Only in America…#6

June 26th, 2012


To recap:
In March, 1940 the American Legion of Willimantic, CT staged a benefit featuring the town’s businesses and religious and civic organizations. The local paper ran daily articles leading up to the performances advising the public to what was happening and calling for participants. There was a plot and a leading lady and leading man. These 7 entries are transcriptions of those articles found in my Mother’s scrap book. Sorry, but there was no mention of the paper or journalist. [It seems that “the director, young and fetching Miss Showalter” directed a number of “Movie Queens” throughout NE.]

Curtin Reinhardt is my father. My mother, Miss Ruth Shaw, was the Movie Queen. My parents first kiss is recorded in this film as he rescues the “Movie Queen”.

Elaborate Kidnap Plot Discovered

Action Will Take Place in Business Section Tomorrow

A bit of sleuthing today revealed an elaborate kidnap plot planned to take place here tomorrow afternoon in broad daylight at 1:30 o’clock in the center of the Main Street business section. Little alarm was felt, however, when the plot was discovered for the police department has full details and the so-called criminals are well known and substantial citizens will turn gangsters for the fun of it with the camera filming the last act of “Movie Queen,” the big show to be produced next week in St. Mary’s Hall under the auspices of the American Legion Auxiliary.

Miss Ruth M. Shaw, leading lady of the show, is the purported victim and the plot is staged in the fashion of a real old-time “melodrama” with the bad men swooping down on the unsuspecting citizenry in a high powered car, vintage of other years, with six-shooter guns and masks very much in evidence.

The story is that Ann Baronosky, who plays the part of Marlena Slarbo, a Russian actress in the show, gets jealous of the movie queen, a newcomer to the screen, who tops her in success and hires a gang to kidnap the queen. The latter, Miss Shaw, will be rescued by her leading man, Curtin Reinhardt, Jr. For lack of other conveyance Mr. Reinhardt grabs a bicycle from a bewildered youngster and chases the gangsters. He finally succeeds in catching the gang in their hideout, knocking all out single handed and of course, Mr. Reinhardt, running away with the queen. Mr. Jimmy Clair in the show, will be assisted in the rescue by Mayor Laramee and the local police. The gangsters will be locked safely in jail until they admit that crime doesn’t pay.

Shooting of the film will start around 1:30 o’clock and continue for about one hour. Some of the scenes will be taken on main Street and those wishing to witness it will see gangsters as they ride up and down looking for the queen and be able to track them to their hideout which, believe it or not, is within a stone’s throw of the police station. All of the plot pictures are to be filmed and crowds on the street also. This is the last plot picture to be shot and completes the filming of the 50-minute movie reel. The show is to be given at St. Mary’s Hall on March 28th and 29th for the performances, and a matinee Thursday for children and evening performances both Thursday and Friday evening. A three-act local talent stage show will be presented first.

Next: Installment 7-“Kidnappers Nearly Freeze to Death”