Tuesday, May 24, 2016

1957 Mt. Morris documentary now on YouTube

In 2009 I was blogging about class stuff and found out from Nancy F. that there had been a documentary filmed in Mt. Morris in 1957 and that she and her family were in it.  I was in California that summer so had no recollection of it.   So I went looking for it on the internet and found it in an archives of old films, called AV Geeks, contacted the owner, but never heard anything, so we dropped it.  I came across that blog the other day, reread it, and decided I'd try again, and so told Linda Miller of Mt. Morris about it and she put my request for information on the Mt. Morris Facebook page site, “Do you remember this in Mt. Morris.”   I also through Facebook am friends with Nancy's brother, so I told Don Snodgrass about the database of old films.  He did what I did in 2009, but got an answer and the owner provided a link to YouTube. Although I'm not sure how it works, it's possible that unless they have a demand, they don't transfer the film to YouTube. 

Here's how it lays out: There is a town named Spring Valley (most of the scenes are Mt. Morris.) Opening scenes of a quiet town showing Brayton, Wesley, the high school, Trinity Lutheran, either Sunset or Hannah ranch homes, and two scenes of industry, which do not seem to be from MM.  Then Ralph Zickuhr, possibly Harvey Miller, then Richard Butler, Mike Babler (wearing their FFA jackets) and other teens building something on the campus. You'll see Lila Baker, Marilyn and Eddie Miller, and Les Lundgren. The doctor and his father are actors, and scene at the medical clinic looks like Oregon to me. In the community meetings the setting is the Mt. Morris high school, which was only a few years old then.  I recognize Marilyn Muller, Mrs. Marge Long in white dress, Phil Orr, Mr. Snodgrass, Nancy's father, Sybil Dohlen (what a gorgeous smile), and a very young Don Snodgrass in a flat top. I don't know the minister (an actor?), and one farmer in a straw hat in the interview phase sort of looks like Forrest Kinsey, and Kinsey is the name on the questionnaire.

Lew Behrens is hired in the film as the recreation director and shows up around 16:36 and he's in a number of scenes, and I suspect probably his children. I think I spotted Ron Duffy of our class in the scene of the young people who volunteer labor to build the center, which I think is the current senior center in the construction site.  Bill Lundholm is in the car wash scene (to represent raising money by teens). The scene at the end of the large family piling into a Buick station wagon, looks like it was in front of the Behrens home.

I recognized no one in the square dance, singing group or drama group and wondered if those scenes are from another effort, or actors. But if you do, please chime in.  Perhaps others might recognize someone. All the sport scenes of tennis, golf, and baseball show both sexes--such a progressive town. The machine shop instructor didn't look familiar.  The lake scene is from Byron, since Mt. Morris didn't have one. At 21:02 in the film you see people sitting in what looks like a park, I spotted Dave Dillehay.  Interesting that Mt. Morris does have parks named both for Zickuhr and Dillehay.

Needless to say, our classmate Nancy is thrilled to finally see this film, and especially the scenes with her family. Plus others in the community are having a lot of fun identifying the townspeople. You'll all have a good time looking at it.  I looked today and it already had 318  views even though it was only posted yesterday on YouTube.

This is cross posted at MMHS1957.blogspot.com

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