Comments

Shirley Temple Revisited, Part 9 — 2 Comments

  1. Oh, goody. I know what's coming up.

    Even as a little kid, Shirley dancing with that most convenient dummy struck me as – well, dumb. Nonetheless, a cute enough number.

    Ching Ching spoke a lot of Chinese. Did Shirley learn that phonetically? It sounds like her voice.

  2. Thanks for sticking with me, CW, and for commenting once again.

    As for your question about Ching-Ching speaking Chinese: funny you should ask. I didn't mention this in the post because it didn't really seem pertinent, but Shirley talks about that in Child Star. She did indeed learn her Chinese dialogue phonetically, coached by one Bessie Nyi, a UCLA student from Shanghai. Stowaway employed a large number of extras from L.A.'s Asian community, and Shirley tried greeting them with her newly acquired phrases. They didn't understand her. Then they taught her some new phrases and sentences which, in turn, Bessie couldn't understand. It turned out that Bessie had been instructing Shirley in the Northern Mandarin dialect, while the extras all spoke only the Southern Cantonese dialect. They were mutually unintelligible. Shirley doesn't say how, or whether, this was resolved. It's possible that the movie has Shirley addressing people in Mandarin and them replying in Cantonese, each knowing what the other is supposed to be saying; I have no familiarity with the language(s), so I can only guess. Anyhow, Shirley's rattling off her Chinese by rote gave Fox a selling point on more than one of the picture's posters: "She sings and speaks in Chinese!"