This filmography was made in collaboration with Matthew Lydick.
full name: Shirley Jean Rickert
married name: Shirley Jean Measures
born Mar. 25, 1926, in Seattle, WA
died Feb. 6, 2009, in Saratoga Springs, NY
Around September or October of this year, when Shirley was 18 months old, she won a local baby contest. This inspired her mother to work towards making a
celebrity out of her little girl.
By Shirley's third birthday, her mother had moved the family from Seattle to Hollywood to pursue a movie career for her daughter.
Shirley won a look-alike contest in which she was made up to look like Ruth Taylor of Mack Sennett Bathing Beauty fame. This led to her joining Our Gang,
complete with the Taylor hairdo. Years later, on her website, Shirley said "My hair style was developed by Max Factor and glued to my face every morning with
A May 1930 casting directory states that Shirley had done some work in comedies for Jack White Productions.
On July 28th of this year, Shirley worked with the Our Gang unit for the first time, albeit as a day player.
On August 19th, Shirley was signed to a long-term contract with Hal Roach Studios, to be effective from Aug. 18, 1930, to Aug. 17, 1935. Her
salary was $75 a week.
On August 22nd, a press photo was released showing Shirley posing with Mary Pickford. The caption read: "Fortune smiled on little 4-year-old
Shirley Jean Rickert when Superior Judge Marshall F. McComb approved her contract with the Hal Roach Studios, making her official "vamp" for "Our
Gang" comedies." Pickford happened to be at the same court for an unrelated matter.
How's My Baby? (featured role: the baby)
June 22, 1930 - Mermaid/Educational - 2 reels - Mermaid Comedy series
Shirley received her final check from Hal Roach Studios on March 14th of this year, her contract being prematurely terminated. It was later explained in a press
release that she was deemed too sweet and pretty for the Gangsters.
On August 15th, The Broadway Hollywood department store had a grand opening for The Children's Own Floor. Shirley Jean Rickert and Mary Ann Jackson served
as assistance hostesses.
During this period, both Shirley and Mary Ann attended the McAdam Normal and Professional School of Dancing and danced in some sort of special
In late September, Shirley returned to the Roach studio to appear in the Boy Friends comedy, "Love Pains."
On October 31st, Shirley entertained at the "Children's Hallowe'en Party" thrown by Bullock's in Los Angeles. Also performing as part of
the program were Norman "Chubby" Chaney and Betty Jane Graham.
On December 11th and 12th, a new E.F. Smith public market had its grand opening on Figueroa Street in Los Angeles. Shirley was part of the entertainment
on one of the two days, as was Chubby Chaney. They were both said to be appearing "courtesy of the Hal Roach studios," but neither was under
contract with Roach at this point.
Shirley must have been discharged from the military around this time, as her film activity picks up again after a two-year gap. She remembered being in
numerous Esther Williams films (which would mainly be from the late '40s and early '50s), though I've yet to verify any of them.
Near the beginning of this year, Shirley began to train at the New Follies Theatre in Hollywood to become a stripper. She became known professionally as
Gilda and Her Crowning Glory (in reference to her long hair, which she would let fall down below her waist). She almost immediately made "The
A-B-C's of Love," and toured the U.S. and Canada for the next seven years as part of a variety show that included singers, strippers and comics.
The earliest live performance I've been able to confirm was at the New Follies Theatre on March 26th.
The A-B-C's Of Love (role: Gilda the Golden Girl)
Jan. 1954 - Billiken/Mishkin - 64 min. - Gilda feature
Credited as Gilda. An adult film. The release date is according to the TCM website, though it's somewhat questionable. Given that Shirley got into
burlesque dancing in 1954, and that the earliest screening I've been able to confirm happened on March 28th, I'm guessing that the shooting of the film
may have been what happened in January.
The Human Jungle (role: stripper)
prem. Sep. 28, 1954 - Allied Artists - 6 reels - Gary Merrill & Jan Sterling feature
On March 1st of this year, Rick Du Brow of UPI reported that Shirley Jean Measures lost custody of her 7-year-old daughter the previous year to the
By December of this year, Shirley was performing in Detroit, where she also did a children's TV show on Saturday mornings.
Shirley gave up burlesque dancing after seven years when her mother died and she needed to stay home to care for her 5-year-old daughter. (This is a
problematic bit of information, as it appears that Shirley only had one child, who was either 5 in 1961, or 7 in 1956). She next moved to Buffalo and became a
bartender. She later did secretarial work. At some point, she's reported to have also worked in the sales department of the Regional Professional Theater in
By this time, Shirley seems to have relocated to Springfield, MA. At some point she was a sales director for a regional theater there.
On December 30th of this year, Shirley made a personal appearance at Stage West in West Springfield, MA.
On October 28th of this year, Shirley was a featured speaker at a Rotary dinner meeting in Suffield Inn in Hartford, CT.
Woman Is episode (guest appearance)
Mar. 4 - WGBY/PBS - 30 min. - TV episode
Local program in Springfield, MA.
By June of this year, Shirley had moved to Connecticut and become sales manager at the Hartman Theater Company in Stamford. In addition to the business side of
things, she also occasionally acted with the company.
On October 6th, Shirley was a guest speaker at a meeting of the Fifth Wheel club in Fairfield, CT.
On November 18th, Shirley was a guest speaker at a meeting of the Chai Chapter of the Women's League for Israel.
Around July of this year, Shirley became director of consumer marketing for the Fairfield Processing Co. of Danbury, CT. It was during her time with this
company that they organized their first annual Stuffed Toys Contest. Contestants entering the contest would create needlecraft dolls and animals, with the only
requirement being that they had to stuff the toys with Poly-Fil, a product of the Fairfield company. Shirley spent the next couple of years distributing the toys
to children's hospitals around the country.
At some point soon after this, Shirley began selling machine shop parts around Connecticut for Kar Products, Inc., a compnay based in Des Plaines, IL.
Hawkes Eyeview episode (guest appearance)
May 20, 1982 - WGBY/PBS - 30 min. - TV episode
Local program in Springfield, MA.
Our Gang: Inside The Clubhouse (archival)
May 8, 1984 - Lang/Camellia City Telecasters - 93 mins. - TV documentary
Includes footage from "Helping Grandma," and "Bargain Day."
Classic Comedy Teams (archival)
1986 - Bergamn-Harris/Movietime/GoodTimes - video documentary
Includes footage from "The Stolen Jools."
During this period, Shirley would occasionally make personal appearances to help kick off Our Gang showings in local theaters.
In addition to her job with Kar Products, Shirley was also designing clothes for Common Thread during this period. She had, by the time of an August 12th
article from this year, been married three times, two of which ended in divorce and one of which ended in death, and had no intention of marrying again.
Shirley attended the Sons of the Desert 9th International Convention at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, NY, from July 13th to 17th. On July 15th, she was
one of several Our Gang kids taking questions as part of a celebrity panel.
The Our Gang Story (archival)
1994 - Film Shows/GoodTimes - 120 min. - video documentary
Includes footage from "The Stolen Jools."
On July 10th, Shirley, along with Tommy Bond, Dorothy De Borba, and Jerry Tucker, attended a dinner at the Fox Hollow Inn in Woodbury, NY, sponsored by
the local chapter of Sons of the Desert.
On October 6th, Shirley attended the West Out West 34th Annual Banquet at the Pickwick Banquet Center in Burbank, along with several other Our Gang kids.
On May 11th of this year, Shirley gave demonstrations of various quilting techniques at the Berkshire Country Day School in Stockbridge, MA.
Also during this year, Shirley lost everything but her car, house slippers and purse, in an apartment fire in Esperance, NY. After this, she moved to nearby
During this year, Shirley appeared as "The Chef" in a production of Woody Allen's Don't Drink The Water put on by a repertory company
called Stillwater Players Among Others.
On December 13th of this year, a newsstory was written about Shirley, reporting that she was currently living under public assistance and in ill health. She
had had several heart attacks and suffered from emphysema, requiring her to use an oxygen tube.
Shirley Jean Rickert's payroll history
The following is a list of most of Shirley's history at the Roach studio, with the amounts she was making from week to week. The dates given are
Saturdays, the last day of each week at the studio. The only exceptions would be Saturdays that were also holidays, in which case the Friday date is used
for those weeks.
Aug. 2, 1930 - 60.00 charged to prod. G37 (Helping Grandma)
Initially a day player, Shirley was given $10 checks on all six of the workdays this week.
Aug. 9, 1930 - 30.00 charged to prod. G37
Shirley was given $10 checks on Aug. 4th, 5th and 6th.
After this, another week or so passed before Shirley was signed to a longterm contract.
Feb. 28, 1931 - 75.00 charged to prod. G41 (Fly My Kite)
Mar. 7, 1931 - 75.00 charged to prod. G41
Mar. 14, 1931 - 75.00 charged to prod. G41
After this, Shirley's contract was terminated and she moved on to film projects away from the Roach studio. She did, however, return to the studio six
months later to work in the Boy Friends comedy Love Pains, though I don't have the payroll information for that. She also turned up at the studio almost
four years later for one day of work.
June 15, 1935 - 7.50 charged to "publicity"
On June 15th, $47.50 was charged to "publicity," and a list of six checks issued to six day players, all child actors, added up to the same
amount. There were, around this time, photo sessions in which the Our Gang kids modeled clothing, and a taller blonde girl in some of the photos could be
See anything that needs changing? Contact me at BtheW@aol.com.