In some ways I've always been a dreamer. I've dreamed of far away places. In the third grade I dreamed that I would marry my teacher and was sorely disappointed when she upped and married someone else nearer her age. I had dreams at one point of becoming a forest ranger or a geologist. I guess the dreams go on as I sometimes have vivid dreams at night even now. Could it be pills I take?
The other day I looked back at my Class of 1945 graduation yearbook and found that my hope for the future was in motion picture work. Not as a performer - I was too introverted for that, thus there was no specific goal. But I do remember that I was enthralled with the possibility of working at Radio City Music Hall in New York - as a projectionist.
In my sophomore year of high school I landed an unpaying job as a rewind boy in the post theater at West Point, New York. I had done a bit of projection work in school using 16mm Bell and Howell classroom projectors. But when I went into the projection room at the post theater I could not believe the size of the Super Simplex E-7 machines they used. They answered a question I had carried for years - 'How did the Wizard of Oz movie change from sepia tone to color when Dorothy landed in Oz?' Simply a reel change from one projector to another. I hadn't realized it took two projectors to run a continuous movie. In time the assigned sergeants who ran the movies began to teach me how to operate the machines - how to thread the film - how to make 'changeovers' from projector to projector - how to maintain a brilliant arc light - how to cue up reels for smooth changeovers.
Eventually we moved back home and, while in high school, I filled in for the normal projectionist who was off fighting a war. These projectors were a smaller version of the big E-7's but they worked the same way and for the better part of two years I enjoyed filling the big screen with some of the best movies of the mid-forties. I loved the job and the money was good for that time in history - 75 cents an hour. But eventually all things come to end and when 'Diddy" came back from the war, he got his old job back and I was on the streets hunting new work. But I had been so deep into theater work when I graduated it was my dream to project movies for the rest of my life - hopefully ending up in the theater of all theaters, Radio City Music Hall (see picture above).
Well, it never happened - I did, however work a couple of weeks for RKO Radio Pictures in their Albany film exchange. It was extremely hard work and I was just a little feller, and was not eager to throw heavy cans of film around every day. So, I ended up going in different directions.
But, you know, what goes around comes around. Thus in later years I got deeply involved in home video. Eventually I even produced video programs for cable TV systems and a number of promotional travel videos for a Christian travel company I worked for. I loved motion picture and video work, and still enjoy making and editing movies. Nothing worth Radio City Hall, yet fulfilling a graduation prophecy of motion picture work. I guess some dreams do come true. And that is good.