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Updated August 25, 2012 | By Bob Fugett

Film Booklet : Life In Your Home Town 1940 : Annotated

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Following is a copy of the companion booklet with heading timecode location cues added for the 1940 film documentary available on DVD from: Ohio Historical Society.

The booklet was originally prepared by William J. Robison and typed (with emendations) by William C. Holton dated December, 1994.

It was retyped for web presentation by Bob Fugett with proof reading help from Mary Endico Fugett, August 31, 2012.


London, Ohio
Hank Spruck, Producer

Page 1


The film "Life In Your Home Town" was produced in February, 1940, by an itinerant cinematic photographer, Hank Spruck, assisted by four grips provided by London High School - William C. Holton, John S. Lilly, Robert S. Postle, and William J. Robison - who were excused from classes for this duty.

(A reliable source has stated that Mr. Spruck left town hurriedly after making a bad decision to ask one of London's comely lasses to pose for him au naturel. Unfortunately for him, Sheriff Gorman "Bill" Clark learned of this and suggested that Mr. Spruck hit the road. Fortunately the filming had been completed.)

The original film was 35 mm and was designed to be shown in movie theaters. Filming was sold to merchants whose places of business were filmed as advertisements. The community filming was done at "no charge", the costs for such having been built in to the costs of the commercial filming.

Following the Sesquicentennial Celebration in 1961, which generated a profit, the Committee decided to produce a 16 mm film of the sesquicentennial and also to have the 1940 film reproduced on 16 mm film. The work was done by the photographic department of The Ohio State University. The films, in turn, have been reproduced on video cassette by The London Public Library. This, then, is the story of "Life In Your Home Town".

Page 2

The Movie

The little girl holding the sign is Gloria Hume, daughter of Wilbur and Virginia Hume, and sister of David Hume. Gloria now lives in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Panoramic View of London  [ 00:00:38 ]

The aerial panoramic view of London was taken from the top of the grain elevator silos of F. J. Wood & Sons on Walnut Street. Note the steeple on St. Patrick Churchthis is how it looked before it was reduced in height.

The Central Building and the High School Building appear in the film as the camera moves from east to west. The water tower and F. J. Wood & Sons elevator on West First Street also can be seen.

Stortz' Market  [ 00:01:40 ]

This grocery store was located on West Second Street where the municipal parking lot is now located. The butcher is Jacob Benhaus; note the size of the cut of meat and the amount of fat it contains. The second person in the white coat is Fred Stortz, who operated grocery stores in London for many years. The clerk is Walter Garrett, who joined with Jacob Benhaus later to operate Benhaus & Garrett Food Market, located at 116 South Main Street.

During this period it was common practice for stores to burn trash in the rear. It was not uncommon for Stortz Market to pluck chickens and burn the feathers in the trash. This caused no problem until the State Theater, down the alley, turned on its ventilating fan and sucked the smoke from the burning feathers into the theater.

Page 3

Beathard Shell Station  [ 00:02:22 ]

The service station, still a Shell station at High and Oak Streets, was operated for many years by Henry Beathard and sons, and always has been a very successful station. The film shows Harold Beathard coming out to wait on a customer.

Wood's Shoe Store  [ 00:02:36 ]

This store, located at Main and Second Streets, closed in 1994 after 54 years of service. The shoe salesman is Harold Flax, and the little girl customer is Mary Ann Drury, daughter of Harold and Ruth Drury. (She married Walter Campbell, a graduate of the United States Military Academy, and now lives in Virginia.)

The attractive blonde is Rebecca Gray, who married Max Allen and now lives in the vicinity of South Solon.

Tanner-Robison Lumber Co.  [ 00:03:11 ]

The lumber yard was located at 134 South Oak Street. At the time of the filming, Tanner-Robison had one of the more modern lumber yard offices in Ohio. The clerk is William J. Robison who is taking the order of Robert Gallagher, a well-known and respected carpenter in London. Seated in the office are Richard H. Robison, former mayor of London, and Caryl A. Holton. The yard man loading the truck is William C. Whitelow. At present, the lumber yard is a public storage facility operated by Kelly Manns.

Page 4

Strine's Drug Store  [ 00:03:35 ]

Strine's was the Rexall store at 15 South Main Street. This building had housed a drug store from before the turn of the century. Darrell F. Strine, the owner, is shown preparing a prescription. The first clerk shown is Toby Creamer who is waiting on Murrary C. Creath. The second clerk is Ray Bookwalter, also a pharmacist.

This building is now used by Starr Trophy & Awards.

Minshall and Fender Restaurant  [ 00:04:14 ]

This restaurant was located at 24 East High street, most recently the location of the China Lantern before its destruction by fire. The elderly lady is Mrs. Robert Minshall, who managed the kitchen. One of the waitresses is Clotine Warnoc McCord. Seated at the round table, site of many major discussions concerning London, are some of the regular patrons, including H. S. McSaveney.

The distinguished-looking diner is Prof. W. H. Rice, Superintendent of London schools for many years. Seated at the round table are the county commissioners, Rodney Plymell, Robert W. Armstrong and Gola Mink.

London Country Club  [ 00:05:36 ]

Men's Night at the Country Club was the occasion for dinners served by Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Stewart, who are shown. Among the diners are Dr. Robert S. Postle, Wilbur H. Hume, G. G. Schlecty, and Earl Robison.

Page 5

London Bowling Alley  [ 00:06:04 ]

The bowling alley was located at 19 East High Street, site of the present McDonald's Restaurant. The bowling alley, which was managed by Max Alcott, was destroyed by fire shortly after this filming. The site became a parking lot. One of the bowlers in the saffron shirt is Herb Bussey.

Fire Department Action  [ 00:06:48 ]

This scene shows the London Fire Department extinguishing a roof fire. The man on the ladder is Joe "Turkey" Carpenter. Identifiable in the mob scene is Billy Gallagher.

The fire apparatus is the 1931 American La France Metropolitan pumper which is still operable and part of London's equipment roster. The smaller is a 1935 Seagrave pumper owned by Central Townships Fire Department. At that time, the two departments operated as one; the city provided the manpower and Central Townships provided the equipment.

The police officer is James Kaveney, Town Marshal. Henry Beathard, a volunteer fireman, is shown in cap and raincoat.

Boy Scout Day in London  [ 00:07:44 ]

The scene is the Council Chambers, located on the second floor of the City Building then located at 11 East Second Street. Seated behind the desk is Mayor E. P. "Ned" Speasmaker. The scouts behind the mayor are Bill Robison, Jack Lilly, and Bill Holton.

Page 6

Honorary mayor for the day was Jack Lilly, who is running the kangaroo court. The defendant in the red sweater is Jack Clark, son of Sheriff Gorman Clark. The jailer is Nelson Curl, Jr. The other helpers are unidentified.

London Welding Shop  [ 00:08:26 ]

The man operating the welding torch is Delmar Mercer, who operated a welding shop at the rear of 19-21 North Madison Road.

Farquhar's Dry Goods Store  [ 00:34:58 ]

The clothing models are Dorothy Clark, Clyone Banger Denyes, Margie Baughn Bell and Rosemary Speasmaker Whitson. These girls appear again modeling hats. The store clerk is Dorothy Stone, later married to Ray Campbell. The gentleman is Mr. L. S. Farquhar, owner of the store at 60 South Main Street in the building occupied by David Jackman's law offices.

Modeling lingerie are the same four girls.

Osie Rose Beauty Shop  [ 00:11:49 ]

Hair styles fashionable in 1940 are demonstrated by Mary Margaret Welsh Stimpfle, Regina Kaveney Sparling, and Marjorie Fowler Kissell, and English teacher at London High School. Beauticians are shown with Osie Rose, who operated the shop at 61 1/2 South Main Street.

Page 7

Father-Son Banquet  [ 00:12:41 ]

The mob scene is the annual Father and Son Banquet held in the basement of the Methodist Church. The Boy Scout speaker is Richard H. Holton, son of Caryl and Celia Holton, younger brother of Bill Holton. Dick became the Under Secretary of Commerce in the Kenney Administration and Dean of the School of Business, University of California at Berkeley. He is also a director of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.

Neil Hotel  [ 00:14:12 ]

The Neil Hotel building still stands on South Main Street between the railroad tracks. Shown are the proprietor, Chaney Neil, and a "guest", John W. Stroupe. Howard Neil is the desk clerk. The "guest" shaving is Richard P. Slagle.

Minshall and Fender Restaurant  [ 00:14:32 ]

The kitchen crew is shown.

London Rotary Club  [ 00:14:40 ]

This club met at the Refreshment Shop, a tea room on west High Street where Ohio Edison is now located. some of the members shown are Chaney Neil, L. S. Farquhar, the Rev. William C. Hickey (Methodist Church), Wilfred T. Dwyer (with pipe), Miles Levering, and Judge Frank Murray.

Page 8

F. J. Wood & Sons  [ 00:15:01 ]

The elevator and feed store is the main office of F. J. Wood & Sons, located at 38 West First Street. The elevator was destroyed by fire several years ago. The balance of the plant has been leased to several tenants including Conrail, the Printing Specialists, Daedalus Design, and Champaign Residential Services. Individuals shown are Benjamin P. Wood, Ralph Matlock, Thomas F. Wood, and Lee Foreman.

Hume & Mabe Store  [ 00:15:53 ]

This store was located at 21 South Main Street, present location of the New Life Fellowship Church. Personnel and customers are Mrs. Jessie Rueb, the store's seamstress; James Marrah at the pressing machine, and Wilbur Hume fitting a hat. (James Marrah was killed during an air raid on the Ploesti Oil Fields during WW II.)  Bob Mabe is shown selling a shirt. Phil Conway is shown trying a trench coat, and Bob Eckstein is being fitted with a suit coat.

Lower Gwynne Farm  [ 00:17:14 ]

The farm scene is the Lower Gwynne Farm, located about ten miles south of London on U.S. Route 56. The farm was owned by Marie Gwynne Crotti, wife of Dr. Andre Crotti, prominent surgeon and pioneer in the treatment of cancer of the thyroid.

Shown leading the prize Belgian horses for which the farm was well known is William Murray, manager of the farm.

Page 9

Street Scene  [ 00:18:26 ]

In this scene, taken on South Main Street and looking north and west, the pedestrians are unidentifiable. However, notice the hamburger stand on the corner of the courthouse square. This was operated Merrill "Peaches" Emmons. Another stand like this was located at Main and Second Streets near Wood's Shoe Store; this was operated by Thomas Golden. Both stands operated only on Saturdays and were busy until 11 p.m. serving the crowds of people in town for Saturday night.

Chooman's Restaurant  [ 00:18:50 ]

John Chooman, who operated the restaurant with his wife Peg, is shown with the cocktail shaker. The restaurant was located on South Main Street; this location is now the parking lot of Citizens Loan & Savings. The restaurant later was owned and operated by Hubert Carty and was called the Palm Grill. The Choomans continued in the restaurant business as successors to Minshall and Fender at 24 East High Street.

Peg Chooman is shown at the cash register.

Dworkin's Department Store  [ 00:19:49 ]

This store was located next to Chooman's on South Main Street. The sales clerk holding the dress is Ruth Potter. Max Dworkin is also in the scene.

Presbyterian Church  [ 00:20:37 ]

This church at Walnut and Second Streets is now used by the Church of Christ. In this scene, the Rev. Ivan Wilkins is shown; Mrs. Wilkins is shown with the choir.

Page 10

St. Patrick Catholic Church  [ 00:21:30 ]

Following a view of parishoners [sic] leaving after Mass, the pastor, the Rev. Father William P. Clark is shown.

St. John's Lutheran Church  [ 00:22:38 ]

Members of this church, still located at Second and Walnut Streets, are shown with their pastor, the Rev. Andrew Schilling. Rev. Schilling raised the congregation from some 23 members to a dynamic church family.

Methodist Church  [ 00:22:57 ]

Leaving services at the Methodist Church (now the First United Methodist Church) at Fourth and North Main Streets are many church members. Some who can be identified are Emory Lukens, Allen Blacker, Rebecca Beach France, and the Rev. William C. Hickey.

London Public Schools  [ 00:23:42 ]

Members of all of the classes, beginning with the first grade, are shown with their teachers. At the time of this filming, the first seven grades were held in the Central Building, which has served as a school building for over 100 years.

Following the grade school classes are those in the high school building, now called the Middle School. These grades commencing with the 8th Grade (Class of 1944) continued through Freshman (1943), Sophomore (9142), Junior (1941) and Senior (1940). Girls in each class are shown first, followed by the boys.

Page 11

[ 00:27:56 ]

Members of the Shop & Industrial Arts class are shown with samples of their work. Murray Cannon is shown next to A. R. Hocking, instructor.

Mary Speasmaker, teacher, is shown with her First Grade class. William Hodge, fireman, is shown tending the coal-fired boiler furnace.

Dorothy Fisher, Home Economics teacher, is shown with members of her classes and some of their projects.

Jacob von Kanel is shown demonstrating combustion to students including Mary Garen Testerman, Jack Holloway, and Ward Putnam.

Kelsey Smith is shown with his typing class.

Charley Woodard is in band uniform holding a banner and Richard Levering is twirling as drum major. Following are the 48 members of the school band resplendent in their uniforms of capes and hats. Milton Parman, band director, is shown last.

Following a performance by the cheerleaders, the varsity basketball team with coach Forrest Hanson is shown. This is followed by the reserve basketball team.

Some of the high school beauties shown are Rebecca Gray Allen, Rosemary Plymell Garrard, Rosemary Speasmaker Whitson, Joan McSaveney Smith, Margie Baughn Bell, Suzanne Robinson Florence, Eileen Kirkwood Taylor, Helen Holland Payne, Carolyn Hickey, Wilma Lacey Webb, Dorothy Clark, Clyone Bangert Denyes, Betty Kaveney Shoaf, June Ann Long Pfarr, and Mary Garen Testerman.

The grips who assisted the photographer were accorded their special moment of glory. They were William J. Robison, Robert S. Postle, William C. Holton, and Jack S. Lilly.

Cameron Green, school custodian, was also accorded solo treatment.

Page 12

St. Patrick Parochial School  [ 00:33:33 ]

Students at St. Patrick School, which stood at Walnut and High Streets where the primary school is now located, are shown in one group.

The End  [ 00:34:03 ]

Bill McGuire is shown waving "Good Bye".


This narration was prepared in December, 1994 by William J. Robison and typed (with emendations) by William C. Holton. Errors and omissions, though regrettable, are understandable because this material was prepared nearly 55 years after the film was made.


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