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Summer of 1941 - Home Movie by Gus Martens

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Uploaded on Apr 27, 2011

By the Summer of 1941, Great Britain had been at war with Germany for nearly two years, France had fallen, Hitler had launched his invasion of the Soviet Union, and relations between the USA and Imperial Japan were rapidly deteriorating. If such worries were on the minds of these middle-class Americans as they posed for my grandfather's home movie camera in College Point, NY, they didn't show it.

The people filmed are as follows:

Jack Case is the very slim fellow in a white shirt who coaxes, unsuccessfully, his wife (name unknown) to sit on a kiddie wagon.

My grandfather Gustave Martens, when he wasn't filming, appears as the heavier man in the white t-shirt with blue collar. My grandmother Margaret wears the rose-pink dress, and my father Warren is the 12 year old boy.

Percy Simpson wears the greenish-blue work duds, his wife Carrie has the purplish dress, and their teenage daughter Jayne is in blue.

Jack Case was Carrie's sister. At one time he courted Margaret; though Gustave ultimately won her hand in marriage, he and Jack remained good friends, as you can see.

Gus and Percy usually dressed formally when posing for home movies, but here Percy is wearing his electrician's outfit from The Consolidated Edison Company where he worked, and Gus is dressed as casually in public as he would allow himself to be. The ladies, by contrast, are dressed in their prettiest summertime dresses because they were, after all, ladies.

The music is from an animated feature film that might had been a box-office success had it not been released the same weekend that Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor!

The actress who squeaks ". . . we're tot'in a darn heavy load" is Mae Questel, the voice of Betty Boop.

The park was known then as College Point Park - today it's Herman A. Macneal Park. Behind them is the East River and the recently constructed Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.

Robert Martens
April 2011

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