How could I forget Shirley in one of her iconic roles as the orphaned heroine of Johanna Spyri’s beloved children’s book? The 1937 film featured a host of character actors and actresses in memorable supporting roles, including Jean Hersholt, Arthur Treacher, and frequent co-star Mary Nash.
Watching “Heidi” is a tradition in my family that continues to this day. Even my Mexican-born husband loves the movie and its adorable star and I remember my father making us laugh with his impression of “The Grandfather” as he searched for Heidi, who’d been sold to the gypsies by her evil aunt.
And who can forget the Heidi football game debacle of 1968 when some genius at NBC cut off the last 68 seconds of play between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets in favor of airing “Heidi?” Don’t you love it?
“So many irate fans called NBC that the network’s switchboard blew. Undeterred, people started calling the telephone company, the New York Times and the NYPD, whose emergency lines they clogged for hours.
Shortly after the Heidi debacle, the NFL inserted a clause into its TV contracts that guaranteed that all games would be broadcast completely in their home markets. For its part, NBC installed a new phone–the “Heidi Phone”–in the control room that had its own exchange and switchboard. Such a disaster, the network assured its viewers, would never be allowed to happen again.” –from History.com.