It ain’t over till it’s OVER

Alternate title:  Did you ever?

The roller coaster that’s been the missing costumes saga has been journeying upward since the recovery of the Princess dress.  Sure, it would seem as though the ride should have ended, with passengers exiting, all wobbly legs and wide grins.  But there was one last peak, which would wrap this story up in a great big Shirley Temple bow.  And that involved the Princess crown and scepter. 23621708_10210123486349774_603868760565481440_n.jpg

While Shirley retained the right to keep her film costumes, Joseff’s of Hollywood did not give her the same option when it came to their creations.  Thus, the gilded crown and scepter worn during the Princess dream sequence returned to Joseff after filming, and remained in their collection.

Until they decided to bring their pieces to auction.  Announced earlier this year, Tonya was determined to reunite them with the dress, which at that time, was safe in her possession.  But then Princess disappeared.  And reappeared – quite literally in the nick of time. Now that the gown was safely home, what better conclusion could this chronicle have than to reunite the crown and scepter with it?


In the days between the Princess’s return and the auction at Julien’s in California, we were riding high.  Jubilant, expectant and incredibly hopeful, we laser-beamed our good vibes toward Tonya.

Saturday, November 18.  We rallied around computers and smartphones, trying to keep up with the bidding.  Main man Woolsey, pictured above, was there in person – our Army representative.  The crown comes up to bid….and the price skyrockets.  And it’s lost.  No sense bidding on the scepter without the crown, but that too shoots into the stratosphere.  All we knew when it was over was that they would stay together (a mild yay), as they were purchased by a person in the room (as opposed to an internet or phone bidder).  But they didn’t belong to Tonya….or to us.

Just as we were ready to alight from the ride, this time with dispirited faces to go with the wobbly knees, the coaster lurches forward.  IT IS NOT OVER.  Whaaaaaa?

I won’t keep you in suspense.  Woolsey informs us that they have been purchased with the sole intent of being exhibited at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum, slated to open in 2019…..the very place Tonya was planning on bringing the Princess in first place!  And NOW the ride can end – with passengers leaping from the cars, screeching their disbelief, their surprise, their unbridled joy.


It was Shirley magic, pure and simple.  Or Shirley spirit.  We have seen it before, over and over and over again.  During the Depression, they called her Little Miss Miracle.  There was a reason.

Thanksgiving came when the dress was found; now it’s an early Christmas.





There’s No Place Like Home

July 2015.  The proverbial hammer comes down on THE costume from The Little Princess, and every one of us in the front row that day shared the winner’s joy.  Her words to the auctioneer: “The first Shirley doll I ever had was in the dress – from the Danbury Mint!”  It took several people to carry it out – train, cape and all.  I’ve got to admit – I was in shock.  I mean, I knew Tonya was one cool chick – didn’t she write THE book on ST dolls and collectibles?  But now she OWNED THIS?!  Mind blown.  Wouldn’t be the first time.


Fast forward a bit – Tonya’s now acquired quite a few costumes – film treasures of Hollywood’s past.  They’d make a mini museum themselves, yet Tonya’s plan in acquiring them was to display them for the public, in the name of continuing Shirley’s legacy.  And she lived up to that promise – several key pieces made their way to the Santa Monica History Museum in 2016.  Next stop, a Hollywood themed doll convention in Albany, NY in late summer, 2017.

Yeah, we all know what happened next.  In a nutshell: the box of five costumes never made it to its destination after being shipped via UPS; instead, four pieces were sold at an auction warehouse in Kansas City, MO just about two weeks later.  That buyer, after media pressure, finally relinquished them, and they made their way home.

But Princess didn’t.


 Now,  here’s the REAL story.  Shirley’s Army mobilized like nothing the world has seen before.  We announced to the masses – via social and traditional (is that what TV and print are now?) media.  It was due to our coordinated attacks (and a weird, unbelievable, and immensely lucky series of events) that the first four costumes were returned.   But like Sara/Shirley in this very film, who never stopped looking for her presumed-dead daddy, we didn’t rest.


Just this week, Tonya received a call from UPS that the dress had been located, and it was in their possession.  Seems Cargo Largo, the auction warehouse, received the dress – after announcing a $5,000 reward for its return.  The details are unknown at this point – Cargo is carrying on some type of investigation – and we may never know where she’s been for more than two months.

But we know where she is now.  Home.


I think we can all agree that we would rather not have had this happen, but it did….and it brought out the very best in people.  Tonya’s dress was our dress, her heartbreak our heartbreak.  And now, we share in her exhilaration, and in her gratitude for all the forces that brought her back.

Thanksgiving came early this year.  XOXOXOX