The following e-mail was received by MeltonBarker.org on October 14, 2008:
While watching a “Texas Country Reporter” program on TV 2 weeks ago about a segment in Childress Texas and a local movie made there in 1937, I recalled being in an exact same movie in about 1947 in Terrell Texas The story, the large cast of kids, the audition, and hullabaloo over the movie at the time.
I’ve tried for years to find information about that particular movie to no avail.
When your name and web site popped up (along with the name Melton Barker), I thought you might have some information about it, which I would be very pleased to receive. Also, here is my recollection of the event.
When the movie makers (as I recall there were 2) came to town, they put ads in the paper announcing their intention to film a movie there using a dozen or so kids .
They held an audition at the city auditorium. As you can guess, every child with his mother came. I was shocked at how vicious the mothers were in shoving, elbowing, and kicking for a place in line for their child. The producers had us sit on the stage and with a clipboard in hand, he went down the line, asking each of us our name, age and hobbies. I said, I liked to build bird houses. Many of the mothers added some pretty far-fetched abilities to their children.
Sometime after the auditions, one of them announced, that all of the kids were so talented that they would rewrite the script and use all of the kids . One catch was that to be in the film, we had to belong to the actors union. The fee for joining the “Actors Union” was 15 or $25.00 as I recall. Every Mother in town paid the fee, so the producers really made a bundle.
They had all of us dressed as little Tramps in the city park and gave us directions to sit, or stand, or run toward the camera via a megaphone. A cameraman, with his cap turned around backwards, cranked an old camera on a tripod. They later showed this piece of film in the local movie house “The Lyric” theatre. Everyone in town went to see it. At some point, the director announced that he had to go back to Hollywood to get more film to finish the movie and that was the last anyone saw of him.