Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
A cast and crew from MGM Studios began filming the movie Boys Town in the village in 1938.

The Boys Town Story: 1937 – 1947

October 27th, 2017     By Boys Town Contributor

Boys Town History, Father Flanagan, Village of Boys Town

The following is part of our Centennial Timeline Series, providing historical insight into each decade of Boys Town's history. This time, we see Boys Town at the height of its fame, becoming a household name, thanks to the tireless public relations work of Father Flanagan — and an Oscar®-winning film called Boys Town.

The cast and crew from MGM Studios began filming the movie Boys Town in the village in 1938. Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney, two of the biggest stars at the time, were among those who would spend 10 days on location filming.

The movie premiered later that year on September 7, in Omaha. Boys Town won two Academy awards. Dore Schary and Eleanore Griffen were honored for writing the Best Original Story, and Spencer Tracy won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Father Flanagan. The film was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Norman Taurog) and Outstanding Production.

In 1941, CBS Radio aired the first broadcast of several national broadcasts featuring the Boys Town Choir. That year also marked the dedication of Dowd Chapel in the Village of Boys Town, built with a donation from Mary Dowd.

In Detroit in 1944, a crowd of more than 43,000 attended the Boys Town vs. Detroit Central Catholic football game, which ended in a 14-14 tie. Boys Town and DCC played regularly throughout the era, drawing enormous crowds.

In 1946, Boys Town announced a $30 million expansion that doubled the size of the home, adding an administration building, a high school, 25 cottages, a visitors' center, a dining hall, a field house, a music hall, and a vocational center.

Click through our slide show to see more photos.

1938: A cast and crew from MGM Studios begin filming the movie Boys Town in the village.

Check out our interactive timeline to learn more about Boys Town's second decade.


Related Posts

 

 

Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Despite Unique Challenges, Boys Town Kids Know the Thrill (and Valuable Skills) of Playing Sportshttps://www.boystown.org/blog/Pages/bt-kids-know-the-thrill-of-playing-sports.aspxBoys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Despite Unique Challenges, Boys Town Kids Know the Thrill (and Valuable Skills) of Playing SportsSports are an important part of Boys Town because they help build character in young people. Our Competing With Character curriculum provides an innovative game plan for enhancing youth sports with a focus on character development.February 8, 2019Boys TownSports are an important part of Boys Town because they help build character in young people. Our Competing With Character curriculum provides an innovative game plan for enhancing youth sports with a focus on character development.Father Steven E. Boes, President and National Executive Director, Boys Town
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Newly Discovered Father Flanagan Materials Make Their Way to Boys Town. After Walter Welch’s passing on Thanksgiving of 20https://www.boystown.org/blog/Pages/Newly-Discovered-Fr-Flanagan-Materials-Make-Their-Way-to-Boys-Town.aspxBoys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Newly Discovered Father Flanagan Materials Make Their Way to Boys Town. After Walter Welch’s passing on Thanksgiving of 20Newly Discovered Father Flanagan Materials Make Their Way to Boys Town. After Walter Welch’s passing on Thanksgiving of 2015 his children discovered something incredible that he’d left behind.December 21, 2018Boys TownNewly Discovered Father Flanagan Materials Make Their Way to Boys Town. After Walter Welch’s passing on Thanksgiving of 2015 his children discovered something incredible that he’d left behind.Boys Town Contributor
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Protecting Children Is the Right Thing to Dohttps://www.boystown.org/blog/Pages/Protecting-Children.aspxBoys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Protecting Children Is the Right Thing to DoAs a national leader in child and family care and the keeper of Father Flanagan's legacy, Boys Town has an obligation to speak out whenever childre...July 2nd, 2018Boys TownAs a national leader in child and family care and the keeper of Father Flanagan's legacy, Boys Town has an obligation to speak out whenever childre...Father Steven Boes, President and National Executive Director, Boys Town