Camp Oven King Ned Winter with National Seniors' Doug Reis and Ray Smythe.
Camp Oven King Ned Winter with National Seniors' Doug Reis and Ray Smythe.

Audience delighted by old movies at morning tea meeting

NATIONAL Seniors Toowoomba Branch members were treated to some wonderful historic movies at our morning tea meeting on July 2.

Golden Oldies manager Joel Archer became interested in old movies as a child and has built up a wide knowledge of early movie making as well as a large collection of old movies, which he delights in sharing with seniors.

He has travelled all over Australia in search of more examples, with mixed success.

While visiting Surat he met up with the descendants of the founders of the local cinema, who told him about a collection of movies his grandfather had stored in the shed.

Unfortunately the family had thrown them all onto a backyard bonfire only a year before.

However on another visit to an old movie theatre Joel found some cans of film, which included a copy of a 1925 film Seven Sinners, the first feature film written and directed by Lewis Milestone, who later directed the Oscar-winning All Quiet on the Western Front.

Until Joel's discovery, Seven Sinners was presumed lost.

In the late 1940s Warner Bros. destroyed many of its negatives due to nitrate film decomposition. Studio records simply state "Junked 27/12/48".

The copy Joel found is in quite good condition and the film is expected to be re-released on DVD.

Our audience was privileged to see the first Mickey Mouse cartoon made with a soundtrack.

In Steamboat Willie, Mickey is on a steamboat that picks up a load of cargo, including a number of farm animals.

Minnie just misses the boat and Mickey uses a crane to swing her aboard. She drops her sheet music of Turkey in the Straw and a goat eats it.

With help from Mickey, she cranks the goat's tail and it plays the tune. Mickey accompanies on percussion and uses various animals as musical instruments, until Captain Pete comes down and puts a stop to it, setting Mickey to work peeling potatoes.

While enjoying a cuppa we saw a promotional film made in the 1960s to sell Brisbane as a destination for prospective immigrants.

It featured the Town Hall and Storey Bridge as the tallest structures in town and showed off the latest Holden cars, electric trams, girls connecting calls at the telephone exchange and Brisbanites dancing the night away at Cloudlands Ballroom.

Our main feature, Breakfast for Two, starred Barbara Stanwyck as a wealthy Texas heiress out to reform and marry the playboy owner of a near-bankrupt shipping firm, played by Herbert Marshall. With help from butler Butch and a friendly great dane, involving lots of good old slapstick, she eventually achieves her goal.

It was great to revisit such simple, hilarious comedy, free from the bad language and violence so prevalent in modern films.

Mystery trip full of surprises

The July mystery trip was full of surprises. The bus driver got into the spirit of things by circumnavigating several roundabouts and going down some side roads to confuse us but all of a sudden we were at the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport terminal just before the Sydney aircraft was due to land.

We were ushered through security to the Altitude Bar and Cafe for a delightful morning tea.

After watching the Sydney plane land, our bus continued out west to Cecil Plains, where we pulled up outside the Victory Hotel.

A further surprise awaited us inside in the form of octogenarian Ned Winter, of Ned's Corner just south of Cecil Plains.

Ned holds the world record for the biggest meal ever cooked in camp ovens and is the founder of the Australian Camp Oven Festival held every two years at the Millmerran Showgrounds.

Ned entertained us before lunch with yarns about his camp oven cooking exploits, some bush poems and a song or two to his own guitar accompaniment. He even brought a few dampers, warm from the camp oven, for prizes.

We were then treated to a hearty roast dinner plus trifle for dessert before boarding the bus for what we expected to be the trip home.

However a further surprise awaited us as the bus headed off down to Millmerran and then back up the Gore Hwy to Pittsworth, where we pulled up at Pittsworth Confectionery's factory and showroom.

Originally making sugar Easter eggs, Michelle and her team also sell a range of treats including musk, spearmint, peppermint and banana lollies and sticks.

Coming up

On Thursday, August 6, we will hold our annual general meeting at Regents on the Lake at 9.30am, including morning tea. Special guests will be National Seniors Australia chief executive Michael O'Neill and zone chair Hazel Gillies. The cost is $12.

Our bus trip on Thursday, August 20, heads to Gatton for morning tea at the Cultural Centre followed by a visit to the University of Queensland Gatton Campus for a tour and lunch in the campus dining hall.

Departure time is 8am and the cost is $50. For inquiries or bookings, phone June on 4635 9796 or Yvonne on 4638 5252.

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