Caryll Ann Ekelund
The Blue Bird is a bizarre film. It was released in 1940 starring
Shirley Temple. It's sort of an It's a Wonderful Life, meets The Wizard of Oz meets A Christmas Carol. It was unsuccessful because Shurl played a beastly little child - and
people didn't like it. She lied, she bullied, she stole... fabulous.
There are killer trees, fairies and a cat that tries
to kill them (well, it's not all fictional). This film is apparently 20th
Century Fox's answer to MGM's The Wizard of Oz complete with the
black and white/color transition, and a large part of the plot being a dream sequence - and many many more
My Pal Mark Langlois flagged this story for us:
In Shirley Temple's autobiography Child
Star, she makes a passing mention about the "unfortunate" young actress who was "burned to death" during
the shooting of The Bluebird." Upon further exploring, Mark came
across a page dedicated to glamorous
starlets. You see, Caryll had a sister that grew up to be the actress
Jana Lund. This page had important details about poor Caryll.
I contacted my pal Joe Walker who then amazingly
found an actual article that mentions Caryll. The piece actually focused
on Halloween rambunctious ness of various LA communities including 200 Beverly
Hills boys and girls that had a mad tomato and watermelon throwing spree.
Various effigies were burned around town, and the soap business went up from the
little dickens soaping windows. Those were the days, eh? Now they're
dodging bullets. Especially in Caryll's neighborhood.
A very tiny mention at the article Joe found,
"Emergency hospitals were kept busy with calls from mothers whose
overzealous pixies got fingers burned from jack o' lanterns. Most serious
was the case of Carol Ann Ekeland, 4, treated at Georgia Street Receiving
Hospital for first and second-degree burns received when her costume caught fire
from her lantern in front of her home."
This is the home where it happened. She died on November 3, 1939 at the now gone Georgia
Street Receiving Hospital.
Caryll was buried at Forest Lawn Glendale.
Her little casket was carried up a very steep hill by her five older brothers. A
graveside quartet sang Caryll's favorite song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
Her burial shroud is the toga she wore
in The Blue Bird.
Mark adds, "The tragedy happened 25 years before those
Ben Cooper "flame retardant" plastic
costumes were all the rage in America."
Some of those costumes are downright weird
as hell. Thanks Kathleen.