Tom's Musical Museum Documentary

We are looking to raise an additional $15,000 to help fund the post-production (editing, sound engineering, copyrights, marketing, and entries into film festivals) for our 90-minute documentary that chronicles the history of Tom's Country Market and Musical Museum. The working title is One Thing Led to the Other - The Tom and Jean Fretty Story. We have already shot roughly 95% of our film and video footage, but the post-production work is the most time-consuming and tedious part of the filmmaking process. There are substantial costs still involved in bringing this project to completion.

For those unfamiliar with our subject matter, Tom and Jean Fretty created and operated an expansive musical museum and adjoining pioneer park in Manly, Iowa many years ago. Thousands of visitors per year experienced this unique attraction from 1968 to 1979. Visitors loved to hear the old-time, mechanical music machines, view thousands of other rare antiques, and see 72 life-size animatronic characters come to life with the drop of a coin or token.

View our documentary trailer -

At the time of its operation, Tom's roadside attraction was a perfect fit for the busy intersection of Highways 9 & 65 in North Iowa.  For many, many years, the north-south route of Highway 65 was the common route for those traveling between Des Moines and Minneapolis. Travelers of all ages had their roadside curiosity richly rewarded when they stopped and paid admission to Tom's sprawling park. They spent hours experiencing a novelty of entertainment that they would never forget.

On November 14th, 1975 the opening of Interstate 35 through North Iowa (Mason City and Clear Lake area) diverted a sizable portion of the north-south travelers 9 miles west of Tom's. Making matters worse, the government legislation for the national Highway Beautification Act led to the removal of 48 of Tom's iconic highway billboards in 1977. In the end, the seasonal nature of their business (April to November), and the high cost of the machine's yearly maintenance led the Fretty's to reluctantly close down their beloved museum and park in 1979.

This is the story of the rise and fall of this roadside business and attraction. We document how it became a reality, what it was like in its heyday, and why its closing affected so many people.

Despite the heartache of this closure, Tom and Jean were grateful that they had the opportunity to experience the rewards of free enterprise, entertain so many, raise a family, and live out an ambitious endeavor that would have been inconceivable to most. Through their hard work, persistence and entrepreneurial spirit, they inspired generations of visitors to recognize the contributions of the many pioneers that came before us and to enjoy the entertainment of their era.

We have made many, many trips to Iowa and the surrounding states to meet with key people and capture their memories on film. We have worked efficiently to produce this project on an extremely thin budget, and are now seeking financial support to ensure the timely completion of this incredibly compelling story. Our goal is to deliver a top-flight documentary that will captivate both a national and international audience.

Two of the three filmmakers (Warren Westcott & Pat Deninger) grew up in Manly and were frequent visitors to the park until it closed when they reached high school age. The third member of the production team is Greg Korbjornsen, a 30-year veteran of film and video production and direction. Greg filmed Tom and Jean Fretty several times before their passing. All three of us are proud to tell the story of Tom's County Market and Musical Museum through countless on-camera interviews, fascinating stories, rare archival photos, and other historical film footage.

Every contribution helps us towards the big screen for this project, so we really appreciate your thoughtful consideration of a financial contribution. As you will see, we are also promoting a few "Thank You" gifts for different levels of sponsorship at the $15, $30, and $50 levels. Know that you can also donate less than $15 or as much as you see fit.

This film is set for distribution by end of this summer (2018).  Once completed, we will be entering it in several local and national film festivals for 2018 and 2019.

Key upcoming film festivals:

Iowa Independent Film Festival - August 24-25, 2018 - Mason City, IA

Sioux City International Film Festival - September 12-16, 2018 - Sioux City, IA

Chagrin Documentary Film Fest - October 3-7, 2018 - Chagrin Falls, OH

Heartland Film Festival - October 11-21, 2018 - Indianapolis, IN

Portland International Film Festival - October 22-28, 2018 - Portland, OR

Denver Film Festival - October 31 - November 11, 2018 - Denver, CO

Muscatine Independent Film Festival - November 9-11 - 2018, Muscatine, IA

Beloit International Film Festival - February 22 to March 3, 2019 - Beloit, WI.

We look forward to being a part of several other film festivals as well and appreciate you partnering with us to share this story.

Warren Westcott

See our "Thank You" t-shirts gift at the Tom's Country Market and Musical Museum Facebook Fan Page:

Also, feel free to introduce our funding campaign to your friends by sharing this GoFundMe page via Facebook or email.

Tom and Jean went on to become very well-known for their continued philanthropy work and their dedication to community service organizations like Opportunity Village (formerly called Handicapped Village) in Clear Lake, Iowa and the recently re-named Tom Fretty Memorial Krugerrand Auction that benefits the Salvation Army.

See the TV news report on this auction:

Donations ()

  • Anonymous 
    • $60 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous 
    • $60 
    • 9 mos
  • Chris Merchant 
    • $60 
    • 21 mos
  • Karen Howe 
    • $60 
    • 23 mos
  • Bill & Jina Schulte 
    • $60 
    • 25 mos
See all


Warren Westcott 
Cologne, MN
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more