Posted by & filed under Movie Recommendations.

It’s a subject many people don’t feel comfortable talking about openly, but it’s an important one. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and in honor of that here is a list of both documentaries and feature films discussing the various impacts, attitudes, social prevention, harsh reality, and trauma that all revolve around sexual assault. It’s a serious issue, and these films reveal how we can talk about it, understand where the problems may come from, and hopefully prevent and create awareness.


simmons_aishah_2006_no_0 DVD 6788R No! is an insight to the reality and impact of sexual violence on Black women and girls. It discusses the behaviors and mindsets of Black men that reinforce the assaults. No! also strives to send messages of violence prevention advocacy and testimony from survivors defying victimization. No! is more than just a documentary, it’s a movement towards creating awareness, including events, teaching guides, and a website:


maxresdefault DVD 11463 Precious is the story of Claireece ‘Precious’ Jones, an obese, illiterate, black 16 year old girl living in Harlem of 1987. Her parents are both abusive, and her father raped and impregnated her twice. Precious is suspended from school after getting pregnant a second time, and is arranged to go to an alternative school. With this shift, other adults in her life, including her teacher and social worker, help her find a glimmer of hope. Even under the finding that her father has died of AIDS and she is HIV-positive.  

The Line

news_031908_theline DVD 12178 The Line is documentary exploring the complicated and ambivalent ways sexual assault often gets framed and understood in the wider culture. The Line is also attached to a advocacy campaign: The Line Campaign, which is a non-profit organization and movement focusing on ending sexual violence but empowering youth, creating space for dialogue and media to inspire change.  

 The bro code: how contemporary culture creates sexist men

MV5BMjI5MDA5ODMxM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjY3MTExOA@@._V1_SX640_SY720_  DVD 13011 This film revolves around Thomas Keith’s exploration of male culture that conditions boys and men to disrespect women.It looks at a range of contemporary media forms that glamorize womanizing, are violent or demeaning to females in pornography, have comedians who make fun of sexual assault, and other media that focus in myths of American manhood. It uncovers the flaws in virtually every corner of our entertainment culture. These themes repetitively express that sexism and violence against women is not only normal — but cool — for boys and men to control and humiliate women. The Bro Code challenges this concept, particularly focusing on the youth to step up and fight back against the idea that being a real man means being sexist.


Rape in the fields

rapeinthefields_projectpage DVD 14937 Investigates the hidden problem of sexual assault routinely inflicted upon female migrant laborers working in America’s fields and packing plants.


It Was Rape

469956110_960 DVD 16417R Eight women of different backgrounds, ages and ethnicities relate personal stories of surviving sexual assault in their younger years, as well as their struggles toward healing, empowerment, and finally speaking out.        

Additionally, UNT is holding various events throughout the month of April to raise awareness. Check out the following links to get involved and learn more information:

Sexual Assault Awareness Month events at UNT aim to educate, raise awareness

What is Sexual Assault

Post by Special Projects Student Assistant Valarie Gold

Posted by & filed under Board Games, Movie Recommendations, Television Recommendations.

In case you didn’t know yet, all UNT faculty and students can now check out our board games, card games, dice games, etc. outside of the library! We have over 400 different types of games, and a lot of super awesome ones. See our online catalog or come visit us to find out if we’ve got any game you’re dying to play! And if you’re not really sure what’ll peak your interest, we’ve got the perfect list right here that combines games with some of our favorite movies/TV series.

Adventure Time Card Wars

Boardgame 218 It’s a game that doesn’t take itself very seriously, but I mean what can you expect from a game within the world of Adventure Time? The goal of the game is to break through your opponents creatures and attack them directly, and depending on how intense you wanna play, there can be some pretty cool underlying strategy. Each Adventure Time character involved has a deck that represents a different landscape and a different play style.

The Big Bang Theory

big bang Boardgame 349 This is pretty much a variation on Apples to Apples themed around the The Big Band Theory. It’s a pretty fun variation though, with “Bazinga” cards, “Experimental Formula” cards, and plenty of awkward references just like the show. If you like to party with a bunch a people and love the show, this one’s for you.

Lord of the Rings

200_s The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game Boardgame 361 The-Lord-of-the-Rings-The-Card-Game-Components Each of the players takes on the role of one of the hobbits, the object being to destroy the ring before the ring bearer becomes captured by Sauron. It has a very cooperative nature to it, where you have to determine how quickly to complete tasks based on the ultimate goal and how that will affect all players.     lotr   LOTR DBG: Fellowship of the ring Boardgame 281 So with these type of game, one hopes that it’s not just a brand slapped on a few cards and a pieces of cardboard. That’s definitely not LOTR DBG. This game relies on power points, is engaging, and plus you get a bunch of different options to replay with different characters!

Game of Thrones


Boardgame 175 Strategy board game for 3-6 players. Think Risk but hella better. Each player controls a House trying to dominate the land of Westeros. Box says it takes 2-4 hours, but it’s not about slow planning but deception, even politics, and feeling like you’re doing kinda cruel things, like the books!   Besides these awesome games, we’ve also got a bunch more ranging from checkers to DC comic to life size chess to Exploding Kittens (yes… that’s a game). Let’s get our game on! PicsArt_1458744142177   Posted by Student Special Projects Assistant Valarie Gold.

Posted by & filed under Television Recommendations, Video Games.

We’re past midterms (Yay!) and Spring Break is over (Boo!), but spring is here (Yay again!). To celebrate the beginning of spring and the second half of the semester, the Media Library has some game and movie recommendations so you can enjoy being done with midterms as well as enjoy the beginning of spring. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain- Game 664 PS4 The Metal Gear Solid series looks better than it ever has in The Phantom Pain. Dynamic gameplay, memorable characters, and missions that don’t bore. The ability to change your weapons and gadgets allow you more freedom to choose your play style and your approach to every mission. Street Fighter V- Game 690 PS4 One of the world’s most famous fighting games has returned. The graphics are amazing and the characters are very balanced. The fighting does not disappoint and although there are only 16 fighters and the actual story mode doesn’t come out until June, the gameplay doesn’t get dull and online battles are what you play Street Fighter for anyway. The Roosevelts: An Intimate History- DVD 15719 v.1-7 This Ken Burns documentary tells the story of the Roosevelt Family and chronicles the rise of Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who are fifth cousins. The 7 disc series starts with the birth of Theodore and ends with the death of Eleanor, Franklin’s wife. In between, you see how Theodore and Franklin became the presidents we know them as well and also how important family was to both men. You also see just how formidable Eleanor Roosevelt was as First Lady and how she helped Franklin through the Great Depression and World War 2. Post By Student Assistant Supervisor Joshua Chaney

Posted by & filed under Board Games.

Secret Hitler The year is 1919, and post Great War Germany has established a new republic with the Weimar Constitution. The problem? The country is split between two political factions, each attempting to shape this new government in its own image. There are the Liberals, limiting the government’s control over the people. There are the Fascists, seeking to seize control of the government, and control through coercion and fear. Who will win? Who will control the country? In Secret Hitler, by Max Temkin, Mike Boxleiter, Tommy Maranges, and illustrated by Mackenzie Schubert, 5-10 players take the roll of politicians in post war Germany, each trying to manipulate the government to their own benefit, unsure of who their allies really are. In the mix, one player has been given the roll of Hitler. This secret roll game really delves into the political system, encouraging even the liberal party to pass SOME fascist policies to give themselves an upper hand in controlling the outcome of the game. As the game proceeds, players take turns as President attempting to seat a Chancellor. Voting takes place for each nominee. Failure to seat a Chancellor may prevent the opposing team from passing their policies, but it also adds the frustration of the populace. Anger the populace too much, and they may force a policy through the government themselves. Once a Chancellor is seated, legislation is passed, and new powers may unlock for the President. During this time, the Liberal Party is attempting to pass five liberal policies or assassinate Hitler, while the Fascist Party is attempting to pass six fascist policies or to elect Hitler as Chancellor after three fascist policies have already been enacted. In our play through, one fascist player quickly passed some fascist policies, revealing their hand early. As the Liberals worked together to black ball this open fascist, the remainder of the Fascist Party positioned Hitler to be elected. In the end, four fascist policies and three liberal policies passed before Hitler took the Chancellorship and seized the government, leading to a Fascist win. In all, the game is a thrilling example of German politics leading up to WWII, where each player seeks to gather information on each other, build power for their party, and minimize the opposing player’s time in office. We would like to thank the creators for their kind donation of their game to the UNT Media Library. If you would like to play this game, or use it to teach a class, you can find it here at the Media Library.

Posted by & filed under Movie Recommendations.

The break is finally here!

So… now what?


Some people go home, some go on adventures, some just lay in bed and watch movies all day (I mean, that sounds like a great option personally). Whatever your plans are, we’ve got a few spring break related movies at the media library that might help your week be all the better!

  Spring Breakers DVD 15287 Four college friends plot to fund their best spring break ever by burglarizing a fast-food shack. Turns out that can lead to being arrested, hung over, and going on trial in bikinis. The girls get bailed out unexpectedly by Alien, an infamous local dealer who then decides to takes them on the wildest spring-break trip in history. The Exploding Girl DVD 12028 Ivy’s living the good life. She’s in college, heading home for spring break, and has a romance back at school making life seem flawless. As the days go by, though, she finds herself growing distant from her boyfriend and getting closer to her longtime friend Al. The film explores the story of a young girl coming of age and finding a deeper kind of love in New York City. The Hitcher DVD 7245 An ordinary couple hit the road for spring break. Their pleasure trip soon turns into a waking nightmare after encountering a mysterious hitchhiker. Things seem merely tense at first but only get worse when the couple are forced to deal with the man’s accusations and implications of their involvement in his own devious actions. The road becomes a battleground of blood and metal. 2001 Maniacs DVD 6023 Eight people set out for Daytona Beach on spring break. In Georgia, though, the group gets sidetracked by a detour, and ends up being the guests of honor in the town of Pleasant Valley for their annual Guts ‘n Glory Jubilee, complete with an out-of-this-world barbecue. Just… get ready for ridiculous. Crocodile DVD 439 High school sweethearts Brady, Claire and six of their college friends board a houseboat for spring break vacation. Turns out there’s something lurking around and isn’t too happy when suddenly it’s nest is missing an egg. The kid’s weekend of fun-in-the-sun will turn into a weekend of terror. Who’s gonna survive the croc?

And yes, we are open over Spring Break!

We’ll be open March 15th-18th (Tu-Fri) 12-5pm

So come say hi and pick up one of these or many of our other movies, games, and more!


Posted by & filed under Board Games.

Our third in a series of videos on board game design. Ian Stedman of Magic Meeple Games, designer of Magnum Opus, discusses with us what goes into writing rule books for games, the methodology behind it, and what NOT to do. Join us Thursday nights from 6pm-8pm in the Media Library (Chilton Hall Rm. 111) for Pixels & Pieces, the UNT Libraries board game design guild and turn your gaming ideas into a reality.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.



  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 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:

  *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.  

Posted by & filed under Board Games.

Circe Terre   Cinque Terre is a land of lush vegetation, vibrant seaside villages, and panoramic landscapes. Or so any travel guide for the Italian Riviera would tell you. This region, named for the five towns that line the seaside, is also home to a thriving local produce market. The game Cinque Terre by Rio Grande Games focuses on this aspect of the region’s culture. Each player takes the roll of a farmer operating a fruit cart, traveling along the farming roads collecting produce, then back to the villages to sell. Each game involving a varied market and production to drive competition over supply and demand. Our game ran quickly, with very little room for competing for public orders. Our prices were high for most forms of produce, making quick runs for valuable produce more efficient. No clear victor showed until the end when secret produce order cards were flipped. Cinque Terre is a wonderful game for all ages with great replay value for its simplicity. The varying market really drives strategy variation between games, the secret order cards create player variance, while the public order cards press the players into competition. We would like to thank Rio Grande for this great donation, as well as their donation of Spin Monkeys, Renaissance Man, Arctic Scavengers, Cavemen, and Piñata. If you would like to give Cinque Terre a try, or another of Rio Grande’s games, they are available for check out here, at the UNT Media Library.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

In yesterday’s blog post, we learned about the origins of the “Unusual Occupations” film and how its premiere slowly grew to become a county-wide event. In today’s post, we’ll learn about how a group of children made the 37.8 minute ride from Dallas to Denton on a team of Shetland ponies.


“Denton resembled Hollywood and New York  combined and that the entire project was done in the best tradition”

Manny Reiner, Publicity Manager, Paramount – New York

  Paramount Studios publicist Tom McKean of New York worked alongside local businessmen to create anticipation for the world premiere of “Unusual Occupations.” On February 11th, McKean invited Denton County to submit the names of persons with odd occupations in writing or by telephone to the Texas Theater.  The person with the “oddest occupation” would be given a theater pass.Then on February 19th, McKean traveled from New York to Denton to meet with Interstate Theater executives and members of the publicity and entertainment bureau of the Chamber of Commerce. At this meeting, a very strange and fantastic publicity stunt was concocted by the businessmen–local boys and girls would recreate the Pony Express on Shetland ponies to transport the new film from Dallas  to the City of Denton! DRC_1942_03_02-02 The next day, the Denton Record Chronicle reported that a cameraman from Paramount News and photographers from Life magazine would be on hand for the start and finish of the pony express, which would travel in relays from Dallas to Denton. At this stage in the planning, known participants included the Dallas Round-Up Club and the Denton City and County Round-Up Clubs. Denton County residents were “urged to be on horseback to take part in the affair which is being planned to given Denton nation-wide publicity.” As the month progressed, it was rumored that Texas Governor Coke Stevenson, Oklahoma Governor Leon Phillips and even movie star Gene Autrey had been invited. It was announced on February 25th that the first pony rider would leave the Paramount Film Exchange on South Harwood Street in Dallas and ride to City Hall where he would pick up greetings from Mayor Lee Preston and a check from Dallas Times-Herald amusements editor to the Record Chronicle in payment of a bill. Ponies would be changed several times throughout the journey and the transfer of pony and rider “will be made in true pony express style, with the old and new rider riding side by side and switching the saddle bag.”  The ponies would receive an official escort from city police and the state highway patrol. Residents could gather at the Interstate Theatres to hear announcements from the police escorts via loud speaker. It appears that there may have been another contest to determine who would ride in the Pony Express and the February 26th Record Chronicle listed the contestants as “Betty Jean Abbey (Route 1, Denton)” whose specialty was riding bareback, Mac Foster (611 Crawford St.), Bobby Castleberry (214 Highland Ave.), Curtis Erwin (North Locus St.) and Billy Kirkendall (Cumberland Presbyterian Home). Pony-less children were encouraged to bring stick horses to the event for prizes awarded by Paramount News and Life Magazine photographers. Real ponies would be on hand for free rides in front of the Texas Theatre. The two colleges in Denton became involved with the extravaganza as well. The Denton Lass-o announced on February 17th that five students from the Texas State College for Women (now TWU)–Ernestine Ashe, Alice Jane Baird, Betty Buchanan, Anna Ruth Ashe, and Lena Marie Adams–would ride with Governor Stevenson in front of “approximately 500 on horseback” to greet the arriving Shetland Pony Express. Not to be outdone, the North Texas State Teachers College (now UNT) announced shortly after on February 26th that their own students had been selected “as part of a mounted ‘guard of beauty’ for Governor Stevenson.” NTSTC students included Jackie Foster (Denton), Sue STubbs (Dallas), Jackie McKay (Madisonville), Jewel Taylor (Coriscana), and Jo Frances Worley. The Texas Theater even arranged for world champion pony rider and roper, 9-year-old Wayne McGill to give a demonstration on the courthouse lawn. The Record Chronicle reported on March 2nd that a “full-blooded descendant of the Choctaw Indian tribe” would also be presented “as an unusual feature of the world premiere…He will furnish entertainment on the lawn of the courthouse while the pony express riders bring the film from Dallas to Denton.” It was reported by the Chronicle that “the Chief” would bring trophies he made to be exhibited on the lawn including hatchets, bows and arrows, and “other hunting utensils.” It was raining on the morning of Wednesday, March 04, 1942, when at 9 a.m. people began gathering on Main Street in Dallas to watch as the long journey of the Shetland Pony Express began. The first rider was Mack Foster of Denton County. Theater executives gathered at the Paramount Film Exchange on South Harwood Street to watch Foster begin his journey. In this journey through Dallas, he was escorted by men and women on horseback, several police cars, a Paramount news crew with a camera mounted onto their station wagon, a Life Magazine photographer, and several free-lance photographers. Foster advanced a couple of blocks to City Hall where the Chief of Police J. M. Welch handed him letters to be delivered to Denton officials.”The route of the new highway out of Dallas” was chosen and Foster and went as far as Commerce Street and Industrial Boulevard before the first exchange was made. Curtis Erwin (on pony Jake) took the saddle bag containing the film and letters and continued along the route. Paramount News Cameraman Jack Whitman traveled by station wagon 50 feet in front of the group in order to get traveling shots. Of the shooting, Paramount and Life cameramen later told the Record Chronicle  that the rain had impacted their ability to shoot certain scenes. Whitman described an incident just outside of Dallas when he noticed a field of Shetland ponies off of the highway and thought it might make good film to have the fielded ponies meet with the galloping pony express riders. “Cars along the way with other photographers paused in interest,” the Chronicle reported, “but it was a bad guess–the fenced-in ponies merely looked up in envy.” Ponies were changed throughout the journey, about every 2 to 3 miles. C. A. Williams and Sheriff Roy Moore drove ahead to supervise the changing of the ponies at designated stations along the highway. In Carrolton, a large crowd gathered in the middle of town for Major J.C. Davis and Betty Jean Abbey–a bareback rider and the only girl in the contest. In Lewisville “a herd of wild horses were driven across the street…so that the Paramount News camera might get shots suggestive of the western days.” Crowds on Main Street watched Mayor M.H. Milliken greet Betty Jean. Emmy Lou Hentley and Hoyt Reed posed for a trick pony shot. Other young riders listed in local reports include Bert Gibbs, Jr., Curtis Erwin, and Tommy and Billy Lucas. At the Texas Theatre, a replica of a pony express relay station was erected as the background for the ceremonies. Denton County residents, including children riding real and stick-horses, crowded into downtown Denton as they waited for the final rider to arrive.The Chronicle observed that “Cowboy boots, jeans, gaily colored shirts, and the 10-gallon Stetsons formed the correct costume for the day.” Texas Governor Stevenson arrived from Dallas in a state police car and visited both colleges briefly before returning downtown. He then lunched with the film’s star, Will Williams, at the Southern Hotel before leaving for an event in Austin. Crowds watched as the 9-year-old trick rider, Wayne McGill, performed on the courthouse lawn.  The Chamber of Commerce and Town and Country Round-Up Club prepared barbecue for riders to be served at the county fair grounds. State Senator R.C. Lanning also came to town for the ceremonies (and to visit his daughter at school at NTSTC). Miss Nan Simpson was named winner of the “Unusual Occupation” contest carried in the Chronicle and was awarded $5 prize and a month’s pass to Theater Row.* It’s unclear what her entry was and why it won. By 1 p.m. that day “a world record was broken as the pony express thundered across the finish line at the Texas Theatre” at 1 p.m. with a total travel time of 2 hours and 37.8 minutes. Because the Texas planned to show Whitman’s Paramount news reel at the world premiere the next day, Whitman was also in a hurry and had to rush back to Dallas to process the film, insert narrative, and return the reel back to Denton before the following afternoon (“Fast Work to Bring Paramount Film of Pony Express Here”). That evening, a party sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce was held for local businessmen of Denton County and out-of-town guests at the Southern Hotel. The city of Denton was already receiving accolades for the event from Paramount studio executives as far away as New York.
“It is a tribute to the civic interests of Denton. The Shetland Pony farm is remarkable and this should bring national recognition to both the farm and to Denton.”

R.J. O’Donnell, Vice President and General Manager, Interstate and Texas Consolidated Theaters

A New Yorker writing for the Record Chronicle perhaps best summed up the event and the spirit it embodied:
“This was Denton, this was friendship, this was a day of days. And to this New Yorker visiting Texas for the first time realized that the song ‘Deep in the Heart of Texas’ is aptly titled, for the heart of Texas is deep and the heart of Texas is open and the heart of Texas is as big as the state”  (“Denton Opens Eyes of Easter Reporter, Here for Movie Event”).

Join us tomorrow for the gala event, the premiere of the film “Unusual Occupations”


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 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:

Posted by & filed under Denton, Hollywood, Local History.

Seventy-four years ago in March 1942 a local theater magnate, a Shetland pony farmer, and Hollywood studio executives turned a 1-minute short film into a county-wide contest built on patriotism, nostalgia, and a love for little ponies. In a series of 3 blog posts, we will learn about this bizarre and amazing event. Today we discuss the origins of the film. Stay tuned in the coming days for more!


“Texas is ranch country, and we felt that no other pony farm was in as fine a setting as Mr. Williams.”

An Unusual Occupation: The Williams Shetland Pony Farm

Will Williams was the son of native Dentonite Alex Williams, the first sheriff of Denton after the Civil War. A prominent citizen and businessman, Williams first became involved in the Shetland Pony business in 1905 when he bought his children several of the small animals, ordered directly from the Shetland Islands.  As his children outgrew the ponies and the animals became valuable as an import, Williams acquired his first stallion and became one of the country’s most active breeders.  Williams sold ponies to people all over the world and many reportedly ended up in the circus, movies, and other entertainment venues.In 1942, the Will Williams pony farm caught they eye of Jerry Fairbanks Studios in Hollywood. From 1937 through 1949, Fairbanks Studios produced a series of theatrical short subjects, “Unusual Occupations,” for Paramount Pictures. Stories in this series featured eccentric, remarkable, and “unusual” people throughout the country who had chosen for themselves exotic jobs and strange hobbies. Potential subjects were nominated for inclusion by local Chambers of Commerce, theater managers, newspapers, magazines, and by the unusual people themselves. Once a story had been selected it was then marked with a pin and slip of paper on a large map of the United States on the research department wall. Action was taken when the clusters of pins “become thick enough to warrant sending one of the mobile photographic units to that particular area to photograph the stories.” It’s unclear who submitted Williams for consideration, but when producer Fairbanks learned of the farm he dispatched cameramen to Denton to shoot the farm. The film shows Williams caring for Shetland ponies on his 640-acre farm in Denton, Texas. His 5-year-old granddaughter, Kay Williams, rides and feeds one of these “little ponies for little people.”  Williams is also seen performing a favorite trick which involved teaching his herd of ponies to stop everything and come running whenever he rang the bell and said “Hey!” Of the film and its production, the Denton Record Chronicle later reported that an “expensive color camera made a movie set out of this pastoral farm” and that “Williams and his granddaughter, Kay Williams, became actors for the day. The ponies were slicked up and gradually grew accustomed to the strange equipment. Denton was in the movies!” The stills below are taken from the film which is available for check-out on DVD at the University of North Texas Media Library (DVD 16659R)
unusualocc-kay ranchcountry


“It Started With a Bang!” Patriotism and Ponies for Little People

On January 29, 1942, the Denton Record Chronicle announced that J.P. Harrison (Interstate Theaters) had secured from Paramount the world premiere of the short subject featuring the Williams Pony Farm for March 5, 1942. The Chronicle reported that the film which “presents in color and natural surroundings the beautiful little ponies on the Williams farm which has become known over the world” was awarded a special preview screening in Denton “through prompt action on the part of J.P. Harrison, manager of Interstate Theatres.” A dizzying whirlwind of publicity immediately followed as new methods of promoting both the film and sponsoring local businesses were developed. Throughout the month of February there were near daily articles, advertisements, and classified advertisements related to the event. Less than two months had passed since the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Denton County residents’ patriotism was reflected in their “Most Popular and Patriotic Boy and Girl” contest. Winners of the contest would be announced at the Texas Theater and would be awarded a Shetland pony. Denton County residents were encouraged by the Chronicle to “Vote today!” and earn voting coupons by shopping at local businesses including the City Drug Store and Tobin Drug Store, the Williams Store, and on Theatre Row. Local boys and girls including Bobby McMakin ,Mack Kenneth Foster,  Quincy Merl Hughes, and Patsy Manson posted classified advertisements soliciting votes. Webber Jan Farris even involved her father. Her advertisement in the Chronicle on February 9th reads, “My dad said he would help me in the ‘Patriotic and Popular Boy and Girl’ Contest in which I am trying to win the pony, and if you have any votes I could have if you will telephone he will come for them, and I would certainly appreciate your help.” As the contest neared its end on February 26th, the 10 highest-ranking boys and girls (of the 339 registered contestants) were named on-stage at the Texas Theatre. The Record Chronicle reported on March 2nd that the contest’s official vote tabulator, Boyd Vaughn, had stayed up late to count the votes and the four highest ranking contestants (of 300 remaining) would be selected and presented on-stage at the Texas on March 3rd .   DRC_1942_02_02-01 By February 6th, a sub-contest had emerged to name the Shetland ponies which would be awarded to the most patriotic boy and girl. The advertisement, which called for names for “Two Beautiful Registered Shetland Ponies” promised two $5 defense saving stamps for the two best names with names of a “patriotic nature preferred.” Eligible names would be reviewed by the Texas Theatre’s unnamed “Pony Contest Manager.”


Tomorrow we’ll learn about Denton County’s even more ambitious plans for the “Unusual Occupations” premiere.

  If you have any additional information about this film or the pony express event, please contact Laura Treat at 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: