The movie man’s arrival at the logging camps of GNP’s Spruce Wood Department was eagerly awaited in the 1920’s. As many of the camps had no electricity, the movie man would arrive with two movie machines, cans of film, Victrola and case of records for his Victrola plus a generator. This is described in the museum’s copy of The Northern, July, 1927. From fall of 1926 through May 1927, Stanley Bartlett spent time in camps on the Chesuncook-Chamberlain Railroad and at the Cooper Brook and Ellis Brook Operations. Another movie man, Don Pearson showed films at farm houses, Grindstone, Canada Falls and Seboomook. The route they traveled was known as a circuit. Careful records were kept and showed that from September thru June, 264 shows were presented to 12,996 spectators.
The usual show consisted of a news reel, a two reel comedy and a feature movie. On most evenings, a total of nine reels were shown. The article states that movies titled Shameful Behavior and Sporting Life were well received and “proved to be less shocking than their names would indicate.” Eight different Hoot Gibson cowboy films were shown and enjoyed by all. The Victrola was used to play records for the music that accompanied the film. Remember, the first talking movie, The Jazz Singer, had just come out in October of 1927 and had not yet reached the northern Maine woods.
All the movie shown at the various log camps were provided by GNP’s Social Service Division who also provided daily newspapers to the woodsmen. During December, January and February of that wood’s season, over 400 papers were furnished daily by that department.
Another pastime at the GNP log camps was the making of “crooked knives.” These were fashioned with blades made from used three-cornered saw files. Handles were wood and carved with individualized shapes. These are described in a book by Sylvio Caron. The museum has several on display from the collection of Dana W. Brown. They are unique! Some woodsmen used these Native American inspired knives to make spruce gum boxes. Several of these are also displayed at the museum.
***Now available, copies of Greg Westrich’s guidebook, Hiking in Baxter State Park ($20.00 at the museum). It describes numerous park trails.
*** Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps by Bill Geller is available at the museum. Cost is $30.00. By mail add $5 SH. The new 2019 “Sports for All Ages” themed calendars are available at the museum, Save-a-Lot, Steel Magnolias, Katahdin General Store, Trailside Country Store and Spoiled Hair Salon, $10.00 each (by mail add $4.00 SH).
***Books by local authors, sets of GNP/Bowater drinking glasses & some matted 8” x 10” and 5” x 7” photos for sale. We have SHS and St. Martin’s yearbooks for sale ($10.00 each).
*** A Little Taste of History, recipes from Millinocket pioneer families and their descendants. 200 pages. $15.00 (mail orders $5.00 SH each). At the museum, Memories of Maine Gallery, Steel Magnolias, Katahdin General, Gracie’s Aunt’s Emporium, Trailside Country Store & by mail.
*** Engraved pavers are $100.00 each. Up to 3 lines, 15 letters, symbols, spaces max per line. Contact museum for form or more details.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.