Kid in Hollywood (March 14, 1933)
Released on March 14, 1933: Shirley Temple is first rejected by the studio as an actress and is hired to scrub floors, but when the star refuses to leave her dressing room Shirley gets her big chance.
Produced by Jack Hays
Directed by Charles Lamont
Written by Charles Lamont
The Actors: Shirley Temple (Morelegs Sweettrick), Georgie Billings (yes man number one), Gloria Ann Mack (Freta Snobo), Georgie Smith (Jawn Sourpuss), Danny Boone Jr. (yes man number three), Marilyn Granas (phone operator), Philip Hurlic (porter), Bobby 'Wheezer' Hutchins (stage hand), Arthur J. Maskery (Frightwig von Stumblebum)
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The Three Second Kiss
Today it seems that we all want to be what we are not . . . . older people spend significant amounts of money to look younger, and very young people dress and act much older than they are . . . I miss the days when a ten year old could act like a ten year old instead of looking and acting like an adult. Although my age exposes the lie, many days I would rather be ten than sixty . . . Back in a much simpler time when little children dressed up in adult clothes to play, it was funny for adults to watch, and fun for the kids to pretend. Hollywood took advantage of this and at the same time provided valuable screen experience for a growing number of child stars, the greatest of which was most certainly Shirley Temple. She appeared in a number of short comedies called 'Baby Burlesk' short stories, of which this is one. So what about the three second kiss? That is an inside joke for 1933 Hollywood folk that the people watching would never have understood, but being a student of early motion pictures I spotted the joke immediately. When the leading baby boy grabs Shirley Temple and awkwardly bends her backward and kisses her, there is a quick cutaway to the director baby who looks at his watch and then back to the scene. Until 1930 there were no rules about filming a story . . . the director could film whatever he wanted in any way that he wanted - there was no censorship of any kind. In 1930 the Hays Office was created to set down rules of conduct for stories and actors, and one of the rules was that an on screen kiss could last no longer than three seconds . . . no exceptions . . . anything longer would be too erotic for the audience to bear . . . even if it was little kids. By 1933 most of Hollywood was beginning to obey the rules, and so the baby director counted the seconds of the kiss, knowing that anything longer than three seconds would need to be cut out of the movie. It was an 'inside' joke when it was filmed, but now you also can enjoy the joke as you watch little kids pretending to be adults. Pop a bowl of white kernel popcorn drizzled with warm melted butter and enjoy the show.