The Fremont, Nebraska film was shown at the Empress Theatre December 8th and 9th, 1939. Newspaper articles list O.W. Dalton as cameraman and Bill Bearden as sound man.
The Fremont Daily Tribune of Fremont, Nebraska included extensive coverage of the production of the local version of The Kidnappers Foil. Because of the repetition of language found in other newspapers, it appears that the majority of their articles were taken directly from Melton Barker Productions press releases.
Wednesday, November 1, 1939
Fremont Children to Star in Movie to Be Made Here
Melton Barker will arrive in Fremont soon to produce a two-reel comedy, according to an announcement by Bill Mack of the Empress Theater. The local play will be a kidnap story and will be shown at the Empress Theater when completed.
Barker has the distinction of having discovered Spanky McFarland who is now starring in “Our Gang” comedies.
The entire picture will be made in Fremont and about 75 local children will appear in the cast. Some singing and dancing will be used in the picture, however, it will not be necessary for a child to be able to sing and dance to get a good part, as all types are needed to fill out the cast.
After the cast has been selected there will be three or four days of rehearsals, teaching acting before the sound camera and talking over the microphone. There will be a small charge for this training. However, there will be no charge for registering and try-outs.
Children between the ages of 3 to 12 years old wishing to try out for parts must register at the Empress Theater at once. When the casting director arrives in town he will get in touch with those who have registered and arrange for interviews.
Those desiring to appear in the picture should fill out the blank appearing on the theater page of this paper and deliver it to William Mack, Empress Theater, 419 N. Main St., Fremont.
Tuesday, November 2, 1939
Interest in Local Movie Increases; Fremont Kiddies to Be in Picture
Interest in the juvenile comedy which is to be made here entirely with local children continues to grow, according to Bill Mack, manager of the Empress Theater, sponsoring the local production.
To give local youngsters between the ages of 3 and 12 an opportunity of appearing before a camera crew and acting a story that will make a two-reel comedy, the theater has engaged the Melton Barker Productions. This organization is familiar with the casting and filming of youngsters and has been active throughout the nation in producing juvenile comedies.
Registrations of applicants by local boys and girls who want to appear before the camera continues briskly, but the theater management and Melton Barker’s casting director from Hollywood are eager to get additional youngsters. As soon as all the applications are received, actual casting will begin. Mr. Barker will assemble the applicants and give each a Hollywood test. Those selected through this test will then be assigned roles for the production. About 75 youngsters will be selected and the entire picture will be made here.
Those children who so far have not had an opportunity to register and those who want to try out for a part in the picture may do so by making an application at the Empress Theater. Every type of child is needed for the picture–tall and short youngsters, “fatties,” and “leans,” and every other type. There will be some call for singing and dancing types, but neither of these talents is necessary. Mr. Barker wants to get as many applicants as he can to assure himself of having covered the city thoroughly in his search for talent that will later sparkle on the Empress screen.
“The more youngsters I get to look at, the better my chance of selecting a cast that will genuinely represent Fremont’s talent,” said Mr. Barker. “The theater management is particularly eager to make the shooting of the local film an outstanding event and for this reason we want as many youngsters as possible to try out before the camera for a role in the production.”
Wednesday, November 3, 1939
Hollywood Film Director to Arrive Next Week to Make Fremont Movie
In Hollywood, “Turn ‘Em Over” means action. The scene is ready to shoot, O.W. Dalton, cameraman, and Bill Bearden, sound man for the Melton Barker Productions are shown in the picture above as you will see them on location in Fremont when production starts on the two-reel comedy to be produced here for the Empress Theater.
Wm. Mack, manager of the Empress, has contracted with Barker, Hollywood producer, to film a two-reel comedy similar to the “Our Gang” comedies here in Fremont using approximately 75 children as the characters.
The object of making the picture in Fremont is to give local children an opportunity to see and hear themselves on the screen and to compare themselves with Shirtly Temple, Freddie Bartholomew, Spanky McFarland and other celebrities of the screen.
The casting director will arrive here next week and will get in touch with the children who have registered and arranged auditions. Some singing and dancing talent will be used, but this talent is not necessary, as all types are needed to fill out the cast. The picture will be made in Fremont and production will start immediately after the cast has been selected and given the necessary instructions. The rehearsals and shooting of the picture will not interfere with school work.
Tuesday, November 7, 1939
Casting for Fremont Movie to Start at Empress Thursday
Melton Barker, casting director for the gang comedy to be produced here soon, arrived here today to make preliminary preparations for production of the picture, which will start Thursday.
Entries are pouring into the office of the Empress theater for the two-reel, all-talking kid movie, to be made here using 75 children between the ages of 3 to 12. More than 170 entries have been received.
The Melton Barker Juvenile Productions, famed as producers of youngsters movies, have been engaged by the management of the Empress theater to shoot the local kiddies as they romp through their parts in the picture.
All children who have registered at the theater are being notified by telephone or postcard at which time to report for the trial.
Barker is anxious to receive more entries, thus giving him a chance to have a wide range of choice in filling the parts of the story. Children who have not registered may report for the trials during the time scheduled.
Friday, November 10, 1939
Many Kiddies on Hand for Parts in Motion Picture
Scores of kiddies, each one eager to have an opportunity to appear in motion pictures, greeted Melton Barker yesterday as first steps were taken by the Melton Barker productions for making a Fremont motion picture to use 75 children.
First rehearsals will be Saturday. The director and his staff spent Thursday afternoon picking out the boys and girls to get final tryouts for the production. The purpose of the picture is to give local boys and girls a chance to see and hear themselves on the screen.
Wednesday, November 15, 1939
Interior Scenes Will Be ‘Shot’
The interior scenes of the movie “The Fremont Gang Comedy” will be taken Friday night at 8:45 at the Empress theater.
Monday, November 27, 1939
All-Fremont Film Will Be Shown December 8 and 9
The first motion picture ever filmed here with an all-Fremont cast will be shown Friday and Saturday, December 8 and 9, at the Empress theater, the management announced.
Last three scenes of the picture, “The Fremont Gang Comedy,” were filmed Sunday afternoon at Barnard park under the direction of Melton Barker, Hollywood producer-director. The picture features a cast of 130 children between the ages of 3 and 12.
The 2,500-foot film will take about 30 minutes for showing, the Empress management announced. It will be co-featured with Loretta Young’s current movie hit, “Eternally Yours.”
Friday, December 8, 1939
Premiere of Fremont’s Own Gang Comedy Film is Friday, Saturday at Empress
Just like a thriller filmed in Hollywood…a little girl is kidnaped in the first scene.
That’s just the beginning of action in Fremont’s own Gang Comedy two-reeler which will be shown at the Empress theater Friday and Saturday, December 8 and 9.
The 30-minute comedy was filmed in Fremont by Melton Barker of Hollywood. Most of the characters are Fremont children.
Co-featured with the gang comedy premiere is the regular-length picture, “Eternally Yours,” starring David Niven and Loretta Young.
The gang comedy opens with a little girl being kidnaped and carried to a hideout. Her big sister reports the kidnaping and the gang immediately gets busy.
A little boy is told that he is too small to go on the hunt, so he organized a gang of his own. Finally, his gang finds the kidnaped girl and deals justly with the kidnapers.
Saturday, December 9, 1939
Kids, Parents Love Fremont Gang Comedy
The kids loved it and so did their parents!
What more could you ask of a home talent movie such as the Fremont Gang Comedy which had its premiere last night at the Empress theater.
From the early kidnaping scene to the point of rescue, the the Fremont youngsters in teh picture roam Barnard park in droves, speak their lines and vary the procedure at one point by breaking into a catchy, rhythmic song.
The Adolph Tepp residence at the corner of Military and Irving plays a prominent part as the home of the kidnaped victim and her screen father, Melton Barker, the director.
Personally, we’d have liked it better had there been more footage to those arch villains of the piece, “Tip” Schultz and Clayton Fagen.
Singing and tap dancing ability among local juveniles was revealed in the final party scene.
You can still see the Fremont Gang Comedy tonight!