Author John Gloske (pictured here with Frankie Darro) will sign copies of his book, Tough Kid: The Life and Films of Frankie Darro starting at 6:30 PM at the Egyptian Theatre on Saturday, March 21 (screening LITTLE CAESAR & MAYOR OF HELL Saturday night) and Sunday, March 22 (screening LADIES THEY TALK ABOUT & WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD).
So who was Frankie Darro? As a child actor he appeared in many silent adventure, western, and serial pictures of the 1920s, and became a very prolific actor as an adolescent. His convincing delivery of dialogue and his obvious comfort before the cameras kept him steadily employed. His most important role of the 1930s was the lead in Wild Boys of the Road, director William Wellman's indictment of aimless teens vagabonding across America during the Depression. Darro remained popular in serials, and co-starred with Gene Autry in Autry's first starring film, The Phantom Empire. He was born into a family of circus performers! He passed away at the age of 59 in 1976.
All four of these films sound like "must-sees." Barbara Stanwyck - tough prison chick - what more could you ask for? All teens should definitely check out WILD BOYS ON THE ROAD (there are girls in it too) to see what life might be like for them in the "new" Depression. This film was made in the 1930s during the actual Great Depression and is about teens who take to the road to find jobs to help support their families. Of course in 2009 you would take to the road in your 4-wheel drive vehicle with MP3 player docks and iphones and all manner of gadgets, but back then you might not be able to contact your family for months or at all if they moved while you were away! It was dangerous out there. Your family may not have a telephone at all even if you found a phone at a roadhouse somewhere. See Frankie Darro in the 1941 film THE GANG'S ALL HERE.