Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple Black brought a new perspective to Orson Welles' reputation in her autobiography, "Child Star" (McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1988).
She wrote about a croquet match that was part of a publicity layout on pages 284 - 285:
(Courtesy of www.shirleytemple.com)
"Did you hear my [radio] program about Martians [War of the World]?"
"Yes," I stroked my ball and scowled. It had stopped wide of the final wicket. "Nelson Eddy was why I listened."
Welles turned and leaned on his mallet, waiting. My evening routine included listening to Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. I explained but when guest Eddy came on to sing, I switched stations and stumbled on his.
"Did you believe my program?" he asked, striking a pleasing pose for our photographers.
"No, I knew it wasn't true."
Taking careful aim, I knocked his ball slightly away from the mouth of the final wicket, leaving mine in good position.
His return shot caromed my ball away into a difficult lie.
"How did you know?" he asked.
Engrossed with my final chance, I said nothing and concentrated. I missed.
"Well," I replied resignedly, "if men from Mars had come here, why would just your program be broadcasting the news? That didn't make sense, so I didn't believe it."
And Orson Welles had the reputation
as an enfant terribles?!
Plus you have to wonder about all those adults
who were so terrified by his broadcast!
. . .
(Miss Mave can be reached at theoldmoviemaven@yahoo.com.)


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