Last year, the Stafford Historical Society premiered the newly digitized silent film "The Movie Queen" that was shot in Stafford in 1934-5. The showing was a success and many people have asked us to show it again - so we are.
The movie is made up of three reels that were shot in town by a traveling group of itinerant filmmakers. One of the reels is The Movie Queen, which shows local residents as the actors portraying the story of a Stafford girl who became a famous actress in Hollywood, returning to town for the first time. Townspeople young and old greet The Movie Queen at the train upon her return. Then she is taken by car to the Town Hall and a parade is held in her honor. The camera follows the Movie Queen as she visits the Borough School and the old Stafford High School (on High Street) and shows all the students coming out to see her. The same thing happens at the Methodist Church and St. Edwards Church, with the parishioners all filing out of the churches, past the camera. At the end of the film she is given the key to the town.
The filmmakers also went around and filmed over 50 local businesses in the downtown and adjacent area. These businesses included car dealerships, bakeries, bars, gas stations and grocery stores. The store owners or proprietors would come out in front of the business along with their employees. It is an amazing snapshot of local businesses in town during this time.
The American Legion Strazza Post had sponsored the films in 1934. Emery Galotto,one of the actors, ended up with a copy of the movies. He donated these to the historical society in the 1990s. Thanks to developing technology, we were able to get these digitized a couple of years ago so the films could be preserved.
The movie will be shown at the Stafford Community Center, 3 Buckley Highway, Stafford Springs on Tuesday, May 8, at 7:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome. There is no admission fee but donations are accepted. There will be a short business meeting preceding the movie. The movie will be for sale at some point although we don't know if we will have any at this showing on May 8th. We will put out notices when the film is available. Please feel free to contact us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or our Facebook page Stafford Historical Society - Stafford, CT.