Ste 803, 777 Cardero St., Vancouver 5, B. C, Canada
How many readers of the Iron-Men Album, or their
engine-friend enthusiasts would like to see a movie in a theatre in
which an old steam traction engine played a prominent role?
It would seem to me that this would rate as being a very stupid
question and that the response would be almost unanimous ‘We
all would.’ Since such an opportunity does not occur frequently
this article will be notice to you that in the near future a new
movie by Warner Bros. Studio will be going to the theatres and I
believe the title of this film has finally been decided on and will
be John McCabe.
Here on the Pacific Northwest coast the film first got
considerable publicity under the title The Presbyterian
Church and similar names, then for various reasons and I
believe for the better, since the film does not indicate too much
respect for the church, John McCabe is presently its title.
The story behind the film is a Western mining village at about
the turn of the century, wherein all activities are under the most
primitive and difficult conditions and being remote from all supply
the camp thereby lacks most all progress. However it was not too
remote to be free of the usual gamblers, chief of whom was John
McCabe. His business was seriously handicapped due to lack of
suitable quarters and when he teamed up with the lady of fortune
and his choice there at the time, they decided to build premises
which would adapt to their underworld.
Lumber was the most necessary commodity but the only manner in
which it could be obtained would be to bring in a portable sawmill.
Well, now the suspense is broken and you can prepare to view the
film when it comes to your neighborhood. A Case 80 hp. engine no.
26,616 was brought in from Alberta by the owner of a local sawmill
and these are first shown on the film while entering the village on
the mountain winding trail and passing the church and down thru
main street to the sawmill site. The sawmill was erected there and
a nice roof built over it and considerable logs were sawed into
lumber from time to time, partly to get things in proper adjustment
and partly for demonstrations, or maybe just to keep warm.
The portion of the film which was to concentrate on the sawing
of lumber may, or may not, turn out something disappointing for
various reasons beyond our control or suggestions. Of course the
camera crew had never seen such as this before and hence did not
know what would appeal to crafts such as ours, or what would not.
The picture they were looking at was altogether different from what
we were seeing, and if this portion of the film is contained it may
just show a few feet in which the steam chest cover packing blew
out. If so, you may view lots of steam during that interval and not
enjoy the escape noise.
The film was taken in Cypress Park, West Vancouver, about 1000
feet above highway 99 three miles east of Horseshoe Bay. They
started filming about the middle of October and finished up on Jan.
19th. Starting in nice sunshine, ending up in either constant rain
or snow, and due to the latter we were becoming almost snowbound
toward the completion of the film. During one storm in early
January we received forty-two inches of snow, heavy wet stuff. A
little later we had eight inches of the same in a thirty-five
minute interval. One noon hour while I was at dinner and on
returning to the engine, promptly after eating, it looked as if it
had been abandoned for some time. That sort of scene quickly brings
to memory the good old Arizona country and the thought comes to
mind that somebody made a poor choice this time …. then all we
need is a couple hours sunshine.
It was my good fortune that Warner Bros, called me early in
October when they had encountered trouble with their movie engine,
the Case 80 already referred to, asking me if 1 could come and give
them some assistance. Then when 1 took her up the mountain trail
three times, and it was plenty grim, they asked me to stay with
them. Of course such an opportunity does not happen often and even
with being exposed to all weather, and bad it was, it was a most
enjoyable experience. My one wish is that those of you who see the
picture, enjoy it also and that you could have seen the whole thing
taking place and condensed into the film-duration-interval.
The film does not show the first trail chosen but shows us
entering the village on another, less hazardous route. There were
about two hundred persons on the set. We were served lovely dinners
each day in camp trailers. Camp was sentried around the clock.