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140512 May 12, 2014


LHS Class of '64 Senior Picnic

LHS Class of '64
Senior Picnic
Tommy Towery
Class of '64

People I know for sure in the film

Seconds into film      Person Recognized

0:31        Bobby Cochran (batting)
0:42        Terry Vandiver (shirtless)
0:50        Phillip Hall (flipping)
1:05        Tommy Thompson (playing tennis)
1:07        Bobby Cochran (walking left to right)
1:19        Tommy Thompson (in front) Judith Keel (behind)
1:23        Mrs. Hall (right)
1:25        Mr. Woods (front) Mr. Blackburn (back)
1:32        Douglas Sneed and unknown female (in roller coaster)
1:38        Judith Keel (tennis and sticking tongue out)
1:43        Gary Kinkle, Jerry Brewer, Lehman Williams (walking L-R)
1:47        Gary Kinkle (shoot me the bird) Lehman William (behind)
1:50        David Bess (shirtless, centering ball)
1:55        Harold Tuck (kicking ball)
2:00        Carolyn McCutcheon (left)
2:07        Tony Thompson (with hat on right, jumping on bench)
2:08        Wayne Sheldon (charging camera)
2:11        Bob Walker (back to camera)
2:19        Jim Storm (left)
2:25        Tony Thompson (charging camera)
2:42        Gene Bryson (wheelchair in center)
2:45        Tommy Towery (striped shirt and Ramar of the Jungle hat)
2:58        Carolyn McCutcheon (looking good)
3:15        Robert Byrd pushing Gene Bryson


Friday, May 8, 1964

129th Day - 237 days to follow



        Got up at 7:30 A.M.  David, Bob, and Steve N. picked me up at 8:10 A.M. and we went out to Guntersville Lake and went swimming.  There were a lot of kids from Lee there.  We left at 1:00 P.M.  I came home with Paul - he skipped school today.  We went to Miracle City and I got some film for my movie camera; I came home and packed for the Westminster retreat we're having at Anderson Creek tonight and tomorrow.
        At 2:00 P.M. I went down to Big Spring Park to our Senior Picnic.  We played softball, volleyball, football, and tennis.  We ate and then played around some more.  Some of the boys brought their musical instruments and played some songs to dance to; but William and Susie M. showed up just when they started.  Susie drove us over to the camp.  We got there about 8:00 P.M.
        We divided up into discussion groups - our whole Presbytery was there.  The subject of the camp was "Science and God."  For recreation the "Generals Three" sang.  Then we went to bed around 12:00 P.M.

        Once again I delved into the art of film making, three minutes at a time and no tripod. As noted, sometimes the cost of developing the film cost more than the raw film itself. This was again done on the $10 Kodak Brownie camera I purchased at a pawnshop. I do not recall why I decided I needed a movie camera in my life, but unlike some of the major Hollywood producers today, I never carried the art form to the next level past 8mm.
        This day in 1964 gave me two reasons to buy fresh rolls of movie film, the Lee High School Class of ’64 senior picnic and the Central Presbyterian Westminster Fellowship retreat. Of the two events, the only movie I took that seems to have survived the flooded Texas garage was the one of my classmates at the senior picnic at Big Springs Park. I walked around taking panning shots of the different activities and in retrospect see I panned way too fast for the small format of the film. I knew I only had three minutes of film to capture the whole story of the day, so I shot in short bursts and panned rapidly, trying to capture as many faces of my classmates as possible in the short amount of time allocated. Now when I view the movie I made that day there are probably only about a dozen faces I can recognize from the multitude of people I pointed the camera toward. By filming in the three to five second bursts of Kodak moments, the unfortunate results were people disappearing from the screen before the eye can recognize what is showing.
        I know all these things about the movie I shot back then because today I posted a link on the internet social media Facebook to the movie I had previously stored on the Youtube site. As noted, the film was damaged when it was placed in a cardboard box and stored in the dirt floored garage of the first house we ever owned, a small place in Fort Worth, Texas. One day a strong rain came and the ensuing flash flood backed the water up in the garage and soaked all the boxes stored there. Many of the small collection of movie reels of my previous life were damaged beyond recovery, but the roll taken at the senior picnic came out without much damage to the emulsion. Age became the real demon of the process and many of the little holes in the side of the film were damaged to where they would slip on the sprockets of the projector, resulting in the film jumping and skipping many frames. The film was shot in 1964, was damaged in 1973, and in 1982 I had it transferred to VHS video tape in an effort to preserve it before the celluloid  Finally around 2005 I converted the VHS tape to DVD a digital format which should now keep it from becoming completely deteriorated. Once it was in digital format, I was able to upload it to the video storage site on the internet and finally remove any physical media and any chance of it suffering from another conversion. I was even allowed to slow the action down and stretch the length to four minutes to allow more time for faces to appear on the screen.
        Today, on Facebook I shared it with my classmates, many of whom are part of the cast of the short three minute film and their families who may have never seen this part of their lives. Again, unlike today when everyone has a smartphone with a built-in video recorder, there were few who even had a camera at the picnic 50 years ago. I was the only one who made a movie. As far as I know, I was the only one out of almost 300 classmates who made any type movie of the event and my short film is like the Zapurader film of the Kennedy assassination, only not quite as historically important. Still, to my knowledge, it is the only surviving moving pictures of the people and the activities of the picnic that day.
        I must admit there is sadness in my heart when watching the film these days. Many of the people who I ran around with and wrote about in my journal are no longer with us. In the first minute of the short film, at least seven of the students I recognize, and all of the teachers are not alive to view their image on the internet as we can do. I still know their names, probably better today than I did the day I took their pictures back then. To me they will always remain young and a part of my past life and will live on in the flickering and jumping fuzzy images of the short film that frequently appears on my computer monitor as I once again journey back to that happy day of May 8, 1964.

        Memphis, TN - On Tuesday, May 13th, at 10:30am I will be lecturing at the University of Alabama's OLLI program on what it was like to grow up in Huntsville. This is a continuing education class and only open to registered students, but following that Sue and I plan to go to Mullin's, if it is still open, and have lunch. Anyone who wishes to join us is welcome and should there be a change in the time or place I will try to post it on Facebook or email anyone who confirms a desire to join us. We will be in town sometime Monday but don't know when yet, or where we will be staying. My phone number is 901-438-0054 in you want to call me.

Rawhide Opening and Ending Credits


TV Westerns of the 50s and 60s
John Drummond

LHS '65

          Long before Dirty Harry shot up the silver screen with his .44 Magnum in 1972, Clint Eastwood co-starred in the hour-long black-and-white series "Rawhide."  Airing on CBS, it ran for 217 episodes on Friday nights from January 9, 1959 to September 3, 1965; then on Tuesday nights from September 14, 1965 until the final episode on January 4, 1966. At almost 8 seasons, it is the 5th-longest running TV Western, behind "Gunsmoke" (20 years), "Bonanza" (14 years), "The Virginian",  (9 years), and "Wagon Train" (8 years).

         The plot involved a continuous cattle drive set in the late 1860s, with 20-25 drovers shuttling some 3,000 head of cattle from San Antonio to Missouri, encountering all sorts of problems and people along the way, from Anthrax to Apaches.  The trail boss was Gil Favors, played by Eric Fleming.  His "ramrod" was Rowdy Yates, a break-out role for Clint Eastwood.   Other characters included the scout Pete Nolan, played by Sheb Woodley, and the cook Wishbone, played by Paul Brinegar (you may not know his name, but will recognize his face instantly as a character actor who appeared in many TV shows and films).

         The iconic theme song was performed by Frankie Laine, who came to hate the tune, because he was often asked to perform it when he would much rather have sung some of his more contemporary hits.  For the same reason, he also came to hate "Mule Train."

         TV Trivia Questions:  

1)   Each show began with a special introduction, which was unique for a TV Western; what was it, and which character performed it?

 2)   The theme song from "Rawhide" was performed in two subsequent feature films; what were they?  (hint: one was a comedy released in the late 1980s; the other was an animated film, also a comedy,  which was a sequel about 5-7 years ago;  sorry, but I am not up to date about cartoon movies).




From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Western TV Trivia

Jim Bannister
 LHS '66

I have really been enjoying Dr. Drummond's TV Westerns trivia. This week's answers are :

Wyatt  carried a Buntline Special, a Colt 45 with a 12" long barrel.
His brothers were Virgil and Morgan.
Doc Holliday was a dentist by profession.

Subject:     Hugh O'Brien
Janet James Holland
LHS '67

        I wanted to tell you, since your article brought back this memory, about my seeing Hugh O'Brien in his height of success. Such memories one article can bring back! He flew his plane into the airport at the Cape for first man on the moon. My Dad, then Manager of the Saturn, was in charge of welcoming the Governor and his wife of Indiana, as my Dad was from Indiana. We were there to pick them up. The only thing I remember about them was the picture my Mom kept in a frame for years of the Mrs. and her, as they both were beautiful and looked like sisters, and Jackie Kennedy. Anyway, I was dumbfounded to see him walking in wearing his jumpsuit, like a Chuck Yeager pilot, a grin and swagger, like his role with his gun on his hip, ever as handsome, but very small, not like you imagine the great Wyatt Earp. I looked for him in the grandstands at the launching, but there were 3, the politicians and internationals, press, and us, but even the Johnny Carsons were under sunglasses and hats. Besides, when you're one mile and as close as any human hearing the loudest sound on earth, save the H bomb, there are more important things than Hugh O'Brien. Thanks for the memory! 

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