Port Arthur Amateur Cinema Society
May 1929 - Newsreel
During the 1920s, feature-length films in theatres in Ontario were preceded by newsreels highlighting recent national and international events. The premiere of A Race for Ties in May 1929 was no different except that for this first time in the history of Northwestern Ontario, it was accompanied by a 400 foot, 16mm newsreel of local events produced by the Port Arthur Amateur Cinema Society. Along side footage of a Zeppelin leaving Europe and arriving in New York, the newsreel shows the tugboat James Whalen breaking the ice in Port Arthur's Harbor, the opening of the Municipal Golf Links course in Port Arthur on 18 May 1929, footage of the loading of grain and lumber, a local road race, a recent visit by the Governor-General to Port Arthur, and, receiving the most applause, footage of the Allan Cup Champion hockey team "the Bear Cats", the first hockey team in Canadian history to win the Allan Cup three out of four years.
Interestingly, Mitchell reported in 1963 that the newsreel had been stolen; what exists today is an incomplete version that was donated to the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society. Most of the missing contents of the newsreel have been gleaned from the assorted newspaper articles from 1929 and a typed description found in Dorothea Mitchell's personal papers. It also appears that this was not the only time that a member of the Port Arthur Amateur Cinema Society was involved in the production of newsreels. Owing to his involvement with the production of the three Port Arthur Amateur Cinema Society Films, Fred Cooper in 1930 (now a Port Arthur Alderman) was the regional liaison with Fox Film Company for a series of Movietone newsreels for the filming of a "special picture depicting a [big game] hunt, in which the reproduction of sounds of the bush and the call of the moose will be featured."