The morning edition of the Denton Record Chronicle reported on Thursday March 5th that due to high local demand the world premiere of “Unusual Occupations” would be held at all 3 downtown Denton theaters. It was announced that at 7:30 p.m. that evening, “searchlights will blaze into the skies and local and visiting personalities will broadcast to the crowd by microphone their impressions of the event.” Chronicle reporters boasted that even New York newspapers had carried stories about the unprecedented event taking place when a short subject had to open at 3 theaters in the same city. In fact, reports suggest that all three of Denton’s theaters–The Texas, The Palace, and the Dreamland–were filled for the show.
Prior to the film screening the winners of the “Most Patriotic Boy and Girl” contest were announced on stage at the Texas. Dorothy Hester (sp.) was named most patriotic girl with a win of more than 130,000 votes. Her prize was a Shetland pony named “Victory.” George Watkins won “Liberty” by more than 50,000 votes. The 6 runners up–Bobby McMakin, Jimmie Nolen, Webber Jan Farris, Sue Ann Watkins, Louise Pearson, and Madeline Murphree–were awarded a month’s pass to Theatre Row.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate nearly as much information about the premiere of the film as I was about the Pony Express ride. I have found no follow up articles on how the children (or parents) were adjusting to little “Victory” and “Liberty” nor the reaction to the short subject and News reel that were screened that evening. Likewise, I have been unable to locate a copy of the Paramount news reel.
If you have any additional information about the “Pony Express” event, especially the film screenings and the Paramount news reel, please contact Laura Treat at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 940.369.5293.
If you or a family member were part of the extravaganza and have home movies, photographs, or other memorabilia, please consider bringing them down to UNT for a free community digitization event on Saturday April 30, 2016 from 10 a.m. – 5 p..m.
More details about this event are available with Laura Treat or on the project’s Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/SpotlightNTX
*Numerous other Denton County Residents were awarded consolation prizes of ticket to the Texas Theatre for their contest entries: Mrs. T. W. Griffith, Miss Neida Smith, O.W. Smith, Truman Jones, Roy Allen Stone, Miss Martha Jane Wills, Mrs. W.H. Taylor, Miss Dorothy Hawthorn, Miss Troyce Wicker, W.H. P(?), Glen Savage Jr, Mrs. Clara Trammel, Miss Billy June Huffman, Miss Betty Joyce Graves, Mrs. Lyle Montgomery, Mrs. J.D. Blanks, Mrs. Cecil Castleberry, Miss Betty Weaver, Miss Dillie Haggard, and Homer Shertz (“Winner Named in Ad Contest”).
“Tells How Unusual Occupations Film Subjects Chosen,” Denton Record Chronicle, Wednesday 02/11/1942, page 3.
“Want to List Residents with Odd Occupations,” Denton Record Chronicle, Wednesday 02/11/42, page 8.
“Round About Town,” Denton Record Chronicle, Tuesday afternoon, 02/17/1942, page 1.
“Unusual Stunt to be in Films and Magazine,” Denton Record Chronicle, Friday 02/20/1942, page 5.
“Gala Celebration for Pony Express Delivery of Film,” Denton Record Chronicle, Friday 02/25/42, page 4.
“Interest Grows in Pony Contest As Finale Nears,” Monday 03/2/42, page 3.
“Fast work to bring Paramount film of ‘Pony Express’ Here,”Wednesday 03/04/1942, page 5.
“Eye-Witness Story Gives Hoof-Beat Account of Pony Express Ride From Dallas,” Denton Record Chronicle, Wednesday 03/04/1942, page 5.
“Movie Officials On Hand Give Denton Air of Second Hollywood,” Denton Record Chronicle, Wednesday 03/04/1942, page 5.
“Breath of Pioneer est Blows Over Denton and Leaves in Wake Hundreds of Residents in Gala Attire for Pony Express Event,” Denton Record Chronicle, Wednesday 03/4/42, page 5.
Winner Named in ad Contest, DRC, wed 3/4/42, page 5
“Large crowd for film celebration,” Denton Record Chronicle, Friday 03/6/42, page 4.
“World premiere showing of pony film tonight in three theaters; News Reel to Picture Celebration,” Denton Record Chronicle, Thursday, 03/5/42 page 3.
“Footnotes on ‘Pony Express,” Denton Record Chronicle, Thursday, 03/5/42 page 3.
“Denton Opens Eyes of Eastern Reporter, Here for Movie Event,” Denton Record Chronicle, Thursday, 03/5/42 page 3.