Film Review of Dora's Dunking Doughnuts: Shirley Temple Makes Mischief in 1933 Comedy Short Film

by DerdriuMarriner

A meek teacher enlists his students in a radio show to advertise dunking doughnuts made by Dora, a bakery owner he likes.

Shirley Temple enjoys star billing in the 1933 version of comedy short film "Dora's Dunking Doughnuts."

Andy Wilson has a crush on Dora, owner of Dora's Home Bakery. He perceives an opportunity to promote Dora's new recipe for dunking doughnuts. The meek schoolteacher enlists his students to perform in a radio commercial for Dora's bakery.

Slapstick misadventures and mischievous solos by Shirley disrupting the performance lead Andy to believe that the commercial is a dismal failure. On the contrary, listeners enjoy the comedic commercial and flock to Dora's bakery. Students in Andy's class are played by Meglin Kiddies, a respected troupe of child actors, dancers, and musicians directed by former Ziegfeld girl Ethel Meglin (1890 - 1988) from 1928 to 1962.

Film director Charles Lamont (May 5, 1895 – September 12, 1993) discovered Shirley Temple while she was a Meglin Kiddie and signed her up for her first film contract.

Shirley Temple as mischievous Shirley in Dora's Dunking Doughnuts
Shirley Temple as mischievous Shirley in Dora's Dunking Doughnuts


Doughnuts can inspire a meek schoolteacher in Dora’s Dunking Doughnuts by writers Ernest Pagano (January 16, 1901 – April 29, 1953) and Ewart Adamson (October 23, 1882 – November 28, 1945); producer Robert M. Savini (August 29, 1886 - April 29, 1956), and director Harry J. Edwards (October 11, 1887 – May 26, 1952). Dwight Warren (July 18, 1889 – August 14, 1979) handled cinematography, with Joseph Kane (March 19, 1894 – August 25, 1975) in charge of sound and Alfonso Corelli (? - October 10, 1970) responsible for musical numbers. Filming showcases founder/producer Earle W. Hammons's (December 2, 1882 – July 31, 1962) Educational Pictures Corporation of America studios.

The comedy short film lasts 19 minutes and 40 seconds. Its distributor was Fox Film Corporation. Its USA-release date was September 1, 1933.


Teacher Andy Wilson (Andy Clyde [March 25, 1892 – May 18, 1967]) bicycles to school. On his way, he always stops at Dora’s Home Bakery for a cup of coffee and four doughnuts. Andy has a crush on the bakery’s owner, Dora (Ethel Sykes [June 12, 1906 - 1961]). He chains his bicycle to the bakery’s stairway railing and sits down on a stool.

  • Dora asks if he ever wants anything other than the usual order. Andy answers that he likes her doughnuts.
  • When Dora observes that Andy likes to pay her compliments, the teacher agrees and, spinning around twice on the stool, almost falls off.
  • Nevertheless, he is emboldened to comment that Dora would make a good wife for someone and wonders if she has ever considered marriage.
  • Dora responds that the right man has never asked her.
  • Giggling nervously, Dora pours coffee, not noticing that she is missing the cup, while Andy also misses his cup, dropping three spoonfuls of sugar onto the counter.

Shirley, leaning on the schoolroom window sill with two older boy students, wonders why the teacher is late. One of the boys decides to ring the school bell.

Hearing the bell, Andy sputters that it’s the first time in 20 years that he is late for school. He tries to cycle away hurriedly but falls off because the cycle is locked to the railing.

At school, teacher apologizes for his lateness and makes amends by moving music to first lesson of the day.

  • While students scramble for their instruments, Shirley asks, “Please, teacher, what general with five letters in his name was buried in Grant’s tomb?”
  • Andy fumbles, “Let’s see. Lee? No, that’s three. Jackson. No. Pershing? Still hale and hearty.”
  • Shirley giggles. “Ha ha. General Grant!”

During the lesson, while students are holding a musical note as a lung exercise, a little girl delivers a message from Dora: “Come at once!”

At the bakery, Dora shares that she has succeeded in making the perfect dunking doughnut: it absorbs coffee, with a sizzle, during dunking and also floats.

  • Excited with the new product, Andy urges Dora to advertise but she worries about the cost .
  • Fortuitously, Andy’s students, still holding the musical note, sing as they march to the bakery and crowd around the serving window.
  • Andy excitedly realizes that his students can perform in the commercial for Dora’s perfect product.
  • Andy also is excited by his spontaneous slogan – “Dora’s Dunking Doughnuts: They Float!” – for the new product.

The scene shifts to Andy and his students boarding a school bus with the banner “Dora’s Radio Special.” Andy wants to give Dora a goodbye kiss but, as he closes his eyes and cranes forward with lips puckered, the bus begins to move and Andy plants kisses also on the other well wishers.

The segment before Andy’s troupe features a commercial for Cackleberry Farm with Florence Gill (July 27, 1877 – February 19, 1965) performing a humorous aria, “A Fowl Song,” clucking like a chicken.

Andy’s program, broadcast live before a studio audience, seems off to a good start. The radio station manager (Bud Jamison [February 15, 1894 – September 30, 1944]) assures the teacher that Andy Wilson and His Dunkers are a sensation.

Slapstick misadventures, however, quickly prevail:

  • Shirley keeps sneaking over to the microphone to recite poems: the first verse of the “The Cow” from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson and a tribute to “teacher, teacher, funny and old, with ivory hair and heart of gold”;
  • A trio of mothers loudly quarrel about which of their sons in a tap dancing trio is out of step;
  • Shirley sabotages Andy’s performance of “The Drama of Little Red Riding Hood” and absconds with one of the props, a huge wolf’s head.

Thinking that the slapstick mishaps have ruined the program, the now-horrified station manager has Andy ejected from the recording studio.

While Andy is dejectedly approaching Dora’s bakery, he has no idea that Dora is swamped with orders. Listeners perceive his program as a rollicking comedy, not a dismal catastrophe. The station manager is inside to offer Dora one month of free advertising in amends for expelling Andy Wilson and His Dunkers.

Displeased to see the station manager inside, Andy throws a pie and tries to throttle his adversary before Dora intervenes with the happy news of the program’s success.

Unable to resist the temptation for payback, the ruffled stage manager throws a pie which, missing Andy, dislodges a four-tier Good Luck cake.

  • Shirley giggles, “Boys, strike up the band!”
  • While Andy’s students play “Here Comes the Bride” -- the popular wedding march derived from the “Bridal Chorus” (Treulich geführt) in Lohengrin, the 1850 opera by Richard Wagner (May 22, 1813 – February 13, 1883) -- Andy and Dora, hidden by the Good Luck cake perched on the teacher’s arm, kiss.


Dora’s Dunking Doughnuts delightfully blends romance with slapstick comedy.


"A Fowl Song," aria hilariously clucked by Florence Gill in "Dora's Dunking Doughnuts"

Florence Gill Sings Like a Chicken! ~ Published on Feb 14, 2013 by Cow Pie Films ~ URL:



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.


Image Credits


Shirley Temple in a publicity photo for the short film Dora’s Dunking Doughnuts (1933)
Shirley Temple as mischievous Shirley in Dora's Dunking Doughnuts: Conrad J. Barrington @cjubarrington, via Twitter Dec. 29, 2021, @

Cow Pie Film. "Florence Gill Sings Like a Chicken!" YouTube, Feb. 14, 2013, @


the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

DVD: Dora's Dunking Doughnuts


Shirley Temple Black's autobiography

Child Star: An Autobiography

Shirley Temple in coat she wore in final scene of "Dora's Dunking Doughnuts"

Shirley Temple, c.1930s

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 11/06/2023, DerdriuMarriner
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