The Paw Paw River Journal
Magic Movie Moments
Movies have been such a part of our lives forever. I’m sure there is no one alive now who can remember when there were no movies. Albeit the first ones were pretty crude, they were still impressive to the people of those times. Cenius Engle was Hartford’s first lawyer. He was self-taught and passed the state bar exam without having ever gone to law school. He had the opera house above the old Green Lantern just east of the park. In it was one of the first movie theaters. And it didn’t last very long because they passed laws that theaters could not be upstairs. Too much danger of crowds getting trapped in case of fire. And those early movie projectors did cause fires. They were hot, with the light provided by an arc lamp. The films were highly flammable too, so the combination was dangerous. Someone told me the first movie shown in the opera house had in one part a couple, not especially handsome, in a passionate love scene. He was nibbling on her face, and people found that quite scandalizing. Another section showed a locomotive roaring down the tracks right at the camera. People were so frightened by it they actually scrambled away from the front of the screen. The first movie I can remember in Hartford featured the Western star, Tom Mix. People were remarking how nice it was to have sound, but I can’t remember when the theater didn’t have it. After that first film, my childhood was filled with Western stories, and those guys who rode horses were my heroes! With the advanced computers anything can be photo shopped now. We can believe nothing we see on the screen is real. That has not really lessened my love for the movies though. I love a good film, and we are always searching for new ones on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Meanwhile I have collected in my memory some of the magic moments and I’d like to draw up a few for you. One scene in the movie Jaws stands out… there are many in that film, but one is where they are out looking for the great shark. The town sheriff is leaning on the railing of the small cabin cruiser, and out of the depths comes this huge shark and opens his jaws! The sheriff is almost speechless. He finally says, “They’re gonna need a bigger boat!” I can remember squirming in my seat as we watched that great white shark. I don’t think I ever wanted to swim in deep ocean water after that. I was almost reluctant to get into the bathtub! Another iconic character from about the 70s is Dirty Harry. Clint Eastwood did a good job with that part. He managed to get across the idea that this guy is obsessed by a thirst for justice. One scene he has cornered the bad guy, who is trying to decide whether to reach for his gun or not. Dirty Harry pulls out that big old .45 caliber magnum revolver. Sighting along its chrome barrel, he says, “You’re trying to decide if I have one more bullet left. Go ahead, Punk, make my day!” I guess Clint Eastwood has given us many Magic Movie Moments in his long career of making films. And clear up to his present age is still doing it. There is an early John Houston movie that you may or may not have seen. It is a sort of Western, about some guys down on their luck and searching for gold in the mountains of Mexico. It is one of Humphrey Bogart’s early films, and also stars an old actor, Walter Houston. His son was the director. Well, they find the gold and start digging it out. Walter is so excited he does a dance that is something to see. In the process some Mexican bandits confront them and say they want their mules and weapons, telling the prospectors that they are police. The prospectors are almost speechless, and finally one of them says, “If you are really police, show us your badges!” The snaggle toothed bandit leader grins and says, “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!” And with that scene, the saying passes into history. My last Magic Movie Moment is from a film once seen will never be forgotten. Frankenstein came out in the 1930s, and I was so small my folks wouldn’t let me see it. Good thing! It was so scary just looking at the still photos gave me nightmares. Dr. Frankenstein creates a monster out of spare body parts. But it is not alive. So he sends it up on an elevator to the top of the tower to be struck by lightning. It does strike; and when he brings it back down, he anxiously watches to see if the monster will move. The fingers on one hand finally twitch, and he yells excitedly, “It’s alive! It’s alive!” And with that, another Magic Moment comes into being. There are so many more, but I have reached the end of this column. And I’d like to say that such moments are all part of our culture… threads we weave into the Golden Tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.
This image of a young boy holding a doll was located within the Watervliet Paper Mill collection. Contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 468-3330, firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by Tues. thru Fri. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., they would love to hear your stories on this photo. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma
Watervliet District Library News
Special Book Sale Aug. 26-31 All books, movies, and audio during this week will be buy one get one free. In Stitches Knitting Group Friday, Sept. 13, 2:30 – 4 p.m. Take a current project or some interest; they’ll help anyone get started. Limited supplies are available for beginners, too! Third Monday Book Club Sept. 16, 7 – 8 p.m. Great books, fabulous conversation! Ask for a copy at the desk. This Month: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Yoga Mondays 9 – 10 a.m.; Wednesdays 7 – 8 p.m.; Fridays 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.; Chair Yoga – Wednesdays 6 – 6:30 p.m. Call the library at 463-6382 with inquiries on any activity.
Coloma Public Library News Book Club
The Coloma Public Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, Sept. 5 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “The Word is Murder” by Anthony Horowitz. Depending on demand there may be titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club regularly meets every other Thursday. New members are always welcome. Newspaper archive Past issues of the Coloma Courier (November 1899-1969), Watervliet Record (1890-October 1984) and Tri-City Record (1984-2010) are available for searching and browsing on the Coloma Public Library’s website. Check out their home page at www.colomapubliclibrary.net. Learn your history The Coloma Public Library offers Ancestry Library Edition, an online database with genealogical records dating back as far as the 1400s. Library patrons can access census data, birth, marriage, death, and military records for free using the database within the Library. Stop by and they will show you how to start learning your history today! DIY car repair Save money by repairing your own vehicle. The Coloma Public Library can help. We provide free access to Auto Repair Source, an online service with repair information including diagrams, step-by-step instructions, service alerts, and recalls. Thousands of domestic and import vehicles are included. Michigan eLibrary The Michigan eLibrary (MeL) is a statewide collection of electronic resources for library patrons of all ages. The public can get free access to digital content including full text issues of Consumer Reports. College Preparation testing, World Book Kids, and much more are available. See the friendly Coloma staff to learn how to get access using a library card.
NEWS FROM THE COLOMA COURIER
100 years ago – 1919 It does not pay to play with a bull loose in the pasture. John and Russell Pollock, Edison Hamilton and Norman Carrothers found this out to their sorrow. The bull gave chase. The boys beat a hasty retreat for the fence. Edison stumbled and was pounced upon by the bull. The three other boys beat the bull off using clubs. Fruit growers take care! Stringent laws regulate the packing and grading of fruit so as to protect the consumer. 60 years ago – 1959 Coloma’s largest tree, a Japanese Tulip, was removed in the name of progress. The tree, near Paw Paw Lake homes, was cut down by Parrigan Bros. It was 100 feet high with limbs over 50 feet long. A three-week fluoridation program for children, held at Washington Elementary School, will end tomorrow. About 300 children have been treated, assisted by nurse Miss Carol Appel. Pierson Construction Co. has attracted national attention by placing five miles of concrete on the Detroit-Chicago expressway in the Coloma area. Work is ahead of schedule, with a completion date of August. 30 years ago – 1989 The Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterbacks are ready for another fun season. Jim Edwards has been added to the lineup. Let the action begin! Jim Hodges has been hired as Coloma’s City Administrator. The title has been changed from City Coordinator. First to be addressed are various complaints about the streets and sidewalks. The annual picnic reunion of the Kolenko family was held. There were 64 present. All enjoyed boating, games and a potluck dinner. The Press Box previews the Coloma Comets of the Lakeland Conference. The Comets are led by Bruce Dings. They hope to improve on last year’s 1-8 record. Jay Jollay will be calling the signals at quarterback.
Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Fri, 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Tue, Wed & Thur, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Sat, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Phone: 269-468-3431
NEWS FROM THE HARTFORD DAY SPRING
100 years ago – 1919 Stoddard Post No. 93 of the American Legion is the name by which Hartford’s new organization of world war veterans will be known. The post name honors the memory of Clinton Stoddard, son of Mr. and Mrs. C.S. Stoddard residing southeast of the village, who is said to be the first soldier from Hartford township killed in the world war. He met death in action on October 8, 1918. The number of the post has just been assigned by the Michigan headquarters of the Legion, and the papers have been forwarded to the national headquarters at Washington for the granting of the charter. Not in 25 years at least has there been so large a crop of huckleberries as has been harvested this season. Many marsh owners have found the huckleberry yield the most profitable product of their farms, the berries having brought from $3.50 to $9.00 a case, with an average price of from $4.00 to $4.50. 75 years ago – 1944 More than 60% of Hartford residents voting last Thursday in the special election to increase the tax limitation cast their ballots in favor of the 2-mill boost to establish a fund for purchase and improvement of the airport site. Two-thirds of the number of votes cast were required to approve the tax increase. Interviewing village and rural residents following the election, supporters of the propostion came to the conclusion that most of the non-voting public was disappointed in the outcome. Helmut Meissner, German prisoner of war assigned to the Hartford camp, learned Sunday night that escape from a United States prison camp is difficult, and pretty much a temporary sort of thing. For the second time since his arrival at the Hartford camp, Meissner, 22 years old, has made his escape only to be captured a few hours later. 50 years ago – 1969 A feature of the new A&P supermarket at Hartford is a fresh meat department. Unlike the traditional white porcelain fixtures, this has attractive wood grain paneling on the front of the counters and in a lighter shade on the back wall. The new store is in the second week of its grand opening, and special offerings for this event are listed in an advertisement. Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. Hours: Mon, Tue & Wed, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thur & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Phone: 269-621-3408
NEWS FROM THE WATERVLIET RECORD
90 years ago – 1929 Every seat was taken and many people were standing at the annual vaudeville show given at the Cottagers Country Club last Saturday night. Every number on the program delighted the large audience and H.K. McEvoy, who brought the talent here from the Palace and State and Lake theatres, Chicago, was accorded hearty congratulations on the success from club members and others that attended the event. ADVERTISEMENT: The Watervliet Public Schools will open September 3, and we are prepared to meet all of your requirements in the way of school books and school supplies. School books are cash sales. Carmody Bros. Drug Store – Phone 38 Watervliet 60 years ago – 1959 The Boy Scout Drum and Bugle Corps announced the grand opening of the Cloverleaf Pure Oil station as they paraded down Main Street Thursday morning. The grand opening of the Pure Oil station is going on this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 20, 21 and 22, in spite of the road improvements on M-140. All profits on gasoline sold during the three-day celebration will be turned over to the Watervliet library association who is sponsoring the grand opening. New Record subscribers this week are Albert Flore, Rt. 1, Coloma; Merlin Hauch, Rt. 1, Coloma; and Major Robert L. Sprague, Los Angeles, Calif. 30 years ago – 1989 Sixteen students graduated from the Licensed Practical Nursing program at Lake Michigan College August 11. They received their nursing pins and certificates of achievement after successfully completing the one-year program at LMC. Among those to graduate were Elizabeth Doom of Watervliet and Deborah Snodgrass of Hartford. The graduates are now eligible to take their state board examinations in October to become Licensed Practical Nurses. One hundred percent of LMC’s LPN graduates have passed their state board exams on their first attempt for the past 15 years.
Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library of the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Wed, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Tue, Thur & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 269-463-6382