Susie Bright: "My Psychoanalyst Says There Ain't Any Santa Claus"

Bright Eyes (1934)

Starring Shirley Temple, with Charles Sellon -- completely upstaged by uber-brat Jane Withers. I'm starting to see where PeeWee Herman got some of his moves!

One of the best rat-a-tat-tat's is between the Indulgent Mom and her Spoiled Child:

Anita Smythe: Now, dear, practice your piano and Mama will buy you something nice.
Joy Smythe: What?
Anita Smythe: Anything you like. What do you especially want?
Joy Smythe: A machine gun!
Withers was cast- and everyone else sent home- the moment the director, David Butler, heard her impression of a machine gun.

Bright Eyes
was quite the splash for our Shirley.  She won the first "child's" Oscar and made a hit out of the film's classic tune, "The Good Ship Lollypop." It was 1934's big Christmas movie. Even the dog in the show was a star- the same pooch played Toto in The Wizard of Oz!

(Susie Bright is a guest blogger)


  1. I was thinking the same thing, Takuan.

    IMDB lists it as being black and white. Perhaps it was colorized for a DVD release; didn’t they do that for Casablanca, etc?

  2. Speaking of Toto… The original plan was for The Wizard Of Oz to be a Shirley Temple vehicle. I’m still thanking whatever deity prevented that outcome.

  3. Ted Turner “colorized” a lot of the films when he bought the backlogs of, I dunno, Warner Brothers, MGM y otras. They really looked shitty and soon disappeared from circulation. It could be done better today, of course, but why?

    Sometime back in the 60s or or70s the Chinese bought the patented Technicolor process; all those startling lipstick reds appealed to them, I guess; just the thing for swirling banners.

  4. I Love Shirley Temple. I’m not sure why. She was an integral part of my childhood, I watched these videos when I was just a bit older than a toddler until I was at least seven or eight. I find child stars depressing, but I still get a grin every time I see anything with Shirley in it.

    I used to bawl my eyes out at the one video where her mother is hit by a car.

    And no sir! They did a VHS run where everything was colorized. A whole Shirley Temple Collection.

  5. Nobody is talking about the most important thing. Joy Smythe should have been whacked in the head by the old coot in the wheelchair. Pee Wee is charming. She’s just a brat.

  6. Well, TENN,

    I must be the anti-you.

    Even as a prepubescent I found Temple and all things Disney to be cloying, annoying, and insipid. I did not seek out this attitude. It was foisted upon me by the lack of critical assessment by the so-called adults around me.

    My opinion has not changed over fifty years.

  7. Oh, Zeroy, I dislike just about everything Disney and cartoony, Barbies, anything with a sickeningly sweet and glazed over ‘moral’. When my churchmate girl’s group were discussing the latest Disney movie, I was banned from discussing the Hannibal Lecter movies I’d snuck to see. When my fellow five year olds were begging me to play with dolls, I was playing GI Joe and climbing trees.

    Shirley Temple was my weakness, which is what makes it all the stranger.

  8. I have a great interpretation of “The Good Ship Lollipop” as sung by a pervy child porn enthusiast. Not exactly an original idea, but there’s a lot of room for experimentation.

    OK. I’ll shut up now.

  9. tenn! anti just called YOU disturbed. “hey Kettle”, said Pot, “I got something I wanna tells ya…”

  10. In your crucifixion of her films, you might want to look at people other than Shirley herself — at the age she was working, she hardly would have had creative control (or even input) — and she retired when she was old enough to make that decision.

    Shirley Temple (Black) is one of the precious few child stars to go on to a productive professional life (ambassador, diplomat,etc) — and seems to be as well-adjusted and “normal” (whatever that means) as the rest of us.

    She’s also a breast cancer survivor.

    Don’t know the lady, just respect the fact that she went on to lead a non-drug-addled, reasonably sane life after being the darling of the silver screen.

  11. That was a nice clip. I needed that, thanks. “My psychoanalyst says there ain’t any Santa Claus!” – I laughed.

  12. You probably all know this, but just in case: The great Graham Greene kicked up a storm when he called her a sex symbol. He knew a perv provoker when he saw one.

    And this, just because I like to say it: My sister was given a Shirley Temple doll when she was two years old. She couldn’t pronounce Shirley Temple; instead she said, “Ooley Gumble.”

    Ol’ Phoebe, she just slays me.

  13. @ Tenn 13:

    I dislike just about everything Disney and cartoony, Barbies, anything with a sickeningly sweet and glazed over ‘moral’.

    I think this is a false conflation. I don’t think the master storytelling and artistic vision that’s evident in many of the products put out by the Disney company over the last 80 years can be lumped together with all things “cartoony”, “Barbie”, or “moral”.

    That said, I loved this move as a kid. Jane Withers as twisted little brat = WIN.

  14. > master storytelling

    You’ve GOT to be kidding me.

    So sad, if that’s what we regard as storytelling.

    I have a story for you:

    I was young. I had a dog. The dog died. I was sad. The End.

    I have another story: Paris seduced Menelaus’ wife, Helen, and took her back to Troy. You can guess the rest.

  15. You’ve GOT to be kidding me.

    So sad, if that’s what we regard as storytelling.

    Are you seriously saying that no good stories have come out of Disney in the past 80 years?

  16. I just watched this clip with my 7 year old daughter. She loved it as much as I did. Now I have to run out and do some last minute Christmas shopping!

  17. I’ve listened to Disney bashing for years. I don’t buy a lot of it. I literally grew up with his stuff. The early animated films are dynamite. “Snow White” is a classic dark comedy that deserved its eight Academy Awards (seven miniature Oscars, I kid you not, for the Dwarfs). “Bambi” spared the lives of thousands of deer by turning much of a generation of boys against deer hunting, as well as introducing the art of the great Walt Kelly. “Pinocchio” is a fairy tale of great charm and execution. And “Fantasia” … is nothing less than the template for film animation. If Disney had stopped there and gone fishing for the rest of his life he would be remembered as the towering genius of the genre.

    But there is, alas, the silly stuff that followed.

  18. yeah, Walt did a lot of good directly and indirectly. All those films,the limitless spin-offs, the memes spawned. If nothing else he prevented evil by crowding it out by being so prolific. It’s just that his penchant for dining on the warm, quivering flesh of small children in his secret dungeon under the castle kinda puts me off. I mean, he didn’t even cook it.

  19. Zeroy: Is it possible that you’re using a different definition of storytelling? To me, that means telling a story. I’ve been far more emotionally affected, and have probably had my life changed more by Shirley Temple films than any of the Greek myths – though I did love those too (and I loved the Norse mythology even more).
    If you watch any of those old films with an open mind, there’s an amazing level of craft and skill put into telling the story. Just because it’s marketed to little kids doesn’t mean it sucks.

  20. Are you seriously saying that no good stories have come out of Disney in the past 80 years?

    I’ll say that no ORIGINAL good stories have come out of Disney in the last 80 years. I’ll also say that Disney’s versions of Cinderella, Snow White, etc… can’t hold a candle to the originals.

    Great merchandise is Disney’s game.

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