Shirley Temple Black passed away this month. She was not only an accomplished child actress, but a well respected U. S. Ambassador.
With Dylan Farrow accusing Woody Allen of molesting her, or Roman Polanski‘s infamous rape of a minor, Shirley Temple’s time in Hollywood makes one pine for the days before people like Allen or Polanski could act with seeming impunity. Alas, a N. Y. Times article on Shirley Temple’s passing mentions several items that demonstrate that there was no innocent age: Hollywood was always Hollywood:
“In 1932, Shirley was spotted by an agent from Educational Pictures and chosen to appear in “Baby Burlesks,” a series of sexually suggestive one-reel shorts in which children played all the roles. The 4- and 5-year-old children wore fancy adult costumes that ended at the waist. Below the waist, they wore diapers with oversize safety pins.”
WTF?! Baby Burlesks?! Sadly, it gets far, far worse:
“On her first visit to MGM, Mrs. [Shirley Temple] Black wrote in her autobiography, the producer Arthur Freed unzipped his trousers and exposed himself to her. Being innocent of male anatomy, she responded by giggling, and he threw her out of his office.”
Arthur Freed got away with this, and likely much, much more with absolute impunity. He was even rewarded with the position of the President of Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences. It is just proof that the Hollywood of Allen and Polanski was the Hollywood of yesteryear as well.