Kennedy Center Honors Shirley Temple

by: Steve Klemetti

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but first in always there was the unspoiled little girl with corkscrew curls whose idealism and spunk could overcome a world of troubles she was unsinkable indestructible she could high step with Bill Bojangles Robinson playoff Cary Grant upstaged Carole Lombard in Alice Faye and sing with innocent splendor oh yeah when Lionel Barrymore forgot his lines she remembered them for him this Depression kid who supported her family cheered up a nation and became part of the American spirit we made her a legend but she insisted on being herself she left films at an age when most of us are only beginning to make them and what she left us was astonishment and wonder a child who will forever define the magic of the movie screen [Applause] [Music] she came out of the dark smiled at us and we were hers ever after [Music] the fairytale unfolds on a quiet Street in Santa Monica her mother prayed for a girl and got a golden child they couldn't wait for Shirley to start dancing school Gertrude picked miss megwin's a favorite of talent scouts Shirley made her debut in the comedy shorts called baby burlesque's she was three years old she [Music] was a sensation in one reelers but could she make it in a big studio movie when Fox offered her a little number as she skipped down the backlot prettied up in polka-dots and came out dancing [Music] [Applause] [Music] it was 1934 and there wasn't much to gladden the hearts of Americans tomorrow's were just tomorrow's and then out of the dark we heard this sweet child's voice splendid said President Roosevelt that for just 15 cents we can go to the movies and forget our troubles when we see her smiling face she was all dimples and 55 curls little Miss fix-it could melt the fittest heart but we loved her best spunky and sassy [Music] they call me the world Colonel what Under the Sun do they call you that for because I've got such a temper I still my foot when I get mad I give a rim of a Shirley Temple was Hollywood's top box office attraction she had rescued 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy and salvaged the nation spirits she was the model for every child every mother ever wanted hers was the most famous face in the world she teamed up with the incomparable bill Robinson mr. Bojangles in three films unforgettable dancing an unforgettable Perry [Applause] [Music] facing a Shirley Temple was a showstopper [Applause] at the peak of her popularity 19 writers were assigned to develop movies for her she starred in all the children's classics from Heidi to Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm and as much as we wanted to keep her our little girl time wouldn't let us suddenly she was all grown up it was the end of an era for us and the enchanting little girl who was already an immortal after 37 films are pretending to be someone else Shirley said it's time for me to be me Shirley Temple black settled into quiet domesticity and when her children were grown she came on stage again steadily working toward a run for the US Congress she lost but she didn't quit she remained in public service and in 1974 she was named United States ambassador to Ghana I surely have the black you solemnly swear she was the first woman chief of protocol she continued on in foreign service and served as America's ambassador to Czechoslovakia when the weight of Soviet rule was still upon it I think I've been most fortunate by having the opportunities presented to me because of little Shirley she was our princess as close to the real thing as will ever get [Music] [Applause]

ladies and gentlemen dr. Henry Kissinger [Music] [Applause] [Music] I have been a fan of Shirley Temple black since childhood when I saw her movies dubbed in German so when I finally met her I was quite surprised that she spoke English

but that was not the only surprise waiting for me when I had the privilege of working with Shirley in the State Department Shirley quite simply ran counter to every basic rule taught Foreign Service officers rule number one never compete with the Secretary of State for public attention

rule number two don't even think of overshadowing them and then surely showed that she was meant to be a star wherever she served she was a great ambassador as chief of protocol in Ghana and in Czechoslovakia in those dramatic days when communism crumbled Shirley has said that when she was making her first feature film her mother kissed her on the cheek and said spargle and so she did from the good ship lollipop to her splendid tours of duty on America's ship of state you often expressed a special fancy for some men and women who made state visits so special when you were chief of protocol a few of them are here to salute you [Applause] [Music] ladies and gentlemen the United States Air Force Band [Music]


[Music] the United States Air Force honor guard [Music] [Applause] [Music]

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[Music] ambassador blacks interest in foreign affairs world peace led to her role as this nation's delegate to the United Nations the entire fifth grade class of the United Nations International School has come from New York to present her with a musical bouquet [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause]

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ambassador black your government service is very impressive but you know as a frustrated hoofer I've always I think most of my urge or dancing perhaps the dancing of Shirley Temple so so the producers suggested that perhaps tonight I would do a few steps distance trivia so this afternoon I gave them a little sample of what I intended to do and so the next suggestion was we better get somebody a little younger to do justice to Shirley Temple the dancer so I'm simply going to salute you and then stand aside for youth [Music] [Applause] [Music]

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Kennedy Center Honors Shirley Temple
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