Film Review of Stand Up and Cheer: Shirley Temple in Breakthrough Role in 1934 Musical

by DerdriuMarriner

In the 1934 film version of "Stand Up and Cheer!" a character played by Shirley Temple ends the Great Depression.

A U.S. President believes that people do poorly if they feel poorly.
• He launches the one and only Department of Amusement.
• Will Broadway standards, hillbilly performers, and red polka dots jump-start an entire country in “Stand Up and Cheer”?

"Stand Up and Cheer!" kicked off a quartet of films pairing James Dunn (November 2, 1901 – September 1, 1967) with Shirley Temple in 1934:
• "Stand Up and Cheer!," released on May 4, 1934;
• "Change of Heart," released on May 18, 1934;
• "Baby Take a Bow," released on June 30, 1934;
• "Bright Eyes," released on December 28, 1934.


Grauman's Chinese Theatre (now TCL Chinese Theatre): prints of Shirley's hands and feet were made in March 1935, less than one year after release of her breakthrough film, "Stand Up and Cheer!"

Shirley Temple's spot on forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, central Los Angeles, southern California
Shirley Temple's spot on forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, central Los Angeles, southern California


Optimism and pessimism can have economic side-effects in Stand Up and Cheer by writers Lew Brown and Ralph Spence; producer Winfield Sheehan; and director Hamilton MacFadden. L.W. O’Connell and Ernest Palmer; Margaret Clancy; and Lew Brown and Jay Gorney handle cinematography, editing, and music. Filming showcases California’s Movietone City.

The 80-minute musical adapts Philip Klein’s (April 24, 1889 - June 8, 1935) and Will Rogers’ (November 4, 1879 – August 15, 1935) ideation. Its distributor was Fox Film. Its USA-premiere and release dates were April 19 and May 4, 1934.


The movie begins with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (Gayne Whitman) appointing Lawrence Cromwell (Warner Baxter) the first Secretary of Amusement. The 32nd U.S. President (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945) believes that changed attitudes foster changed economics. Lawrence must end economic depressions by terminating mental depressions.

Businessmen and politicians are unhappy with change. John Harly (Arthur Byron) reminds colleagues of hard times increasing politico-economic control over desperate citizens. He suggests having the U.S. Senate investigate Lawrence’s expenditures.

John has reason to worry. Lawrence is blessed with humor-committed employees:

  • Children’s Division Assistant Secretary Mary Adams (Madge Evans);

  • Secretary Fosdick’s (Frank Melton’s) assistant George Bernard Shaw (Stepin Fetchit), who dives into fish tanks, tackles hillbilly country with butterfly nets, and tolerates Jimmy Durante-sounding penguins (Lew Brown);

He is fortunate in:

  • Attracting high-profile actors John Boles (October 28, 1895 – February 27, 1969) for “I’m Laughing” and Dick Foran (June 18, 1910 – August 10, 1979) and Sylvia Froos (April 19, 1914 - March 28, 2004) for “This Is Our Last Night Together”;

  • Involving the rural and urban Jane and John Doe through hillbilly-recruiting emphases of Dick’s “She’s Way Up Thar” and Sylvia’s “Broadway’s Gone Hill-Billy”.

Jimmy Dugan (James Dunn) and underaged daughter Shirley (Shirley Temple) cannot audition. Lawrence exempts Shirley from the 7 years or older requirement for child performers. Jimmy’s and Shirley’s “Baby, Take a Bow” song-and-dance routine impresses everyone. Everyone is cheered by Shirley’s red polka-dotted organza dress.

Lawrence considers resigning after:

  • Allowing talent scout Eustis Dinwiddie (Nigel Bruce) to lead Senators (Frank Mitchell) and Short (Jack Short) on Department of Amusement tours;

  • Being offered bribes by John;

  • Hearing Assistant Secretary Turner (Arthur Vinton) recommend departmental closure.

He perseveres after:

  • Radio news releases purport departmental incompetence;

  • Senators (Wallis Clark, Arthur Stuart Hull, Frank Sheridan, Paul Stanton) relish budget-slashing.

He mistakenly thinks that the children’s division needs to close.

The movie ends with Lawrence and Mary:

  • Hearing radio news releases on the accomplishments of the Amusement Department in general and the children’s division in particular;

  • Receiving the President’s telephoned thanks;

  • Welcoming the Great Depression’s official end with the immigrants, sweatshop laborers, and workers whose earlier performance of “I’m Laughing” help dispel the pessimism needed to ultimately proclaim “We’re Out of the Red.”


Shirley Temple - Stand Up and Cheer ~ Clips of film where Shirley appears.

Uploaded to YouTube on December 26, 2009 by Angelina Bardelli ~ URL:



My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.


Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. President (March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945), dubbed Shirley Temple as "Little Miss Miracle":

On real-life visit to the White House on June 24, 1938, Shirley and FDR swapped tooth fairy stories: Shirley had lost a tooth the night before; FDR shared about dental losses of his 2 grandkids, Anna (born March 25, 1927) and Curtis (born April 19, 1930).
c. 1933 photographic portrait by Elias Goldensky (September 9, 1867 - March 10, 1943)
c. 1933 photographic portrait by Elias Goldensky (September 9, 1867 - March 10, 1943)
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Shirley Temple Little Darling Collection (18 DVD Boxed Set) ~ 18 films, including "Stand Up and Cheer"

Shirley Temple films

"Stand Up And Cheer!": James Dunn, Shirley Temple, 1934 ~ Shirley's big breakthrough role

Stand Up And Cheer!, James Dunn, Shirley Temple, 1934

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: 09/22/2014, DerdriuMarriner
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Mobile App Developers Delhi on 11/10/2014

Nice post, things explained in details. Thank You.

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