‘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.