Fred C. Newmeyer



  • Date of Birth: 9 August 1888
  • Place Of Birth:  Central City, Colorado, USA


Fred C. Newmeyer was a professional baseball player from 1909-13 before beginning his career as an extra at Universal Pictures. He worked his way up the ladder to become a prop man, then assistant director and, finally, director. Notable among his films are Seven Keys to Baldpate (1925) with Douglas MacLean and The Potters (1927), starring W.C. Fields. His interest in baseball never waned and sometimes surfaced as a theme in his films, particularly with Warming Up (1928), a vehicle for Jean Arthur and Richard Dix. Newmeyer specialized almost exclusively in comedy, first as an actor and then as a very capable director. He turned out several entries in the “Our Gang” series, as well as numerous other shorts for Hal Roach. He actually helmed the very first “Our Gang” effort, but it was deemed unsatisfactory and the piece was eventually remade by Robert F. McGowan. However, Newmeyer later worked on some of Harold Lloyd’s best films, either as solo director (Grandma’s Boy (1922), Dr. Jack (1922)) or in collaboration with Sam Taylor (The Freshman (1925), Safety Last! (1923)). With the advent of sound Newmeyer, ill-advisedly, forsook daredevil comedy for more serious subjects. Subway Express (1931), a “thriller” he made for Columbia, was plain dull, and General Spanky (1936) (starring ex-“Our Gang” star George ‘Spanky’ McFarland) was mushy melodrama at its worst. After that, Newmeyer’s directing career quietly petered out.