Friday, September 16, 2016

1940: A vintage movie

On Sunday evening we had a great time re-watching the 1940 Kennett Square DVD. I wrote about this hour-long movie a few years back, but apparently many folks aren't aware of it. Before World War II an enterprising company went around the country shooting footage of small towns, and businesses paid for the privilege of being part of their town's own movie. (Based on the amount of sometimes-gory airtime he got, Kennett's sausage manufacturer must have made a large contribution indeed.)
The original film footage was transferred onto a DVD, which was distributed by the Southeastern Chester County Historical Society. You can borrow the DVD from the Kennett Library or watch the video on YouTube. (Hint: If YouTube tells you the video is "unavailable," try using another device.)
It's really entertaining to watch the people, places, cars, clothes and dogs of the era, although the constant flickering of the film does get a bit irritating after a while. The film starts with a drive down Miller's Hill (very recognizable) and goes on to show people coming out of schools, churches, and shops; high-school kids playing basketball; the spawn-making process at J. B. Swayne; workers at various gas stations, car dealerships, and offices; borough council, the police chief and the Kennett Fire Co.; Kennett's waterworks; the Anvil Inn; and Longwood Gardens (in a more staid incarnation; I wonder what the visitors would have made of today's "Nightscapes"?). Two of the funnier segments depict some clubwomen wearing their Order of Pocahontas costumes and some Rotary Club members being silly on a golf outing.
At the end there's a very helpful list of the places and people included in the movie.

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