American Flyer Boys RR Club

Hi Everyone,

I was watching my American Flyer Boys railroad club video and was just thinking that no one ever posted any info on the show, at least that I ever seen. Was it filmed at the Gilbert plant in New Haven and were the kids local actors or family of Gilbert employees? There s nothing on the web about them and 1950 TV was in it's infancy. Also I just wonder how many if any of the boys are still living. Herkie the youngest was about 7 or 8 so that would make him around the 70 mark. Alot of people mistake him for Jay North (Dennis the Menace) but he is much older than Jay North. If anyone has any info it would be interesting to know. Hope everyone is enjoying there weekend.

Sueme Valley System

Original Post

A good question worthy of further research by someone in the S gauge segment.

 

Although it probably wouldn't be an easy task, it would be great if someone could locate one or more of the "boys" and gain some insights to the show and the participants.  It's likely that one or more would still be living. 

 

Even though I have always been a Lionel guy, dating back to the age of six or so, I do have and enjoy the American Flyer Boys Club segments.  Unfortunately, I only have the VHS versions available and no longer have the means to view them.  I guess I should see if Cari, on our staff, can convert them to DVD.  Not sure, but perhaps DVD versions are available from TM Books & Video.

Originally Posted by Gene H:

Hi Everyone,

I was watching my American Flyer Boys railroad club video and was just thinking that no one ever posted any info on the show, at least that I ever seen. Was it filmed at the Gilbert plant in New Haven and were the kids local actors or family of Gilbert employees?


"The American Flyer Boys Railroad Club" of 1950 was filmed in a studio in New York City. A couple of modest-sized layouts were used with the boys and a theme-specific railroad professional for each of the six episodes. The 'shoot' for all six episodes was done in its entirety in a few days. Additional footage appropriate for each episode theme was later taken of the main display layout at the Gilbert Hall of Science and subsequnetly edited in. You will notice upon viewing and a bit of reflection that the set layouts with the boys are far more simple and smaller. No Gilbert employees or family members were directly involved with the immediate production of the shows.

 

At the fall S-Fest (Tinley Park, IL on Nov 2-5, 2006) one of the former 'boys', Carl Lueck ("Corky") was a guess speaker for the Fest banquet. Some of the above was gleaned from his recollections, however, his memories of having been in the "King and I" and of Yul Brenner on Broadway were understandably stronger than the those of the AFBRRC. He does remember the boys and the production folk being friendly and getting along well. Carl had a Flyer S gauge train set from childhood and the set was auctioned at the end of the banquet.

 

The American Flyer Boys Railroad Club shows were some of the earliest infomercials, however these were preceded by the six "The Roar of the Rails" shows from 1948-49. These were broadcast live. Kinescope copies were made for later broadcasts, pretty much unedited resulting in moments of unintentially humorous cinema verite. VHS copies are available. A specially-built layout was used to help tell the story for each episode. One similarity between "Roar of the Rails" and AFBRRC is that a strong connection was always made between some facit of real railroading or railroading history and realistic American Flyer Trains with real two-rail track.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Bob Bubeck

Thanks for the info Bob. What had me wondering about being family members when one of the Boys says Cars he put the soft case a in and that is New England. I have both BRC VHS tapes also the roar of the rails is the other and would like to see them both on DVD also. If you order the DVD make sure you get one with all 6 episodes most have only 3 or 4. The shows were probably very low budget and in 1950 most homes still didn't have a TV yet and air time was probably very cheap by 1950 standards. I never realized it but they were actually early Infomercials.

Sueme Valley System

Gene,

 

There is also a bit of info on the different layouts used on the boys RR club here:

 

  http://www.americanflyerdisplays.org/

 

As Bob mentioned above, there seems to be several alyouts that were used for filming.  The large showroom layout at the hall of science and another small layout that looks very simialr to the Sibley display layout that still exists today:

 

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCfesBJNkgo

 

I have to give respect to the Gilbert display dept.  Even though I grew up on Lionel and their display layouts, I think the Sibley display layout really stands above the rest.  I can only imagine what it was like to walk into a dept. store in the 50's and see something like this!

 

 

 

Thanks Troy, I'll check the site out this evening. It was exciting for me to see the department store layouts in the 50's and after Christmas the stores would sell the layouts at a good price as well as the Trains. I used to love getting money because after Christmas the Department stores would mark down the trains 50% to make room for the Summer stuff. I remember Sears in Millbourne Pa (Upper Darby) used the same section as they would use for the garden center so they were in a hurry to clear it out for spring items. The Sears Christmas wish book was also something I would look forward to every year.

Sueme Valley System

Originally Posted by CSX Troy:

 

As Bob mentioned above, there seems to be several layouts that were used for filming.  The large showroom layout at the hall of science and another small layout that looks very simialr to the Sibley display layout that still exists today:

 

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCfesBJNkgo

 


You may notice that the layout on page 4 of the 1946 - 48 catalogs (also found in the '49 catalog), the Sibley display layout, and the set layouts for the AFBRRC all share several design elements. This naturally follows in that they were designed and built by some of the same Gilbert personel. By the way, the 1946- 49 catalog layout was a prewar layout -- note the rather obvious removal of the 3rd rail from the artwork.

 

Bob

Likes (0)
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
×