Merrily Yours: Shirley Temple, Thelma Hill, Junior Coghlan, Mary Blackford in the 1933 Comedy Short

by DerdriuMarriner

The teen years are rough. Smooth sailing demands self-esteem. Will a likeable teen find his “true crush” despite a flirty gal, a pesky sister, and a rich rival in “Merrily Yours”?

The name Charles Fred Lamont can be included on the list of immigrants who pursued and realized the American dream of fame, family, fortune, and friends.
• Some sources consider Charles a native Californian from San Francisco.
• But the Neva River’s shining pearl -- St. Petersburg -- instead gets to claim Charles as one of Russia’s many results-oriented native progeny.

The fact means that Charles leap-frogged through familiarity with Europe’s cinematographic precocity and opportunities in Hollywood’s nascent film industry.
• But it minimizes the real explanation for Charles’s lifetime, prolific directorial achievements.

The fact remains that Charles’s super-savvy insights include:
• Discovering Shirley Temple;
• Knowing that Shirley would hold her own with super-talented Mary Blackford, Junior Coghlan, and Thelma Hill.

Shirley Temple, c. 1933

child star
child star


Finding a faithful, pretty, smart girlfriend begins badly and ends well for an amiably hapless teenager in Merrily Yours by writers Dona Barrell (June 26, 1890 – April 5, 1941) and Thomas Carr (July 4, 1907 – April 23, 1997); writer/director Charles Lamont (May 5, 1895 – September 12, 1993); and producer Edwin Hampton Allen (November 15, 1885 – August 13, 1942). Dwight Warren (July 18, 1889 – August 14, 1979) and Walter C. Smith (January 22, 1904 – February 6, 1974) respectively handle cinematography and sound. No information on film editing is given other than stated approval -- from pre-release scrutiny -- by The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. Filming showcases the Educational Films Corporation of America production company’s studios.


The 20-minute film acts as the first in four comedy shorts entitled the Frolics of Youth and released by Educational Films under the motto “The Spice of the Program” between 1933 and 1934. Its theatrical release by Fox Film Corporation as the distribution company dates back to October 6, 1933. It is followed by:

  • What’s To Do? of November 24, 1933;
  • Pardon My Pups of January 26, 1934;
  • Managed Money of February 23, 1934.

All four comedy shorts join to present and resolve concerns which arise when Mr. and Mrs. George Rogers, a hard-working father and a stay-at-home mother, experience pre-school years with their younger child, Mary Lou, and the teen years’ ups-and-downs with their first-born, Sonny.


Educational Pictures' logo features a genie's lamp with the company name formed from smoke emanating from the lamp.

The company's film motto -- "The spice of the program" -- is captioned beneath the lamp.
The logo of the early film company Educational Pictures.
The logo of the early film company Educational Pictures.


The movie begins with Sonny Rogers (Junior Coghlan, March 15, 1916 – September 7, 2009) and Betty (Thelma Hill, December 12, 1906 – May 11, 1938) fall-registering at Bentley High. Betty considers inserting nickles in Sonny’s jalopy:

  • License-plated 4W7647;
  • Sloganed “Chickens inside roosters outside,” “Don’t laugh, girls, you look like heck with your paint off too,” “Here’s where the trouble lies.”

Harry Vanderpool (Kenneth Howell, February 21, 1913 – September 28, 1966) drives off with hip-wriggling Betty.


Sonny’s two friends jump-push “Old Ironside.” Sonny praises Mutt’s not being a girl. He resents his mother’s (Helene Chadwick, November 25, 1897 – September 4, 1940):

  • Calling him Sonny, not James;
  • Having him rake leaves;
  • Shopping.

Mary Lou (Shirley Temple, April 23, 1928 – February 10, 2014) tosses Mutt’s ball into leaf-piles.


New neighbor Phyllis Dean (Mary Blackford, 1914 – September 25, 1937) drops her handkerchief. Mutt lacerates the handkerchief. Sonny promises:

  • Replacements;
  • Rides to school.


Harry asks Phyllis and Sonny to that evening’s party. Sonny “borrows” his father George’s mothball-riddled tux. Mary Lou and Mutt fall asleep to Sonny’s Goldilocks and the Three Bears.


Harry cripples Sonny’s jalopy while Mr. Dean (Lloyd Ingraham, November 30, 1874 – April 4, 1956) defines curfew. Phyllis has Harry’s ride-offer include Sonny. The two leave after:

  • Harry’s un-tuxxed friends mention funeral-catered “ham-on-rye”;
  • Long sleeves and trousers sabotage Sonny’s hand-shaking Mrs. Vanderpool (Isabel LaMal, July 16, 1886 – July 20, 1952) and squiring Phyllis;
  • Noisemakers slip into Sonny’s rear-pockets.


Mary Lou (Shirley Temple) insists that Sonny (Junior Coghlan) tell her a sleepy time tale, "The Story of the Three Bears."

Both she and beloved pet Mutt are fast asleep by the time Sonny tells, "There was a little bowl, and she tasted that, and it was just right."
The Story of the Three Bears (1880), between pp. 2 - 3: "Goldenhair eats up Tiny-Cub's porridge."
The Story of the Three Bears (1880), between pp. 2 - 3: "Goldenhair eats up Tiny-Cub's porridge."



The movie ends with:

  • Sonny “borrowing” George’s (Harry Myers, September 5, 1882 – December 25, 1938) Chrysler;
  • Harry calling George about a car -- license-plated 17T552 -- stolen from the Rogers’ driveway;
  • Sonny hitting a street-pole while outrunning a squad which he mistakes for Harry’s car.

Two policemen escort Sonny after:

  • Accepting the business card “James J. Smith, Chief of Police, Room 16 City Hall” signed “to Harry Vanderpool”;
  • Releasing Phyllis.

George initially questions the Sergeant’s (Huntley Gordon, October 8, 1887 – December 7, 1956) describing Sonny as dress-suited and moustached. Sonny triumphs by:

  • Flooring Harry with left jaw-landed punches;
  • Observing Harry revive-dumped into Vanderpool’s fountain;
  • Quoting “Your cheeks are oh so lovely” to Phyllis’s father;
  • Retrieving George’s Chrysler.


Merrily Yours (1933) Shirley Temple

Published on YouTube on October 28, 2012 by PizzaFlix ~ 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.


Sources Consulted


Black, Shirley Temple. October 1988. Child Star: An Autobiography. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Hevesi, Dennis. 3 October 2009. “Frank Coghlan Jr., Child Actor of Silent Era, Dies at 93.” The New York Times: Arts>Television. Retrieved on April 25, 2014.

  • Available at:

Mendoza, Martha. 2014. “Shirley Temple Obituary.” Legacy Memorial Sites>2014>Actors. Retrieved on April 25, 2014.

  • Available at:

The Story of the Three Bears. Familiar Series. New York: McLoughlin Bros., n.d. (1880?).

  • Available via Internet Archive at:


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

Shirley Temple/Fox Films Shirley Temple American Child Star of the 1930s: photo from Mary Evans Picture Library 2007

10x14 Photo Puzzle with 252 pieces. Packed in black cardboard box 5 5/8 x 7 5/8 x 1 1/5. Puzzle image 5x7 affixed to box top.
Photo Jigsaw Puzzle

Shirley Temple, c. 1933

Shirley Temple

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: 08/12/2014, DerdriuMarriner
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


Mira on 04/28/2014

Go figure :-) Very interesting!

DerdriuMarriner on 04/26/2014

Mira, Good question! According to what ensues from looking at the sheriff's card, there's an implication as to the meaning of Harry Vanderpool's name being on the card. The implication is to cooperate with whatever Harry wants. There's kind of a code inhering in business cards that was better known in the early 20th century; that code still applies but it just doesn't seem to be publicized much any more.
I appreciate your gifts of observation.:-)

DerdriuMarriner on 04/26/2014

Mira, Me, too, I agree that it's tragic that Mary Blackford's career was so brief and that she died so young. Also, Shirley Temple does look so little! She was filled with talent, as was everyone in this series of shorts about the Rogers family.

DerdriuMarriner on 04/26/2014

VioletteRose, Me, too, I agree that it's a cute poster of Shirley. She has left a charming legacy for generations to appreciate.

Mira on 04/24/2014

I watched the whole thing. I didn't understand this bit:
Two policemen escort Sonny after:
Accepting the business card “James J. Smith, Chief of Police, Room 16 City Hall” signed “to Harry Vanderpool”;
I saw the sherriff's card, but why exactly did it have the name Harry there?

Mira on 04/24/2014

How tame movies were in those days :). I watched part of this one. Will watch the rest later. Shirley Temple is so very little!! :) Thanks for spotlighting this cute short movie.
First time I notice Mary Blackford. I can't believe she died at 23! (After being paralyzed in a car accident at 20!)

VioletteRose on 04/24/2014

That is really a very cute poster of Shirley Temple from 1933, thank you for sharing much about the interesting dramatic works!

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