Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Every Disney Hero Has a Voice, Johnny Tremain
Every Disney Hero Has a Voice
March 29th, 1940
Harry Lapidus Stalmaster, known as Hal Stalmaster (born March 29, 1940 in Los Angeles, California), is a former actor best known for his lead role in the 1957 Walt Disney film of the American Revolution, Johnny Tremain, based on the 1943 Esther Forbes novel of the same name.
In the dramatization, Stalmaster is an apprentice silversmith who burns his hand and requires surgery for proper healing from the noted physician Joseph Warren, played by Walter Coy. Spurred to fight the British for colonial independence, young Tremain joins the Sons of Liberty and participates in the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere's ride. Walt Disney dedicated Johnny Tremain "to the youth of the world . . . in whose spirit and courage rests the hope of eventual freedom for all mankind." Disney continued, "Johnny Tremain is about the nameless, unsung patriots whose hunger for freedom made possible the independence that is enjoyed in America today."
Stalmaster is the younger brother of former actor and casting director Lynn A. Stalmaster, a native of Omaha, Nebraska. Stalmaster said that his brother "didn't help me one bit [in landing the role of Johnny Tremain]. He thought I was too young to start acting and besides, he didn't think I could act!"
Stalmaster was seventeen when Johnny Tremain was filmed. The picture also ran as "The Liberty Story" on two segments of Walt Disney Presents, which then aired on ABC.
In 1957, Stalmaster also played Olympic athlete Bob Richards as a child in the episode "Leap to Heaven" of the ABC series Cavalcade of America. In 1959, he played the role of "Skinny" in the episode "Misfits" of Nick Adams's unconventional western series on ABC, The Rebel.
In 1960, Stalmaster portrayed Gwynn in three of the eight hour-long segments of the Walt Disney Presents miniseries, The Swamp Fox, with Leslie Nielsen in the title role of General Francis Marion of the southern theater of the American Revolution. After The Swamp Fox ended, Stalmaster did not act again until 1966, when he made his final performances on two network programs: as Borden in the episode "Robbie and the Little Stranger" of Fred MacMurray's CBS sitcom My Three Sons and as Lieutenant Gurney in the episode "Back to the Drawing Board" on Paul Burke's ABC adventure series about World War II, Twelve O'Clock High.
Stalmaster and his wife, Nancy E. Stalmaster, reside in Studio City, California. They have a daughter, Caryl Schrier Stalmaster of Sherman Oaks, California.