One of the most popular posts on the GMC is a nostalgia piece that showed up back in 2007 under the title The Little Rascals And A Shot At Movie Stardom. Since it was pretty much written from my memory — which we all know is sometimes unreliable — I was happy to stumble onto a news article that seems to offer confirmation. You might want to click on the link above and read my original story before you proceed, so I’ll give you some time for that.
Dum de dum . . . de dum de dum . . . de dum de dum de . . .
Okay, are you back? Of course I know some of you didn’t really go and read it, so let me just say that it includes a description of my childhood appearance in a movie. (But you really should go read it.) Anyhow, as I was saying, my memory of the event received a measure of confirmation when I happened to see an article about a Texas-based filmmaker who spent several decades doing just what I described — traveling around the country and making movies, selling parents on the idea that their little brat might have what it takes to be a movie star.
Melton Barker was one of most successful of a particular kind of itinerant filmmaker who specialized in making movies of small-town America, often featuring kids. In fact, Barker’s work has generated a special project and website as part of the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. It has also been named to the 2012 National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, and written up in a New York Times article.
If you’re interested, below is an excerpt from one of his original films, which usually followed a similar script no matter when and where they were made. They were actually a little scary since they showed thugs kidnapping little children — but maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing. After all, kids of that era didn’t have as many ways to learn about the dangers they faced and bad things sometimes did happen, even if we like to think of it as the ‘good old days’.