11 Feb 2014

Glad rags to riches

with Shirley Temple

Baby Burlesks is the collective series title of eight thematically unrelated one-reeler films produced in 1932 and 1933. The eight films are satires on major motion pictures, film stars, celebrities, and current events, and are sometimes racist and sexist. Cast members are preschoolers clad in adult costumes on the top and diapers fastened with large safety pins on the bottom.

Many of the children employed in the series were recruited from Meglin's Dance School in Hollywood, and, when not rehearsing or shooting, were sent out by the studio as advertising models for a variety of products (including breakfast cereals and cigars) in order to underwrite the costs of film production.

The series is notable for featuring three-year old Shirley Temple in her first screen appearances. In her 1988 autobiography, the actress describes the Baby Burlesks as "a cynical exploitation of our childish innocence". She also said the films were "the best things I ever did". (Wikipedia)