Because of its popularity, this film serves as an important representation of cultural norms and ideals since it is through popular culture we learn lessons about gender, race, class, and sexuality. We begin our analysis by outlining Judith Butler's theory of gender performance.
She had perfect timing. It was a tough crowd. With the Stock Market Crash ofnearly everyone was pinching pennies and the film industry was no exception. But thankfully, Fox Studios had a star to save them from financial ruin: Signed in at the age of five, the child star gave good a face to the company as she became an overnight box-office success dancing in her polka-dotted dress in Baby Take a Bow Harry Lachman The little girl was discovered at the age of three in a dance class by the director Charles Lamont.
Lamont worked with Hayes, who was the producer of Baby Burlesks Charles Lamont,a comedic series of one reelers featuring children portraying adult stars, and the two quickly hired Shirley with the independent studio Educational Films.
While the short films did not immediately shoot Shirley to stardom, audiences did make note of the special glint in her eye and the way her ringlets bounced when she danced.
They liked it—and soon they would love it. Shirley and her stories were the perfect remedy for heartache. Instead, they wanted to see Shirley as the golden girl who always saved the day.
There was always a happy ending.
As onlookers watched these stories on the screen, they saw them as their own eventual stories in their real lives. One of her most successful films featured Shirley as the quintessential orphaned child in Heidi Allan Dwan, The movie had everything that her viewers loved to see: This was not the only time that Shirley took charge.
Both off screen and on, Shirley commanded a presence that affected everyone who interacted with her. The Depression was a prime opportunity for a child star to make a mark.
Shirley, of all children, could make her mark. She always came to the set prepared and focused, and it showed in her performance and her paycheck.
With such an outstanding income and her dedication to the craft, Shirley proved her worth in American cinema. It was a win-win situation; she cheered on viewers who were in the depths of the Depression, and she helped save the Hollywood studios that were struggling to survive.
Shirley was one of the first children to have star power. It was not just because she was a child, though.
It was a dream that everyone in the audience shared; every man, woman, boy, and girl hoped for a brighter future. And while the Great Depression inspired the film industry to push the boundaries of sexuality, social decorum, and governmental structure, it was also a period where audiences yearned for the American tradition of goodness and wholesomeness.
Part of what made Shirley a huge success was that her characters were never alone. Perhaps if Shirley had arrived on the scene before or after the Depression she would have been a child entertaining children, but this was not the case.
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