‘Gee Whiz You Dames Are Expensive!’

I’ll skip my usual sunny greetings on what is surely a sunny Saturday — at least here in Oakland, sorry! — and dive-bomb straight into the Mothership of Strange.

I’ve cruised the (Mis)information Highway for many a year — I’m on the cusp of my 33rd after all — so it’s pretty damn hard to shock me with its contents. Jaded doesn’t begin to cover it.

But every once in a while, I’ll stumble across something in the public sphere so casually depraved — i.e. not Deep Web snuff films — that I’m left speechless. I’m rendered mute in my contempt for Homo sapiens; like a bird on a wing who’s lost its way, I become deeply confused as to what we’re doing here, and what the fuck is wrong with us.

The 1932 “family comedy” — War Babies — starring Shirley Temple, is one of these discoveries.

Now. Shirley Temple was Hollywood’s #1 box office star from 1935–1938, ages 7–10. Prior to her meteoric rise to dimpled, tap-dancing mega fame, she did a few shorts . . . like this twisted gem.

In this supposed satire of popular war films, we get to watch toddlers — all the “actors” are about four — act out a typical bar scene from this era; honkey-tonk, beer, and surly shirtless men flank a golden-hearted hussy who shakes her money-maker for the men dying on the frontline.

What begins as bizarre — why do I want to watch small children act out the desperate acts of adults in wartime?! — quickly devolves into what I can only describe as kiddie porn lite.

For what it’s worth, Shirley Temple didn’t go off the goddamn rails like so many child-stars did/do, but instead entered politics and became a diplomat serving as the United States Ambassador to Ghana and then to Czechoslovakia.

I hope that helps you sleep a little better at night? For surely this is the stuff of nightmares.


Hankering for more vintage videos? Get your fix right here.

Like what you read? Give Katie Tandy a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.

The author has chosen not to show responses on this story. You can still respond by clicking the response bubble.