...when you find out that Shirley's trademark song, "On the Good Ship Lollipop" premieres in this movie, not on a boat, but on an airplane! Shirley's aviator dad was killed in a crash before the movie begins, but his best pal James Dunn is still very much on the scene and in her life. Darling Shirley and her mom live in the home of some rich folks, for whom Mom is the maid. They are an unhappy family for all their money, with a bratty daughter (played to perfection by future Josephine the Plumber Jane Withers) and a cantankerous old wheelchair-bound uncle. Things take a spin when Shirley's mother is struck by a hit and run driver en route to Shirley's birthday party. The ensuing custody battle is wrapped up just about as you might expect.
"Bright Eyes" is a very good children's movie, and like so many of Shirley's movies, treats the topic of death with sensitivity--we know the mother has died because we see the birthday cake ornament, a little plane, is broken by the side of the curb. There's a neat scene also when Shirley and Dunn (and a puppy dog) have to bail out of a plane via parachute--that should really brighten the eyes of your little ones!