Blazing Barriers (July 4, 1937)
Released on July 4, 1937: Two young hoodlums hide from the law in a C.C.C. Camp, and discover that being mean is different from being strong.
Directed by Aubrey Scotto
Written by Edwin C. Parsons and Lee Freeman.
The Actors: Frank Coghlan Jr. (Tommy McGrath), Edward Arnold Jr. (Percival Throckmorton 'Fats' Moody), Florine McKinney (Joan Martin), Irene Franklin (Fleurette), Guy Bates Post (Reginald Burley), Milburn Stone (Deputy Joe Waters), Jack Randall (Arthur Forsythe), Dick Hogan (Mike Farrell), Herbert Corthell (Sheriff Martin), Mary Hayes (sales clerk), Frank Bischell (unknown), Cliff Carpenter (unknown), Al Taylor (the crazy cracker), Bobby Barber (unknown), Harry Harvey (Sharpie in pool hall), William Lemuels (unknown), Warren McCollum (unknown), Dennis O'Keefe (club manager), Nestor Paiva (CCC Captain), Anthony Pawley (unknown), Robert Ross (unknown), William Wright (CCC boy).
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Giving never Hurts
"Give with a loving heart and no expectation of return every time you are inspired to do so, and Receive with gracious gratitude every time something is offered to you." - I believe that this statement sums up the total secret to living an abundant and successful life.
Irene Franklin, the 'mom' in this story, was hailed as the most popular female performer/comedienne on the Vaudeville circuit, and Guy Bates Post, the 'dad' in this tale, was a classically trained actor who had a long career travelling the country before acting on Broadway and later in Hollywood. Frank Coghlan Jr. was a freckle-faced popular child star in silent movies, appearing in movies and television shows until 1974, who died in 2009 at the age of 93. Edward Arnold Jr. was the son of veteran actor Edward Arnold, acting in only 11 movies between 1936 and his final screen appearance in Holiday Inn in 1942.
These four combine in a story woven around the C.C.C. - Civilian Conservation Corps - the Great Depression 'fiscal stimulus,' if you will. Two young boys in the big city seem bound for a life of crime on the gritty streets, thinking that the only way to get ahead is at the expense of someone else. After almost being caught with a gangster trying to rob a warehouse they hop a freight train and head west.
Hungry and tired, they are picked up by an old actor who discovers that they are without any money or anywhere to go, so he takes them home. There the boys meet Irene Franklin who feeds them and questions who they are and what they are planning. These two old actors deliberately take an interest in the people that they meet, alert to any opportunity to give anything that others might need.
The scene on the front porch, where she and Guy give each boy a half dollar and a bag of food is priceless and inspiring to me beyond what I would have imagined. It is the embodiment of my opening statement, and something that I aspire to. Okay, the sermon is over, now on to the plot.
The boys join a C.C.C. camp to hide from the cops, and take on the old actor's last names so their real identities will not be known. But a funny thing happens on the way to murder and forest fire. . . . The boys learn to live together with other people in a community setting and learn that being very tough is not the same as being very mean. The tough boys that grow into strong men are not the meanest kids in the neighborhood. Yes, one of the boys is accused of murder and arson, but don't be terribly concerned . . . this is a 'feel-good' movie about two young boys growing up and learning to fit productively into the adult world of 1937 America. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn and drizzle plenty of warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.
Al Taylor, as Cracker, aims at Frank Coghlin Jr.
Al Taylor threatens Edward Arnlod Jr. and Frank Coghlan Jr.
Dick Hogan as CCC Camp leader Mike Farrell
Dick Hogan in Blazing Barriers
Edward Arnold Jr., Florine McKinney and Frank Coghlan Jr. at the drug store
Edward Arnold Jr. and Frank Coghlan Jr. get a ride from Guy Bates Post
Edward Arnold Jr., Harry Harvey and Frank Coghlan Jr. in the pool hall
Edward Arnold Jr. as Percival Throckmorton 'Fats' Moody
Florine McKinney and Frank Coghlan Jr. in Blazing Barriers
Florine McKinney and Frank Coghlan Jr.
Florine McKinney and Herbert Corthell
Frank Coghlan Jr. and Edward Arnold Jr. in their C.C.C. uniforms
Frank Coghlan Jr. and Edward Arnold Jr. on the run from the cops
Frank Coghlan Jr. and Irene Franklin
Frank Coghlan Jr. and Dick Hogan
Frank Coghlan Jr. as Tommy McGrath in Blazing Barriers
Milburn Stone tries to arrest Frank Coghlan Jr.
Guy Bates Post as Reginald Burley in Blazing Barriers
Guy Bates Post quotes Shakespeare for the audience
Herbert Corthell and Milburn Stone in Blazing Barriers
Irene Franklin and Frank Coghlan Jr. at dinner
Irene Franklin and Guy Bates Post in Blazing Barriers
Irene Franklin and Milburn Stone
Irene Franklin sings a Vaudeville ditty about red haired girls
Milburn Stone as Deputy Joe Waters in Blazing Barriers
Nestor Paiva and Frank Coghlan Jr