Here at Jellico Library on July 29th, the phones rang incessantly after Peter Sawyer's column in the Press about the recently found 16mm film of "Jellico, Rebirth of a Community." See Old film may contain footage about Jellico's past, 7-28-2011, Volume 100, Number 30. Shortly thereafter, due to some new leads, we were able to locate and borrow an equally ancient 16mm projector.
A few intrepid souls gathered in the Conference Room across the hall from Jellico Library, not really knowing what to expect as the old film clickety-clacked through the aged machine and was fed onto the back spool after decades of storage. What would be on it? Would it play? Who would be the figures from the past seen again on film? What time frame would it encompass? What long-gone structures would we see again? Mercy! Would the film just disentigrate? It was a nail-biting few moments for sure.
We dimmed the lights, crossed our fingers and flicked on the projector bulb. There were a few adjustments to be made in volume, focus, and film speed. Heck! We didn't even have a screen. We just focused on the white painted concrete blocks and hoped for the best. Soon, the veil of time was lifted and images from a long gone era began to move in front of our eyes. Sure enough, faces and places from the Jellico of the sixties and seventies came to light once again, if only for a few moments.
The film deals with the economic plight Jellico found itself in at that time. The once prolific coal mines had played out and Jellico either had to re-invent itself or roll up the sidewalks. The film takes one from the depths of despair in a down-and-out community to its rebirth with new infrastructure and programs.
Jellico Library will be the safekeeper of this important vintage footage. We are looking into some conversion methods to preserve this important historical footage. The old film is somewhat brittle and susceptible to damage. We hope to have some viewings of Jellico, Rebirth of a Community sometime in the near future when we can get the footage on a more modern venue. Stay tuned for details at a later date...........