Shirley Temple Dolls
The Little Princess
Advertisement from 1935
Handmade porcelain from Stand up and Cheer
Hand and footprints at Grumans Chinese Theatre
No two Temple dolls look exactly alike! Not only did the dolls have distinctly different characteristics, but also the markings on the back of the dolls. The first marked on the inside of the head "(C) 1934 Ideal Novelty and Toy Co." “SHIRLEY TEMPLE” (in the shape of a half circle) or with IDEAL N & T Co. with COP for copyright pending and other markings for later dolls.
Bild-Lilli, the inspiration for the Barbie doll, began as a sexy cartoon character, created by Reinhard Beuthien in the early 50's. Bild-Lilli first appeared as a cartoon character in the German Bild newpaper on June 24, 1952. Bild-Lilli's adventures found immediate appeal with readers, especially the male readers. The cartoon always consisted of a picture of Lilli talking to her friends or boss (“As you were angry when I was late this morning I will leave the office at five pm sharp!").. She was classy, sassy, fashionable much like Marlene Dietrich of the 1930’s movies.
It was decided to create a doll in Lilli's likeness On August 12 1955. Lilli was first sold in Germany and usually found in smoke shops.
Lilli’s original stand is round and the doll’s foot has holes that fit on to a prong of metal. She has a miniature copy of the newspaper Bild-Zeitung.
The doll came in two sizes, 30cm and 19cm, the hair wasn’t rooted but a cut-out scalp that was attached by a hidden metal screw, usually blonde with a ponytail and one curl kissing the forehead. Head and limbs attached with coated rubber bands. Fingernails painted red, shoes and earrings molded on. The doll cost around 12 Marks, by no means a cheap toy when the average monthly salary was 200 to 300 Marks.
Lilli came as a dressed doll, her wardrobe consisted mainly of “Dirndl” dresses but had outfits for parties, beach and business suits.
Production ceased in 1964.
Lilli was the inspiration for the American Barbie doll, which has celebrated more than 60 years continuous production.
Babs: "Hong Kong Lilli"
In the 1950's the Marx Toy Company of Hong-Kong licenced the Bild-Lilli design to produce a similar 11.5 inch doll that also had a range of separate outfits, This doll was produced from the 50's into the 1960's.and is quite similar to Bild-Lilli, but of cheaper plastic. This doll is popularly referred to as "Hong Kong Lilly" or "Hong Kong Lilli". The construction is very similar to Bild-Lilli. Later,Fab-Lu Ltd., (Luften Ltd.-also known as Farber-Luft, Ltd) marketed a plastic fashion doll called Babs based on Bild-Lilli. Babs is marked on the back with an "F" in a square above "Made in HongKong". The Babs mold and wig construction are similar to Bild-Lilli, making her more of a Bild Lilli clone, rather than a Barbie clone.
If you search for Bild-Lilli on eBay you may find some of the Hong Kong Lilly's or Babs dolls, listed as "Bild Lilli", these "Bild-Lilli type" dolls typically sell for under $200 dollars. An original Bild-Lilli in good condition is rare and rivals the No 1 Barbie in price range, so instead of splashing out on an original, some avid Bild-Lilli fans are known to repaint the cheaper Hong Kong Lilli doll, (or even Barbie dolls), to resemble an original Bild-Lilli. However, an original Marx Lilli doll, or Babs, is highly collectible in her own right and her place in doll history is recognised by collectors of fashion dolls.
Shirley Temple was born 23rd April 1928 in California USA, the youngest of three children. She had two elder brothers. She was a good looking, charming and talented child and her mother encouraged her with dancing and singing lessons. While at a dance school she was “spotted” and invited to audition and screen test. She was signed up to a contract in 1933 for $150 per week. Just five years old.
Her first film “Stand Up and Cheer” was a huge success, as was “Baby Take a Bow” and “Little Miss Marker”. Then her salary was upped to $1000 a week with additional bonuses and her mother also was employed for $250 a week. During the Great Depression those sums in today’s money would be worth well into the thousands (if not millions) of dollars. She went on to make over 20 more films. Mostly musicals where she usually played the part of the good fairy, the cupid or the fixer-upper. In the 1930’s Shirley was a superstar and 20th Century Fox’s greatest asset, she was to become the most recognisable person in the world.
Because of this, many products came out in her image, photos and paper products and so on but the most famous being Shirley Temple dolls. Manufactured by the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company off and on until the 1970’s, they were made from composition (a composite of glue mixed with sawdust) then from vinyl. The dolls had open-mouthed smiles and a choice of red, blonde and brunette curls. Sized from 11 inches to 27 inches.
Danbury Mint produced porcelain versions of the doll but many doll makers have bought greenware and made their own porcelain versions of the Shirley Temple doll.
In the 1940’s Shirley’s popularity began to wane and her contract with 20t h Century Fox was dropped. At the age of just 17 she married John Agar an actor. That marriage ended in 1949 and she married Charles Black a businessman. She had three children. In later years Shirley went into politics and ran for a seat in the U.S House of Representatives (unsuccessfully). She was a delegate to the UN General Assembly. Served as US Ambassador to Ghana in 1974, was chief of protocol for President Gerald Ford in 1976 and a member of the U.S. Delegation on African Refugee Problems in 1981. In 1989 she served as ambassador to Czechoslovakia. Shirley died February 10, 2014 in Woodside, California.
Original Bild-Lilli doll
Hong Kong Lilli outfits
Pages from the Bilk-Zietung newspaper