I am constantly amazed at where and when bits of Melton material turn up. I was perusing the biography shelf at the library when Shirley Temple Black's autobiography Child Star (published in 1988) caught my eye. Checking the index, I found reference to James Melton on page 359. In it, Shirley describes a "flirtation" she had with my father (more than twice her age) in 1944, when he was in Hollywood filming a segment for "Ziegfeld Follies," MGM's 20th anniversary extravaganza. She writes: "My first clue to his presence came one morning while brushing my teeth. Suddenly a love song came belting across from his open window. Looking across from my basin I saw both his arms extended in a romantic finale."
The Meltons were renting Zasu Pitts' house. The Temple family lived next door, and Shirley went for rides in my father's old cars. (My father couldn't bear to be separated from his cars for even a month or two, so he shipped half a dozen cars to California, including his modern Mercedes and my mother's new Cadillac.) As it happens, I have a publicity photo of my parents and Shirley Temple riding in his 1910 Locomobile. Anyone know how I can contact former Ambassador Shirley Temple Black?
(I'll say more about "Ziegfeld Follies in a later post.)