This dance, with Buddy Ebsen, is supremely charming:
"Come Along and follow me, to the bottom of the sea..." Did that influence Robert Zemeckis in "Back to the Future" to make the prom theme "Enchantment Under the Sea"? There's a scene right after the dance where a bunch of crusty old sailors teach Shirley how to spit. That had to be the source material for the spitting scene in "Titanic."
And speaking of influences, I can see how much this influenced me. Shirley is angrily defiant as she stands up to the prissy female truant officer who doesn't like the feisty attitude she's learning from the men. The truant officer wants to put her in an institution, away from Captain January, the kindly lighthouse keeper who found her after a shipwreck.
You should be taken home and spanked! What kind of man is this Captain January to allow you to run around?This is some heavy dialogue for a young child to hear. (Shirley has just been looking at a picture she thinks is her dead mother and has tried to sing the song "Asleep in the Deep.")
Helen: How can anyone sleep in the deep?Yes, Shirley reminds you of death, then tries to cheer you back up with Christmas and short term hopes.
Capt. January: That's the long last sleep, Star.
Helen: Does everyone have to die?
Capt. January: Yes, everyone does.
Helen: Even you and me?
Capt. January: Yes, when the time comes.
Helen: Do you think we'll make it till Christmas?
Capt. January: Yes, I wouldn't be surprised if we did.
ADDED: Want to see more Buddy Ebsen? Here -- "Broadway Melody of 1936"-- he dances with a full size woman (his sister Vilma).