Browsing at an estate sale recently, I happened onto a cardboard box containing a couple of dozen of those little yellow boxes in which Kodak used to mail developed movie film back to the home moviemaker.
Surprised that such seemingly private items would be on public sale, I asked the estate sale official if they were really for sale or left at the home inadvertently. I was assured that “the family” had indeed consciously decided to sell the movies (as well as about a thousand letters the couple had written each other over the 1930s and 1940s, hundreds of family photographs and other personal documents). So assured, I bought the lot.
Veterinary medicine doctor and UCD Avian disease expert Arnold Rosenwald made the movies over the mid-1950s and early 1960s. Rosenwald was himself a figure of some significance in UCD history as an avian disease expert in the extension service who traveled the state dealing with disease outbreaks in chicken flocks. While not a professor, he was nonetheless very much a researcher and scholar who was preeminent in avian sciences. He retired from UCD in 1977, but continued to practice his profession. His active career had spanned more than 70 years when he died at age 98 in 2008. (To boot, In WWII he served as a veterinarian -- with the rank of Captain -- in the U. S. Army carrier pigeon corps.)
Most of the film footage is of the Rosenwald family and friends, but a portion focuses on the Davis streetscape and civic events. Separating the latter from the former, I converted the eleven segments I culled into digital files and uploaded them to my Davis Life and Culture channel on YouTube, here:
The 11 segments are divided into two categories: 1) Davis public places and events (four films) and 2) UCD Picnic Day parade scenes (seven films).
The Four Public Places and Events films.
l. The Rosenwalds lived on Tenth Street in the early and middle 1950s and at one point Arnold filmed his two daughters -- Joan and Joyce -- walking west along 10th in front of their home at 415 10th. The crisp and manicured appearance of that streetscape in 1955 provides an instructive contrast to what one observes there today.
2. The family built a new home at 829 A Street and Arnold filmed the process of construction in 1957-58.
3. The July 4th Kiddie Parade is of course a Davis classic and Arnold was there to film it in 1955.
4. In 1961 or so, the Davis High School seems to have mounted an impressive homecoming parade that moved, in part, in front of Star pharmacy on 2nd Street.
The Seven Picnic Day Films.
Films of early Picnic Day parades are so rare that it never occurred to me that I might at some point have had my fill of watching them. Well, with this exercise in home movies, I at least came close.
5. 1955 Picnic Day parade scenes
6. 1956 Picnic Day parade scenes
7. 1957 Picnic Day parade scenes
8. 1958 Picnic Day parade scenes
9. 1959 Picnic Day parade scenes
10. 1960 Picnic Day parade scenes
11. 1961 Picnic Day parade scenes
Remark.I might note that the years over which Dr. Rosenwald shot home movies correspond well with the years over which his two daughters were “growing up.” Joan gradated from Davis High in 1961 and Joyce in 1962. Among the films, there were none dated after the last of these years (or 1961).