On the Good Ship Lollipop

Today, we bid a fond farewell to Shirley Temple Black, actress and diplomat, who passed away last night at her Peninsula home. She was 85.
Shirley Temple is generally considered the most famous child star ever. In dozens of films during the 1930s, she lifted moviegoers’ spirits and touched their hearts with her upbeat persona and infectious dimpled smile. Some of her songs, such as “Good Ship Lollipop,” were hummed or whistled by people everywhere. In the depths of the Depression, it was a great tonic for fans not only in America but around the world.
She was reminded of her global fame much later in life when she served as U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia under President George H. W. Bush. She arrived in Prague to be greeted by members of a Shirley Temple fan club, dating back to her acting days. She had previously served as Ambassador to Ghana under President Nixon and U.S. Chief of Protocol under President Ford.
We celebrate her for all these accomplishments in her life, but in our corner of the world, we especially remember her role as the celebrity chosen to introduce the first PCC streetcars to Los Angeles in 1937, as shown in the newspaper photo, which comes from our Facebook group. Her role is recognized onboard Muni’s PCC No. 1052, painted in tribute to Los Angeles Railways.
We’re going to start thinking of No. 1052 as the Good Ship Lollipop from now on.

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Would You Freshen My Shirley Temple, Please?

When Los Angeles Railway bought its first PCC in 1937, they pulled off a publicity coup by getting then-child star Shirley Temple to unveil it. Today, that first PCC has been fully restored by the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Riverside County, former Ambassador Shirley Temple Black lives in retirement on the Peninsula, and the spirit of that pioneering PCC is reflected in the F-line fleet by No. 1052.
It’s just back on the street after Muni’s shops gave it extensive roof and body work and a completely fresh paint job. Their attention to detail is fantastic. Paint crew leader Carole Gilbert noticed that the silver striping in the back didn’t exactly match photographs of the originals she had obtained since the car was first painted in this livery in the early 1990s. She called us and asked if we would look at some alternatives with her. It’s a bit of a tricky deal, because the original LA Railway PCCs were an early model with no “standee” windows above the main side windows, so the striping couldn’t be precisely the same. But we found the closest approximation, and for good measure, the original “Railroad Roman” car numbers were applied, in the correct color.
These “tribute liveries” that are seen on the F-line can never be exactly right (except on cars that actually ran in the cities they portray) because Muni’s fleet is standardized around three body types instead of the half-dozen or more variations of the PCC that were used in the car’s 16-year production span. There are limits to the number of paint colors that can be stored as well. But once again, the Muni maintenance team has done two cities proud with its work — and we hope Shirley Temple Black has a chance to see it one of these days as well!

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