Vintage 1950's Revere 8mm Movie Camera

While speaking with my Mother on the telephone this morning the conversation turned to President Kennedy’s 1962 visit to Castle Air Force Base in Atwater California and Mom was curious as to the exact date. (The question probably arose due to recent reports on the anniversary of the President’s assassination and the timeline where only two months after the Castle visit [October 22nd] Kennedy announced to the American public that the Soviet Union had, and were, installing missiles in Cuba.  Dad had accumulated a lot of “alert time” during that period.)
As most of us would expect, the information was easily obtained by simply typing in “President Kennedy Castle AFB”, yet since my Mom absolutely refuses to become involved with computers (that and getting aboard an aircraft are non-winnable conversations – strange since both my Father and Brother were pilot flight instructors in the Air Force.  Of course, in fairness to my Mom, during my Father’s 33 year career in the Air Force she did indeed fly many times – some halfway around the world), I usually obtain the answers to such questions. After a short wait the search revealed Kennedy had addressed the servicemen/women and civilian audience at Castle on August 17, 1962 the day before his dedication of the San Luis Reservoir outside Los Banos California on August 18th.
LINK TO FJK’s speech at Castle AFB: JFKWHA-120-003-AUdctm_pm_15416996
That experience (the Castle AFB visit) produced an infamous story of both thoughtfulness and misfortune to which generations of our family and relatives have laughed and commiserated over for decades.
Initially it had been decided it would have been too difficult for my brother and me to be there but my Mother, having second thoughts about the historical significance and realizing the potential importance to her children, hurriedly changed plans, picked us up and delivered us in time to the air base tarmac where “on alert forces”, family members and other civilians, anxiously awaited the arrival of the President’s aircraft.
Dad was observing the ceremony with other pilots in the flight tower while Mom, “Richie” and I stood on the hot tarmac with my Mom’s high heels slowly sinking into the hot gooey tar. But then, eventually, there he was, the President of the United States. Seems like a dream now when John Fitzgerald Kennedy actually passed only a few feet in front of us as he made his way along the front of the crowd shaking hands and quickly saying hello to the many onlookers. Mom has often commented how handsome the President was with his iconic wavy red hair and sharp brown suit. (Red hair runs in my Mom’s side of the family. -lol)
Though only seven years old at the time I still remember him passing by right in front of us as Mom, carefully holding the movie camera so as not to shake or jitter the view, followed the President’s every movement as he proceeded down the tarmac.
I was looking at that 1950’s vintage Revere 8mm Model 44 movie camera this morning (above photograph) while pondering that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity my Mother made sure we would experience and for that we will always be grateful. Seeing something like that first hand is unforgettable. While on the subject of unforgettable, I then thought about the potential value of such a home movie if there had only been film in the camera! Dad was not too amused with the outcome of the visit’s documentation but reluctantly accepted responsibility for not personally loading the camera himself.
Gosh, I think I may have just discovered why Mom doesn’t care much for “technical stuff such as computers”.
My best to you and yours, Lew
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