Monday, December 3, 2012

Baby Peggy

Er, that's not the right Peggy

I briefly mentioned yesterday that tonight's TCM lineup is going to be dedicated first to Baby Peggy and then to several other child stars. Baby Peggy, still alive at 94, was a big star in the early 1920s who lost her entire savings thanks to parental mismanagement and the Depression. Her story, like Jackie Coogan's, is one that's not always happy, and in part responsible for changing Hollywood's child labor laws. To be fair, Hollywood does need children. I mean, what kind of idiot would think a 26-year-old woman could play a 12-year-old girl? Also, the studios treated everybody pretty badly. And a lot of the fault can be put on the parents; heaven knows parents can be much too pushy in the vicarious pursuit of fame for their children. At any rate, Baby Peggy's story is told in the documentary Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room, which kicks off tonight's proceedings at 8:00 PM, with a repeat at 11:30 PM. That's followed at 9:00 by Captain January, a title you might recognize because it was remade in the 1930s as a Shirley Temple vehical. After Captain January come several of Baby Peggy's shorts. Not that too many of those survive; sadly, the studio where she started burned to the ground in a fire in 1926.

As for the other stars, the one I'm looking forward to is Baby Rose Marie: The Child Wonder, at 11:20 PM. This is the same Rose Marie who would grow up to play one of Rob Petrie's colleagues on The Dick Van Dyke Show. If you want to see adult Rose Marie in all her wide-screen glory, you could watch Dead Heat on a Merry-Go Round, a movie I briefly mentioned back in 2010. Some of you may like the Private Screenings episode on child stars, which is airing overnight at 1:45 AM.

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