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Shirley Temple Meets Orson Welles

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Shirley Temple
America's Favorite Child Star

Orson Welles

Shirley Temple Black brought a new perspective to Orson Well's reputation in her autobiography, Child Star (McGraw-Hill Publishing company, 1988).
She wrote about a croquet match that was part of a publicity layout on pages 284 - 285:
     "Did you hear my program about Martians [War of the Worlds]?"
     "Yes," I stroked my ball and scowled.  It had stopped wide of the final wicket.  "Nelson Eddy was why I listened."
     Welles turned and leaned on his mallet, waiting.  My evening routine included listening to Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.  I explained but when guest Eddy came on to sing, I switched stations and stumbles on his.
     "Did you believe my program?" he asked, striking a pleasing pose for our photographers.
     "No, I knew it wasn't true."
     "Taking careful aim, I knocked his ball slightly away from the mouth of the final wicket, leaving mine in good position.
     His return shot caromed my ball away into a difficult lie.
     "How did you know?" he asked.
     Engrossed with my final chance, I said nothing and concentrated.  I missed.
     "Well," I replied resignedly.  "If men from Mars had come here, why would just your program be broadcasting the news?  That didn't make sense, so I didn't believe it."
And Orson Welles had the reputation as an enfant terribles?!
Plus, you had to wonder about all those adults who were so terrified by his broadcast!
Reprinted from The Old Movie Maven Blog, September 20, 2005.

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