American producer/director Hal Roach was overtaken by wanderlust early in life. Leaving his upstate New York home in his teens, Roach was an Alaskan gold prospector and mule skinner before he reached the age of twenty. In 1912, he spotted an ad placed by Hollywood’s Universal Pictures offering a dollar a day for genuine cowboys to act as western technical advisers. Roach spent the next year making the rounds as an extra, in the company of his new friend Harold Lloyd. As the result of a small inheritance, Roach bought an office in Los Angeles’ Bradbury Mansion in 1914, set up a small film production unit, and hired Lloyd as his star comedian. Roach’s initial “Willie Work” one-reelers found no buyers, and, when the funds ran out, Lloyd left briefly for Keystone while Roach signed on as a director with the Chaplin unit at Essanay. Teaming with Dan Lintchicum, Roach re-entered the production end with his new Rolin Phunphilm Company; Lloyd returned to the fold, this time as a Chaplin rip… read more
Fred C. Newmeyer (August 9, 1881 – April 24, 1967) was an American actor and film director. A native of Central City, Colorado, he is best known for directing a handful of films in the Our Gang series and for directing Harold Lloyd movies The Freshman and Girl Shy. Newmeyer also had an extensive directing and acting resume in other comedy short films. He appeared as an actor in 71 films between 1914 and 1923.
Newmeyer was the original director of the first short in the Our Gang series, also titled Our Gang; his version tested poorly, and producer Hal Roach scrapped most of the footage and remade the short with Robert McGowan as the director. Newmeyer, after directing numerous other shorts at Roach, would return to the Our Gang series in 1936 to direct The Pinch Singer, Arbor Day, Male and Female and the feature film General Spanky.
Newmeyer co-directed (together with Sam Taylor) Harold Lloyd’s famous silent film “Safety Last!”.
Newmeyer died on April 24… read more