February 1, 2019 – “IndyCars, Fostoria Floodings, Valpo Crusaders, and Controversial Floats”

Hello, everyone!

As I continue to review the Home Video Collection, I appreciate the common human experiences that seem to resonate through the ages: child-rearing, graduations, weddings, and birthday. Within these treasured common experience also have bits of events that can be examined historically, like the World’s Fair for example. The films reviewed today contained both of these aspects.

My shift began as I reviewed the last video file of the Nancy Richter films. Like previous entries, the majority of the films’ content revolved around the couple’s children and occasionally their cousins. The few non-family related footages had a great insight into the events happening in the region. Among these included preparations for an American open-wheel car racing event (known now as IndyCar racing). The footage had to been taken in the 1930s as the US Government banned all auto racing during the Second World War due to rationing (sound familiar?) and the first race after the war did not happen until 1946.

The other event captured on film was the aftermath of a flood that occurred in Fostoria, Ohio. Not sure why the family visited Fostoria, but the scenes captured told a story. While the water depth only came up to people’s ankle’s at this point, the range stretched all the way past the roads leading into town! In downtown, it seemed most people were already trying to put their lives back together. The most unforgettable moment captured on film occurred when a train continued through water that submerged the rails!

The last bit of Nancy Richter’s films transitioned from black and white to technicolor footage. The family, now with each member slightly older, took trips to the beach in their Chevrolet Stylemaster (the car was produced from 1946 through 1948, so the footage had to be taken in or after that date range), visited a lighthouse, and enjoyed company at their home. After watching the last five films in black and white footage, I found the last Technicolor footage both jarring and significant as an example of changing eras.

Once I finished, I returned to the films of a different Richter. While I am uncertain if Barron Richter is related at all to Nancy, he provided some unique films of his own. Unfortunately, the repair information that I relied on for the Rowe films did not yield descriptive information for me. Instead, my predecessors managed to keep the old labels in a makeshift envelope and I used those to organize the document’s description of the films. Certainly, a fortuitous find for me.

The first film reviewed of Barron Richter’s contributions dealt with an event called Walther League Day in 1965. For context, Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther, the first President of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, founded the Walther League in 1893 at Buffalo, New York. Mr. Richter or whomever the videographer was attended Valparaiso University (known as Valpo), a regionally accredited private Lutheran university located in Valparaiso, Indiana. The Valpo Crusaders football hosted a football game that day.

Strangely, the rest of the footage regressed chronologically. The next event captured was a parade in Michigan City, Indiana in 1964 and featured some interesting floats. Among the floats included the number 1 car of the Meister Brauser Scarab racing team (truly, a beautiful car) with trophies. The most shocking float was one sponsored by the LaPorte Chapter of the John Birch Society. While I have heard of the John Birch Society, I have never seen anything from them before.

The rest of the film contained graduation preparations and after party from 1963, a birthday party from 1962, and a Christmas party from 1962. A lot of people came to those events! While I remain uncertain, I may have seen some familiar faces from Nancy Richter’s films. However, some of the antics of Mr. Richter’s roommates and friends annoyed me. Apparently, no one told some of them the concept of “less is more” or, in other words, oversaturating a joke no longer makes it funny (one clown kept flexing his muscles almost everytime the camera was on him. What a ham!).

Eventually, my shift came to end and I followed my current routine. I packed the Home Movie Collection hard drive and returned all materials related to the collection to the stacks. Afterward, I bid farewell to the staff and my colleagues and left for the day.

In review, I finished one set of films and moved on to the next. Next week, the plan is to continue through this batch of films. Until then, enjoy the weekend and stay safe! Bye!

Author: 57r3l574d

I am currently a Graduate Student at the University of Central Florida and simultaneously employed by the university library's Special Collections and University Archives as a Other Personnel Service (OPS) Student. Expected to graduate in 2019 with a History MA - Public History Track.

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