Elmer Lapp's horse

One of Elmer Lapp's horses is put on treadmill for National Geographic film crew at Rough & Tumble grounds. (Lancaster New Era photo by Ed Sachs, reprinted with permission of Lancaster New Era.)

Ed Sachs

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Members of the Rough & Tumble Engineers became movie stars as a National Geographic film crew visited the grounds at Kinzers, Pa., the day before the 1977 Reunion.

The crew was there to shoot pictures of all kinds of energy sources and usage. It got an even greater variety than expected. Amos Stauffer, R&T president, had dozens of members on hand and organized to assist the moviemakers, who were headed by Jan Skrentny, of Washington, D.C.

Titus Brubaker Sr., 86, operated his Geiser Peerless 1903 as John Mast operated the saw, cutting shingles from cedar logs. John's dog Nipper, 5 years old and mostly airdale, did a good job showing off the dog treadmill, a device made in Troy, Pa., and dated 1881.

Elmer Lapp was on hand with a full Conestoga wagon team. Bill Handley, of Cambridge, Md., who shows his pair of Texas Longhorns at many reunions and fairs, brought them in with the aid of a helper who gave his name asTexas Longhorn.

The crew got a lot of footage on various kinds of power but no one will see the movie until about September, 1978, when it is to be available for public television and schools.

Skrentny said purpose of the film is show the various stages of energy in history, from the beginning when man furnished his own. The first energy sources were renewable, he explainedman's muscle could be renewed by the 'fuel' he used food; wood could be regained by growing more trees; animal energy could also be renewed.

Next came non-renewable energy, such as coal, for the generation of steam. Now, with the non-renewable fuels including oil facing an uncertain future, emphasis is turning to alternative fuels, such as the sun and the wind.

The crew originally wanted to take pictures at the Smithsonian Institution at Washington, but would have had to shoot them in the museum, Skrentny said. The Smithsonian recommended several places where filming could be done in a more natural setting, and Kinzers was one of them. The Strasburg Rail Road, not far away in Lancaster County, with steam locomotives, was another, and the crew was there a day.

Other portions are to be filmed in Maine, Minnesota, Vermont, Oregon and New Mexico.

'We couldn't ask for better cooperation than Mr. Stauffer and the other Rough & Tumble people gave us,' Skrentny commented between takes. 'We could spend another day here.'

They couldn't imagine all those things going on,' Amos said with a grin. Rough & Tumble gave the crew far more in the number of energy sources and uses than expected. They filming was set for Aug. 16, a day before the 1977 Reunion opened, to enable the R&T members to be on hand and give maximum aid for the filming, without having big crowds of spectators.