity during the era in which she worked. While it is true that she was not the first child actor to reach Hollywood fame, she was the first - and to this day, perhaps the only - star who rose to the very pinnacle of the Hollywood elite before she even turned 10 years old. For this reason, it is no exaggeration to view Shirley as the progenitor for all of the child actors that succeeded her. Moreover, her cultural importance constitutes an even more important barometer through which to measure her overall significance. Not only was Shirley a film star, but she had a monumental impact on a generation of children who grew up during the Great Depression, with her plucky optimism emotionally uplifting an American public struggling both financially and emotionally. She was not only a young actress but also a brand name, someone who offered fathers and mothers hope for their children to achieve the same success as the famous child star.
For all of Shirley Temple’s fame, it is no doubt surprising to many that her actual films received scant critical acclaim. Her films were never mentioned on critical “best of” lists, nor did they regularly appear on the list of nominees for the Academy Awards. In fact, even though most everyone has viewed at least one of her films, it is unlikely that most people could name many of her films. How exactly did Temple first reach Hollywood fame, and how did the many films she appeared in between 1934 and 1938 - the height of her career - build her fame to its lofty peak even as they were quickly forgotten?
In many ways, Judy Garland’s rise to fame seems almost predestined. Not only was she a national sensation at a young age, but her parents and sisters were all vaudeville entertainers. On top of that, Garland’s parents owned and operated a movie theater, making it all the easier to draw the conclusion that singing and acting were simply professions which she was born into by virtue of her pedigree. Judy’s early childhood quickly demonstrated that she had a gifted voice that developed well beyond its years and seemingly did not require any formal training in order to achieve success; her first performance before a public audience came when she was still a toddler, and she would continue to act up until her death, never pausing for more than a few months at a time. That Garland was able to secure starring roles almost immediately after signing a contract with MGM in 1935 only corroborates the belief that Garland was practically born with the ability to succeed in show business and the motion picture industry.
Of course, Garland might be known today based more on her demise than anything else, and there’s no denying that one of the most fascinating (and tragic) aspects of her life story is the manner in which her downward spiral occurred with the same rapid progression as her meteoric ascent. Garland died in 1969 at the age of 47, but she had lost control over her life years earlier and was actually fortunate to live as long as she did.
This book profiles the lives and careers of the two most famous child stars in American history. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Shirley Temple and Judy Garland like you never have before.