20th Century Studios Wiki

Captain January is a 1936 American musical comedy-drama film directed by David Butler. The screenplay by Sam Hellman, Gladys Lehman, and Harry Tugend is based on the story The Lighthouse at Cape Tempest by Laura E. Richards. The film stars Shirley Temple, Guy Kibbee, and Sara Haden in a story about a foundling pursued by a truant officer. The screenplay is based on the 1890 children's book Captain January by Laura E. Richards.

The film features a famous dance routine for Temple and Buddy Ebsen called “At the Codfish Ball”. The film was a remake of a 1924 version of the story starring Baby Peggy. In 2009, the film was available on videocassette and DVD in both black-and-white and computer-colorized versions.

There was a tentative renewal, but the film is in the public domain due to "a legal loophole"


Helen "Star" Mason (Shirley Temple) is a foundling rescued from the sea as a baby by Captain January (Guy Kibbee), a lighthouse keeper. The two live in the lighthouse at Cape Tempest. Agatha Morgan (Sara Haden), a truant officer in the area, demands that Star be enrolled in school and removed from the care of Captain January, who never legally adopted her. The possibility of being separated is devastating for both January and Star. Meanwhile, January loses his job at the lighthouse when the lamp is replaced with an automatic one. Things look desperate for Star and January. Nazro (Slim Summerville), January's friend, tries to help and traces Star's relatives to Boston. He contacts them and they arrive at Cape Tempest to claim her. To Star's surprise and delight, her wealthy aunt and uncle buy her a yacht and hire January as helmsman, Nazro and Roberts (Buddy Ebsen) as crew, and Mrs. Croft (Jane Darwell) as cook.


  • Shirley Temple as Helen 'Star' Mason, a foundling rescued from the sea by Capt. January
  • Guy Kibbee as Captain January, the lighthouse keeper at Cape Tempest, Maine
  • Slim Summerville as Captain Nazro, January's friend
  • Buddy Ebsen as Paul Roberts, January's friend
  • Sara Haden as Agatha Morgan, a stern truant officer
  • June Lang as Mary, a kindhearted schoolteacher
  • Jane Darwell as Mrs. Eliza Croft, a widow smitten with Capt. January
  • Jerry Tucker as Cyril Morgan