Fox Archives: The glamorous history behind the ‘Shirley Temple Bungalow’ on the Fox lot

Shirley Temple Bungalow

Fox Archives: The glamorous history behind the ‘Shirley Temple Bungalow’ on the Fox lot

Heritage

Building 69 on the West Pico Boulevard Fox lot is a rather inauspicious little structure that has a fun (and even glamorous) history, about which even most people at 20th Century Fox Film studio are unaware.

This is Building #69 today.

This is what Building #69 looked like when it was constructed in the 1930s to serve as a bungalow for talent that were under contract at Fox. In the 1930s, the Tennessee Gate was the principal entrance to the studio, and this is where the biggest stars had their bungalows -- presumably so they wouldn't have to drive very far into the studio.

The bungalow's first inhabitant was glamorous Lilian Harvey, a European actress/singer whom Fox had imported with high hopes of her attracting large audiences to help temper the financial woes the studio was experiencing at the time. She ultimately only made three films for Fox before returning to Europe. Here she is seen wearing a gown from "My Lips Betray" (1933), a film that incidentally includes Mickey Mouse. The photograph was shot by Otto Dyar.

Here is Lilian in front of the bungalow with its rustic picket fence. When Lilian left, the bungalow was given to Gloria Swanson, who made the film "Music in the Air" (1934) at Fox. (Unfortunately, the Photo Archive has no photos of Gloria here.)

Following Gloria, the bungalow was given to Fox's biggest star of the 1930s: Shirley Temple. Shirley would inhabit the bungalow until she left Fox in 1940. Though she was only here for half a decade, the bungalow is still colloquially referred to as the “Shirley Temple Bungalow." Here she is in the sleek roadster given to her by co-star Bill Robinson.

The bungalow consisted of three large rooms: a sitting room, dressing room and kitchen. This is a photo of the sitting room.

Here is Shirley pretending to read a book in the sitting room.

Here is the dressing room that also served as a schoolroom and nap room for the star.

Here is Shirley at her desk in the dressing room. She remembered having her daily school lessons in the bungalow.

Like other major stars, Shirley had a huge vanity in her dressing room.

Shirley had most of her meals served to her in this kitchen (not in the Shirley Temple dining room in the commissary, as has been rumored), but it also served as a place where she could practice her dance routines with her instructor. Here Shirley is seen practicing her dance routine for “Bright Eyes” (1934) with choreographer Jack Donohue.
Following Shirley's departure, the bungalow was given to child star Peggy Ann Garner, who wowed audiences with her roles in "Jane Eyre" (1943) and "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" (1945). Here she is moving in. Building #42 can be seen in the background.

After Peggy Ann left Fox, Building #69 was enlarged and renovated as the studio's hospital, a role it served for almost half a century until the medical department moved into Building #99 in the 1990s. The building is now used for production offices.

Look for more photos of Fox’s historic lot buildings in the upcoming book “20th Century Fox: A Century of Entertainment,” which will be published later this year.

The Fox Archives is mandated to collect, catalog, preserve and make accessible the following assets of the 20th Century Fox studios: props, set decoration, photographs, art department and publicity materials from our film and television productions, and from the 20th Century Fox studio itself. We work primarily with internal Fox groups but also from time to time with outside organizations such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.