Sally Benson authored the Junior Miss series of stories as well as 'Meet Me In St. Louis'
Sally Benson's 1941 collection of Junior Miss Stories
1943 Playbill for the Majestic Theatre's production of 'Junior Miss'
Volume 1, Number 1 of Marvel's 'Junior Miss' comics
The 1945 20th Century Fox film, 'Junior Miss' was also adapted from Sally Benson's characters.
Shirley Temple at CBS mike.
Procter & Gamble promoted their Ivory Soap and Ivory Snow over the 1942 CBS run of Junior Miss
Procter & Gamble also promoted Dreft over Junior Miss
An apocryphal tale says that Welch's 1949 mint confection 'Junior Mints' was inspired as a pun on the cultural popularity of Junior Miss over various media.
1869 Procter & Gamble 'Family Lard' ad shows their 'man-in-the-moon and stars' trademark already in use.
From the December 1st 1941 issue of Time Magazine's 'The Theater: New Play in Manhattan' feature:
"Junior Miss (adapted from Sally Benson's stories by Jerome Chodorov & Joseph Fields; produced by Max Gordon). Last season Adapters Chodorov & Fields turned Ruth McKenney's My Sister Eileen stories into a gay comedy about youth which is still running on Broadway. Last week they had turned Sally Benson's Junior Miss stories into a gay comedy about adolescence which should still be on Broadway a year from now. For its characters are kids at once harum-scarum and "nice," and it mirrors the kind of middle-class family life which huge audiences chuckle at."
At the center of this domestic slice of middle-class, 1940s life was Judy Graves, described as a pudgy, bright-eyed, passionate 13-yr-old. The literary brilliance of Sally Benson exploded nationwide in the Spring of 1941 with her Doubleday collection of 'Junior Miss' stories originally published in The New Yorker magazine over the previous twelve years. She'd begun her journalistic career in the mid-1920s writing interviews and film reviews for the New York Morning Telegraph. But it was her ninety-nine Junior Miss stories in The New Yorker that captured the interest of an increasingly wider audience.
Within a year of the publication of Sally Benson's collection of Junior Miss stories, they were being adapted into what would become a wildly successful Broadway play of the same name. By a year later, in 1942, Benson's Junior Miss would find her way to Radio for a full season, embodied by no less than 14-yr-old Shirley Temple herself. 1944 found Marvel Comics publishing its first Junior Miss comic book. By 1945, Sally Benson's Junior Miss franchise was expanded to Film in a 20th Century Fox production of the same name.
Following the success of the Junior Miss film, and buttressed by the Marvel Comics Junior Miss series, the "fan-chise" yet again found its way to Radio, this time portrayed by Barbara Whiting, who'd appeared as Judy Graves' quixotic pal, Fuffy Adams, in the 1945 feature film. That radio series ran from 1948 to 1954.
Procter & Gamble: a giant in Radio sponsorship
Procter and Gamble (P&G) was one of radio's most prolific sponsors from the earliest days of radio:
1930 Emily Post [Camay]
1931 Sisters of the Skillet [Crisco]
1932 Stoopnagle and Bud [Ivory]
1932 The Ivory Program [Ivory]
1932 The Mills Brothers [Crisco and Chipso]
1933 Ma Perkins [Oxydol]
1934 Dreams Come True [Camay]
1934 Ivory Stamp Club [Ivory]
1934 The Story of Mary Marlin [Ivory]
1934 Vic and Sade [Crisco]
1935 Pat Barnes in Person
1935 The O’Neills [Ivory]
1936 Barry Wood [Drene]
1936 FiveStar Jones [Oxydol]
1936 Pepper Young’s Family [Camay]
1936 The Ivory Reporter [Ivory]
1936 The Jerry Cooper Show [Drene]
1937 Kitty Keene, Inc. [Dreft]
1937 Road of Life
1937 The Goldbergs [Oxydol]
1937 The Guiding Light [White Naptha]
1938 Central City [Oxydol]
1938 Life Can Be Beautiful [Ivory]
1938 This Day is Ours [Crisco]
1939 Against the Storm [Ivory]
1939 Midstream [Teel]
1939 Professor Quiz [Teel]
1939 The Man I Married [Oxydol]
1939 The Right to Happiness
1939 The Trouble with Marriage
1939 What’s My Name? [Oxydol]
1940 Everyman’s Theater [Oxydol]
1940 Knickerbocker Playhouse [Drene]
1940 Lone Journey [Dreft]
1940 Those We Love [Teel]
1940 Truth or Consequences [Ivory]
1941 The Woman in White [Oxydol, Camay]
1942 Abie’s Irish Rose [Drene]
1942 Hap Hazard
1942 Junior Miss
1942 Snow Village Sketches
1942 Young Dr. Malone
1943 A Woman of America [Ivory]
1943 Brave Tomorrow [Ivory]
1943 Dreft Star Playhouse [Dreft]
1943 I Love a Mystery [Ivory]
1943 Perry Mason [Camay]
1944 Glamour Manor [Ivory]
1944 Let’s Listen To Spencer [Ivory]
1945 Joyce Jordan, M.D. [Dreft]
1945 Life of Riley [Teel]
1945 Meet Margaret MacDonald
1945 Mommie and the Men
1945 Teel Variety Hall [Teel]
1946 Lanny Ross
1946 Mystery of the Week [Ivory]
1946 The Bickersons (as Drene Time) [Drene]
1947 Life of Riley [Dreft, Prell]
1947 Welcome Travelers
1948 Gang Busters [Tide]
1948 The Brighter Day [Dreft]
1948 What Makes You Tick? [Ivory]
1949 Bob Burns [Dreft]
1949 Lorenzo Jones
1949 Red Ryder [Tide]
1950 The David Rose Show [Tide]
1951 Jack Smith [Oxydol]
1951 The Sheriff
1952 Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons
A quick scan of the above list will amply demonstrate why serial melodramas of the era were referred to as 'soap operas.' Procter & Gamble was a steadfast sponsor of 'soaps' throughout Radio's Golden Age.
British candlemaker William Procter and Irish soapmaker James Gamble had emigrated to the United States during the early 1800s, eventually settling in Cinncinati, Ohio. Sisters Olivia and Elizabeth Norris brought the unlikely pair together through marriage.
The girls' father, Alexander Norris, subequently persuaded his pair of new sons-in-law to become business partners, and on Halloween 1837 they formed Procter & Gamble.
By the mid-1850s their sales had grown to $1 million and they were employing approximately eighty workers. Seizing on the outbreak of The Civil War, Procter & Gamble won contracts to supply the Union Army with both soap and candles.
During the 1880s, P&G began marketing inexpensive floating soap bars--the Ivory Soap we know today.
Thereafter followed a period of rapid expansion, extending their factories well outside of Cinncinati, and diversifying into products such as Crisco, the now ubiquitous shortening made of vegetable oils as opposed to animal fats. The advent of Radio brought them even greater opportunities to expand the reach of both Ivory and Crisco, and their several sponsored serial melodramas soon became identified as "soap operas" in the popular vernacular of the day.
Tide laundry detergent emerged in 1946, Prell shampoo in 1947, Crest toothpaste in 1955, Charmin paper towels in 1957, Downey laundry softener in 1960, and Bounce dryer softener sheets in 1972. Their innovative Pampers synthetic diaper line was first test-marketed in 1961. Continued diversification throughout the remainder of the 20th century found P&G acquiring Folgers Coffee, Pepto-Bismol, Noxzema, Old Spice, Max Factor, and Iams, among many others.
Given its product offerings throughout the 20th Century, it becomes obvious that P&G's principal demographic continued to be domestic wives and mothers, 25-54 years of age. With P&G's dominant position in its sector, it's understandable that P&G became increasingly sensitive to cultural pressures. 1981 proved that even an industrial giant like P&G was not immune to innuendo and whispering campaigns emanating from its consumer base and competitors. Case in point, P&G's iconic corporate trademark, a 'man in the moon' surrounded by thirteen stars symbolizing the original thirteen colonies, came under fire during the early 1980s:
Procter and Gamble's most recent trademark prior to its withdrawal in 1985
Rumors had spread that the P&G man-in-the-moon and stars trademark was a satanic symbol, the charge based upon a passage in the Bible--Revelation 12:1--which states:
"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of 12 stars."
"Some" claimed that the trademark was a "mockery" of the above quoted verse, ergo the 116-year-old, iconic trademark "must be satanic." The ending curls of its flowing beard were said to be a mirror image of the number "666"--the reflected number of the mark of the beast. And last but not least, where the flowing hair at the top and bottom meet the surrounding ring of the 'moon', were said to be "the two horns of the ram."
So sensitive was the giant international conglomerate to such a concerted--albeit spurious and ridiculous--attack, that it ultimately dropped its iconic trademark of over one hundred and sixteen years in 1985, and at a cost of millions of dollars in rebranding and repackaging. But as must be obvious from the 1869 Procter & Gamble newspaper advertisement in the sidebar (left), a rendition of P&G's man in the moon had graced their products as early as the post-Civil War years--without objection from either The North or The South during America's most divisive and tumultuous years.
Procter & Gamble and CBS bring a 'Junior Miss' to radio
CBS had brought internationally beloved child star Shirley Temple to radio during the Christmas season of 1941. That program, Shirley Temple Time, was a four-week series of Christmas dramas and comedies starring Shirley Temple and co-starring four iconic Film stars of the era, one per week: Warner Baxter, Robert Young, Lionel Barrymore, and Humphrey Bogart.
Shirley Temple, by then in her early teens, was making an attempt to relaunch her career in the midst of continuing private tutoring and finishing schools. No longer the curly-haired little kewpie doll of her former Film fame, Temple was attempting to recast herself as a viable teen star of the era. During the intervening years several other young actresses had begun to capture the hearts of American audiences. Thus, Shirley Temple Time, Temple's first lead-vehicle over Radio became Miss Temple's first volley in her attempt to regain her previous fame. Another CBS production, Shirley Temple Time had been sponsored by Elgin Watches, and was widely and aggressively promoted throughout the Christmas season of 1941.
CBS apparently thought enough of Miss Temple's performances over Shirley Temple Time that it began considering an even more ambitious radio vehicle for young Miss Temple. The recent success of Sally Benson's collection of Junior Miss stories, coupled with the recent success of the new Broadway adaptation of Junior Miss, encouraged CBS to bring Junior Miss to Radio, with Shirley Temple in the lead role of Judy Graves. Needless to say, Procter & Gamble also felt that Shirley Temple and Junior Miss were a promising combination--to the tune of a reported $12,000 per episode.
Junior Miss premiered over CBS on Wednesday evening, March 4th 1942, a mid-season replacement for the first half-hour of Fred Allen's hour-long Texaco Star Theater, which had moved to Sunday evenings. This became the first time that Fred Allen had not been heard on Wednesday evenings in over eight years. Did CBS and Procter & Gamble think Junior Miss was a big deal? Apparently so.
LIFE Magazine featured Shirley Temple Black in its February 3rd 1958 issue.
From the February 17th 1958 edition of the Schenectady Gazette, a six-part series, Shirley: The Magic Temple, Article 1:
Shirley Temple, the adorable moppet of the movies of a quarter of a century ago, has emerged from retirement and has rocketed to the top of television. Breaking a promise to resist all lures to resume her career, she has responded to the clamor of a public that remembers her as "Little Miss Marker" and the clamor of a public that never had seen her. Now happily married and a model wife and mother, Shirley is Herbert Kamm's subject for a series of six articles, of which this is the first.
By HERBERT KAMM
On Sunday evening, Jan. 12, at 5 p.m., Pacific Coast time, Shirley Temple smiled that incomparable dimpled smile of hers into a television camera in Hollywood.
In a twinkling of an electronic eye, millions of Americans suddenly felt a little older, and for millions more, familiar with the name of Shirley Temple only because of what they had read or heard from nostalgic elders, a legend had come to life.
It was in consonance with the title of her television series -- "Shirley Temple's Storybook" -- another dramatic chapter in a saga so filled with wonder that even some of the fairy tales in her TV repertoire pale by comparison.
LIFE magazine article caption reads -- 'SHIRLEY AT 3 played a scrubwoman in Rags to Riches. This was part of series, Baby Burlesks, that kidded adult movies and launched Shirley in films.'
A QUARTER of a century has passed since an adorable moppet with a riot of blonde curls romped across movie screens in such memorable films as "Little Miss Marker," "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm," "Curly Top," "Poor Little Rich Girl," and "The Little Colonel," all of which are being seen again or soon will be, on television.
But the rush of the years didn't obscure the Shirley Temple image, and it surprised no one when her maiden appearance on live television captured one of the largest audiences in the history of the medium.
She looked indeed like a fairy princess as she stood before the cameras at NBC's color studio in Hollywood, not far from the movie lots where she became the most beloved little girl in the world.
SHE WORE a gown of pink and blue net with an outer skirt of imported French lace, its sequins glittering. A filmy stole caressed her bare shoulders. Her hair, now a deep brown with a slightly reddish tinge, heighted flawless complexion. And then, of course, there was that smile with the corners of her mouth dimpled.
Actually, her role in this initial telecast of her 16 special one-hour programs based on classic fairy tales, was relatively minor. In a voice still sweetly reminiscent of her childhood triumphs, she sang her theme song, "Dreams Are Made for Children," and then merely supplied the necessary narrative for the portrayal of "Beauty and The Beast."
But it was the magic of Temple which lured viewers--the return of the delightful darling who has, to be sure, grown up but who also will always be the Shirley Temple of yesteryear if she lives to be a thousand.
THE LEGEND is indestructible, not only because there is none in entertainment history to compare with it, but because Shirley's life has been as ideal as one could wish. Even the imperfections have turned out for the best.
When her acting career foundered in the high seas of teenage awkwardness, she quietly withdrew into retirement to learn, as she put it in a recent interview, "the art of maturing." She had learned it beautifully.
The greatest test of her mettle came at 21, when her marriage to Joh Agar, Jr., an Army sergeant who later became an actor, collapsed after four trying years. Hollywood skeptics and even a large segment of her public, viewed the experience as one which would shatter her.
It not only didn't shatter her but, she feels, prepared her for what is now an idyllic union with "the best and finest person who ever dame into my life" -- Charles Black, nine years her senior, a tall, handsome soft-spoken business executive whom she married a year after the divorce.
LIFE magazine article caption reads -- 'STORY HOUR AT HOME finds Shirley and husband reading to Charles, 5, Linda Susan, 10, Lori, 3.'
AT 29--she'll be 30 on April 23--Shirley is a contented, blissfully happy wife, mother (Linda Susan, 10, Charles Jr., soon to be six, and Lori, soon to be four), interior decorator, gardener and civic worker. Also part-time actress.
Why the comeback? It certainly wasn't for money. Shirly started working for a salary at the age of four, getting $150 a week when $150 was real money. By 1937, when she was nine, she was making $300,000 a year, the seventh largest-salaried income in the country.
"Those TV producers just wore me down," she said of her capitulation. "They kept after me. They pointed out that 20th Century-Fox had released all of my old movies to TV. They said, "Why don't you let the public see you as you are--not as you were?"
THE COUP finally was scored by Bill Phillipson, executive producer for Henry Jaffe Enterprises, who hatched the idea of Shirly serving as hostess-narrator--and occasionally the star--of a series of fairy tales.
"I'm a pushover for fairy tales," Shirley confessed. "Furthermore, I've long felt there was a need for more shows that would appeal to the entire family, and certainly this series was designed with just that kind of family appeal in mind. So here I am."
The financial deal--which can't be overlooked entirely, even in fairy tales--calls for her to receive a flat fee of $100,000 plus 25 per cent of the profits from re-runs. She has no financial interest incidentally, in the sale of her old movies to television.
Shirley insists that the lure of the limelight was no factor in her decision.
"I went into show business in 1932, which I was four," she said. The last movie I made, "A Kiss for Corliss," was released in 1950. That's 18 years of limelight, enough to last a lifetime.
"WHAT'S important to me now is my marriage. To preserve marriage I've found a woman must first of all keep her husband happy. Keeping Charlie happy--that's what counts most in my scheme of things. Then come the children. If anything, the spotlight comes last."
LIFE magazine article caption reads -- 'SHIRLEY TODAY at a Los Angeles press conference displays some new vinyl models of Shirley Temple dolls, which were first marketed 23 years ago.'
(Copyright 1958, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
Tomorrow: The inside story of Shirley's first television show, and how her family reacted to it.