I thought about featuring films that are associated with Omaha in honor of the upcoming Oscars. Then I came across a 1937 newspaper page about a little movie that was written, produced and filmed here back in 1914. Mrs. C.T. Kountze (formerly May Burns) and J.T. Stewart wrote “One Summer in Omaha” to raise money for the Visiting Nurses Association. All photos are by Louis R. Bostwick.
I have provided some of the original captions in the photos, as they are rather humorous and in the the style used during the 1930s.
I love that fact that the “ears” in the masthead touted that we were the only rotogravure (type of printing) paper and the only wire photo paper in Nebraska!
The story is about a young couple who wish to wed, but their parents object because of an old business feud between the two fathers.
The movie opens with the maid dusting the front porch before a garden party begins. The butler, after peering furtively around, comes out of the house and begins to chase the maid around the porch.
This photo didn’t run in either story I found, but it looks to me like a (poorly acted) argument scene between the heroine and her mother.
This was considered the funniest scene in the movie. The young lovers are traveling through Elmwood Park when they are pulled over for speeding by a motorcycle officer. The car was actually traveling at about 4 mph, so the actor driving the motorcycle had to drag his foot to keep from tipping over. Yet that caption read “Burns is the daredevil driver.”
Every car in the movie was a Pierce-Arrow because one of the actors, Dick Stewart III, was the Pierce-Arrow dealer. Talk about free product-placement ads!
In the movie, Alice’s mother gets hit in the head with a golf ball. The hero’s father, Mr. Davis, comes to the rescue and escorts her to the porch, where a crowd of women are sitting. The mother is supposed to have a concussion, yet all the “extras” on the porch were howling with laughter. Mr. Davis, although he is the “business enemy,” administers to Mrs. Baldridge’s wounds and takes her to the old Clarkson hospital.
I’m not sure that caption entirely makes sense. But the families finally consented for the lovebirds to wed.
The photo above was shot outside the First Baptist Church.
Some interesting facts about the movie:
It was shown at the Boyd Theater and raised $2,300 to benefit local charities.
It was filmed entirely in Omaha and no artificial sets were used.
It was completed in two weeks.
The World-Herald ran a story in 1946 about J.T. Stewart II, who spent eight years looking for the film, only to discover it had been at the Omaha Country Club. The movie had disappeared after it was shown at a dance there. When Stewart called the country club for assistance, the girl on the phone told him it was right there in the office.
I’m sure this movie was not Oscar worthy and it was possibly not very good, I would love, however, to get a chance to see it. And it just goes to show that movies and movie making has always been deeply rooted in our city.