Youngsters in Films

Back in the day there were quite a few child stars and here is a selection :

ABOVE – Tommy Rettig – he was in ‘River of No Return’ with Marilyn Monroe – lucky boy

ABOVE : Gary Gray and Flame in ‘Return of Flame’

This must have been one of the RKO short films with a running time of 20 minutes but I can only find them with ‘Pal’ in the title. Mind you Flame did play Pal, so maybe this caption just refers to his return – I think that that must be the case.

The Wonder Kid was actually released here in 1952.   David Raynor, who often provides very welcome and interesting comments of this Blog, is an expert on Bobby Henrey and has kindly agreed to let me post below the comments he has made on imdb :-

We have actually printed this before :-

While not in the same league as that in “The Fallen Idol”, Bobby Henrey’s performance in his second and last film, “The Wonder Kid”, is just as charming and fascinating to watch. He is totally convincing and often very touching as Sebastian Giro, a ten years old French boy and child musical prodigy found in an orphanage by Mr Gorik (Elwyn Brook-Jones) who exploits the youngster’s talent as a classical pianist and turns him into an international celebrity. He even tells everyone that the boy is only seven years old in order to make the boy wonder’s talent seem all the more remarkable. But Gorik is also a crook who embezzles the takings so that he has almost all the money and Sebastian gets hardly any. Coupled with that, Gorik won’t allow Sebastian to enjoy the simple pleasures of being a little boy, like having a pet dog or playing with other boys or even reading comic books, because, when Sebastian isn’t performing, Gorik isn’t making any money out of him. He works the over tired boy like a slave who must continually practise on the piano. Sebastian’s elderly English governess, Miss Frisbie (Muriel Aked) is very concerned about the boy and confronts Gorik about his crooked activities. But he dismisses her from her post. Miss Frisbie then pays a gang of junior league crooks to “kidnap” Sebastian and take him to stay in a remote lodge in the Austrian Tyrol and Gorik won’t get him back until he’s paid over a huge ransom which is, in effect, all the money he has stolen from the boy. It is here, in this beautiful setting, that the boy finds a freedom and a happiness he has never known and just wants to stay there forever with those who have become his friends. But trouble is on the horizon for him…

This now unjustly forgotten little film is thoroughly entertaining and wonderful to watch.  Apart from the truly picturesque scenery, Bobby Henrey’s performance as the cruelly exploited child prodigy who moves from misery to happiness is just wonderful. Highly recommended.

This film ‘The Mudlark’ went very well at the Box Office here in England. Irene Dunne played Queen Victoria and Alec Guinness was Disraeli

ABOVE – Bobby Driscoll in England to star as Jim Hawkins in ‘Treasure Island’ – this must have been taken in the summer of 1949.

He came to a very sad end a few years later.

I cannot recall much about this child star – Bobby Hyatt or Robert Hyatt as he became known as.

Here he is with a very young Natalie Wood

He acted in quite a lot of films as a child star and beyond but he also became a Film Director, Producer, Writer even Composer for films.

He was a very well respected person in the film industry with a vast experience of all aspects of film making.

Robert Hyatt as a Film Director ABOVE

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have Comments (4)

4 Responses to “Youngsters in Films”

  1. David Rayner says:

    Other child actors of note from the 1920s to the 1970s were the world’s first child suoerstar Jackie Coogan; George Breakston; Anthony Wager; the Golden Globe and Academy Award winner Ivan Jandl; Dean Stockwell; John Howard Davies; Academy Award winner Jon Whiteley; Colin ‘Smiley’ Petersen; Richard Williams; David Ladd; Ian MacLaine; Fergus McClelland; Mark Lester; Anthony Kemp; Mark Colleano; David Bradley and Roderic Noble. Google them to find out what films they’ve been in.

    • Movieman says:

      Yes David, I could have included all of the ones you mentioned. There are more examples – and you have mentioned many of them. We could have included Hayley and Juliet Mills and even Natalie Wood as child stars – also Johnny Sheffield. All of these went on to have quite good careers as grown ups though.

  2. David Rayner says:

    I should also have mentioned Scotty Beckett and Tommy Ivo.

  3. David Rayner says:

    I recently bought an expensive book entitled “THE MOVING PICTURE BOY GALLERY” by Paul Sutton (see my review of it on amazon uk), which manages to leave out some famous boy stars such as Dean Stockwell. Some of them, such as Bobby Driscoll amd Scotty Beckett, came to very tragic ends as adults. I also bought “THE MOVING PICTURE GIRL GALLERY” by the same author, which happily does feature Hayley Mills. The books are expensive though, between £40 and £50 each. I’d been planning to get them since they were first published in 2014.

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