Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jerry Rees' Home Movies of Ward Kimball

Back in the day, Rebecca and I were delighted to receive an invitation to attend a gathering at Ward Kimball's house.  Kelly Kimball was there of course.  Brian McEntee and Chuck Richardson were there.  Ward and his crew fired up full size steam engines and gave visitors rides back and forth across his property.  What a blast!  And what a shock it must have been for people passing on the neighborhood street, seeing steam engines racing toward the fence, then slowing at the last moment and edging up to the bumpers at the end of the tracks.  Most of the day was spent chatting, eating and riding the trains.  But Ward saw several of us peeking at the building where he kept his vast collection of miniature trains.  He let us in and asked "you want somethin' to run?"

He fired up several trains at once and got everything chugging.  You could tell he was having a blast!  Boy did his eyes twinkle...

Later that day he wanted to see the tapes I'd been recording.  He said he liked the footage better than the stuff a news crew had staged and shot earlier.  He found it more candid and fun.

That VHS tape has been sitting on a shelf for a whole lot of years.  After intending to digitize it for a long, long time, I finally gave it a shot.  Some of it is still in decent shape.  But there are segments lost to tape degeneration.  I could kick myself for not doing it sooner!  But over the next few weeks I plan to go back and salvage as many scenes as possible - both the big trains, and the miniatures - and post it all on my site.

The piece I shared today was just the first test (before the digitizer broke!).  I've ordered a new one and will be back at it in a few days.

Hope it made you smile!