Freddie Bartholomew

  1. Billy & Bobby Mauch, The Prince and the Pauper, 1937.   Two Freddies may have  been better than one but the studio decided on real twins…  For the boyhood version of Fredric March’s hero, producer Hal Wallis started talks about loaning MGM’s child star. Until seeing how much the Mauches resembled March. Burbank legends insist that poor Billy and prince Bobby, often swopped roles, without director Meryn LeRoy noticing. Billy made 15 films between 1936-1951, before transferring to  to the sound  department for the next 30 years.  Bobby quit after six roles and went into editing  – Dragnet among other TV  shows. 
  2. Frankie Thomas, Flying Cadets, 1940.      Universal’s plan to have ex-kid stars Bartholomew and Jackie Cooper being taught to to fly, were scrapped and, instead, they became Two Bright Boys… while Thomas and Riley Hall took over the joystick.
  3. Clark Gable, Adventure, 1945.      The ex-child star needed an adult break but with his war service over, MGM saw more profit in: Gable’s Back and Garson’s Got Him.  “And they deserve each other,” snorted critics.  Gable agreed: “It was lousy!”
  4. Jimmy Lydon, Life With Father, 1946.      Somehow, Bartholomew tested but lost out to Lydon for Clarence Day, aka eldest son of William Powell and Irene Dunne in  the film of Broadway’s longest running  play.
  5. Dean Stockwell, Kim, 1950.      Fourth time lucky for MGM’s desire to film the Rudyard Kipling classic 1900 adventure about Kimball O”Hara,the orphaned  son of a British soldier  in the 1886 India under British rule. Kim posed as a Hindi beggar boy to help the UK Secret Service spy on Russian agitators.  Irving Thalberg won the rights for MGM in 1934 and a year later, the ex-Little Lord Fauntelroy, Freddie Bartholomew was selected opposite Lionel Barrymore as his Indian mentor, Mahbub Ali the Red Beard, in 1935.  The project was shelved for another Kipling tale, Captains Courageous, with Spencer Tracy and young Freddie – announced as Kim again in 1937, opposite Robert Taylor as Red Beard.  After various delays Mickey Rooney (like who else) was the 1942 hero  in a typically Metro all-stars  line-up of John Carradine, Laird Cregar, Cedric Hardwicke, Basil Rathbone, George Sanders, Akim Tamiroff and Conrad Veidt  WWII killed that as the script was too pro-British Empire and anti-Russia. Finally, MGM’s Boy With Green Hair, Dean Stockwell, was Kim opposite  (a way too old and hardly Indian)  Errol Flynn. He quit King Solomon’s Mines to be Red Beard, because he didn’t fancy living in a tent in Africa, while he had a hotel in Lucknow…  where Stockwell was doubled by a local kid.

 Birth year: 1924Death year: 1992Other name: Casting Calls:  5