Could everyone write one simple essay about something that once happened in Saltaire…that they saw or were a part of…and put it on one big website? Somebody should collect a lot of stories before we all forget. Otherwise it is like a line in “On The Beach” : The history of the war that now would never be written.” -(JO'H)

Friday, November 28, 2008

"SHOCK TROOPS OF DISASTER" THUMBS UP BY HUGH O'BRIEN FOR THIS WPA FILM ABOUT THE 1938 HURRICANE

JUSTIN ZIZES JR. SCOUTED OUT THIS FILM FOR US AND IT IS A GOOD ONE.

PRODUCED BY THE WPA THIS FILM CHRONICLES THE DESTRUCTION FROM THE HURRICANE OF 1938 AND THE ARMY OF WPA AND CIVILIAN CONSERVTION CORPS WORKERS THAT HELPED REPAIR THE DESTRUCTION.

THE FILM TALKS MOSTLY ABOUT NEW ENGLAND, IT DOES HAVE SOME ACTUAL PICTURES OF SALTAIRE.

CHECK OUT THE WRECKAGE IN THE SALTAIRE BAYFRONT AND THE ELADIO AT THE TWO MINUTE MARK IN THE FILM. THIS IS A GREAT FILM TO GET A SENSE OF THE SIZE OF THE DESTRUCTION, AND YOU REALIZE THAT SALTAIRE WAS JUST SMALL CHANGE IN THE FOOTPRINT LEFT BY THIS MONSTER STORM.

YOU CAN ALSO BE DRAWN INTO POLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS. YOU KNOW, WPA, CCC THEN AND HECKUVA JOBS TODAY.

THANX FOR THE REFERENCE, JUSTIN.

HERE IS THE LINK: http://www.historylite.com/media/517/New_England_Hurricane_-_1938/


HUGH O'BRIEN THUMBS IT UP:



Leave it to Justin to dig this one up....

I’ve seen excerpts from this film, never the whole thing, in various documentaries over the years. Cool to finally see it all in context.

Did you guys catch the other Saltaire footage? At about 4:56 or so into the film there’s a brief shot of people leaving the Village Hall. Unmistakable. The camera pans down the ramp following some of the evacuees (it’s shot in daylight), with Ye Olde Casinoe in the background as well as the same house that stands today at the corner of Neptune and Bay. I didn’t know they had a screen door on the VH back then. Just the ticket to protect against rising flood waters. The VH footage is fol lowed by people being loaded onto a boat to be taken back to the mainland. I assume, but can’t definitely ascertain, that that’s our dock and our forebears. The film is hard to see on the computer (and its quality is a bit deteriorated), but it would be neat if Edie Watts or Ann Keegan could check it out and maybe identify some of the survivors.

Disappointing that there’s no footage of Madame Bazinet or Mrs. Haas being excavated by the WPA. (Okay, sorry.)

For film buffs (if any), the background music heard for about 50 seconds starting at 3:42 is lifted from the soundtrack from King Kong. (In KK it’s heard from the time Kong breaks out of the theater, onto the street, and begins climbing the building where he eventually finds Fay Wray in her boudoir.) Much of the other music sounds familiar, like Kong a lot of it probably written by Max Steiner, and taken from the RKO library. One of the sadder untold stories of the Great Hurricane is how WPA spotter planes had to shoot Kong off the water tower in order to save it so we could pull it down on Labor Day 1968. The work gangs buried the carcass in front of the maintenance yard, which explains why the height of the dunes in that area has gradually been falling over the past seven decades, even as the dune grass thrives.

Anyway, thanks JZJr, and also Harry Hopkins, and thanks to our mentor, Johare ny@aol.com, for continuing the valiant work of the blogspot. Or, as the narrator of the film pronounced it, “vail-ee-yent” (he says it at the VH shot).

Let’s get to work i.d.’ing those refugees. We ain’t got all night.

Hugh

5 comments:

cosmo said...

Can anyone identify any of the people being evacuated from Saltaire? Hugh?

Speckled Veechie said...

NO, Hugh is not in the picture.

Speckled Veechie said...

No, Hugh is not there. That was way before even Baby Hughie.

Mik in Montague said...

Unfortunately, the historylite link is no longer valid. Apparently the owner of the domain name let it lapse and a domain aggregator scooped it up to resell. The film may now be hosted at another website.

Mik in Montague said...

I found the film on Archive.org

http://www.archive.org/details/ShockTro1938