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Ray Jelinek Collection, no. 20 - Scenes of Yorktown, TX

Jan Valentine

Silent | 1940

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  •  Getting a shave in the barber shop 
  •  The younger man playing checkers is Albert Turek, a barber in Yorktown 
  •  Working on a car in front of Kleng's Garage 
  •  Older co-ed students at Yorktown Primary School 
  •  The boy in overalls in the middle of the crowd is Don Mueller at 9.5 years old 
  •  The camera-shy teacher is Miss Bertha Gras, who later married Mr. Fritz Adix 
  •  Sunshine Grocery and Station crew 
  •  Father Kaminski outside of Holy Cross Catholic Church 
  •  Constant Baingo leaving Holy Cross Catholic Church 
  •  Mary Baingo, wife of Constant Baingo, leaving Holy Cross church 
  •  Holy Cross Catholic Church, Father Kaminski 
  •  St. Paul Lutheran Church 
  •  The family at lower right (he's wearing a light-colored suit and a lighter hat, she has a puffy-sleeved, light-colored blouse and a wide-brimmed hat, son has hands in pockets) are Walter and Sophie Feller, and son Milton 
  •  Rev. Hankamer, pastor of St. Paul's 
  •  First Presbyterian Church 
  •  Cranking a "flivver" 
  •  Card: "Bath Time;" cow grooming her calf in a pen 
  •  Linotype operator running his machine 
  •  Touching up the paint at the Sinclair station 
  •  Donata's Beauty Shop, exterior 
  •  B. F. Ideus's City Grocery and Feeds 
  •   Strolling north on Gohmert Street. The Boldt house is in the background.  
  •  Sunshine Grocery and Station 
  •  Loma Lamprecht 
  •  Mr. Ernest Nau, owner of Nau Dry Goods.  One of the employees is Hilda Gerbert. 
  •  Lillie Koopmann looking at fabric with son Hilmer and daughter Doris 
  •  M. Riedel and Sons Drug Store.  W. H. Riedel and his mother Hendi " Granny " Riedel in the beginning.  Druggist Wilbert Poetter.  Scenes at the soda fountain.  Unknown soda jerk.  Mr.J. E. Wolf and customers sitting at the fountain.  End shot of W. H. Riedel. 
  •  Gladys and Stella Huebner 
  •  Watch repair 
  •  Dry cleaners 
  •  Garage (Gulf service station?) and Firestone tire dealer 
  •  O. H. Lemke combination Sinclair service station and liquor store 
  •  Selling produce from bushel baskets at Lemke's station 
  •  Residents observe the annular solar eclipse of 7th April 1940, using exposed film and smoked glass.  The family watching the eclipse is Walter and Ida Reifschlager with Helen, Margie, Mazie Reifschlager and Blanche Metz. The filming site is in the Reifschlage's front yard on 2nd St. 
  •  The bicycle that comes back when you whistle (reverse-run film) 
  •  Students and faculty leave Yorktown High School at lunchtime 
  •  Card: "Girl Scouts"; panning shot of the troop 
  •  The first girl on the right on the middle row is Jo Ann Lamprecht; the thrd girl, who coughs, is Patty Turek 
  •  The second girl from the right in the front row is Clydelle Jacob, married name now Schroeder.  She has her head turned to the left as she first comes into view, then turns to face the front. 
  •  Roller Skating. Rachel Senf Stahl in plaid jacket and curly long hair skating with Irma Nell Goelke 
  •  The first girl out of the barrel is Patty Turek 
  •  Evening dance with a live band. Dances include the one-step and schottische, and end with a grand march. 
  •  Woman walking on the left and holding baby is Louise Gerhardt. The baby is William M. Gerhardt, Jr.  Daughter, Doris Gerhardt, is walking on the right.  
  •  Card: "High School Band"; The band marches up and down the street in front of the high school. 
  •  The two-story building in the background is Yorktown Elementary School, which burned down c. 2008 
  •  The girl on the right with the snare drum is Ilsie Schmiedlin (Craig). 
  •  Taylor Riedel being seen off to Texas A&M by Margie Reifschlager. 
  •  This last scene had a storyline -- read an anecdote from the woman in this scene in the tab below! 
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  • About the video
  • An Anecdote From the Film An Anecdote From the Film
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This film, shot in 1940, includes some sixty minutes of remarkable footage of daily life in Yorktown, a small town in south Texas. In a sequence of unique views, the film features town residents of all ages and ethnicities at work, school and play. The last scene in this film had a narrative -- read about it in the anecdote sent in from the woman in the scene in the next tab!

Ms. Margaret Rerfschlager Hooks wrote a letter to TAMI about making this film. As it turns out, the film had a storyline, and her memories reveal that the opening scenes are missing from the film. TAMI initially believed that the young man and woman in the closing scene were a Yorktown couple, but Hooks' story reveals that she and the young man were actors who barely knew each other! Below is her letter, which includes her memory of the film.

. . . As for the original storyline, a young man is frustrated with life in "Small Town Yorktown" and is planning to hitch-hike his way to "Greener Pastures." His girlfriend is alerted with a phone call, and she rushes out to try and change his mind. The Yorktown Story followed and ends with a convinced young man coming back home.

We've really enjoyed seeing the film on the computer as it brings back so many good memories. After graduating from Yorktown High in 1940, I attended Out Lady of the Lake College for one year. My family moved to Victoria, Texas in 1941, and I went to work in a doctor's office as a secretary-stenographer, a job I really loved! Married several years later, raised a family, was widowed twice, but I'm a survivor! The last of six siblings, I celebrated my "90" birthday last February [2013]. 

Finding this film was one of the nicest things that could have happened to me -- as the TV commercial says, it's "Priceless."

The films of the Ray Jelinek Collection were rescued from a flooded trailer on Galveston after Hurricane Ike. They were donated by Jan Valentine and are permanently housed in the archives at the Alfred R. Neumann Library, University of Houston - Clear Lake.