Originally Posted by Gene H:
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.