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Camp Emerald Bay

1936
Full Color   Silent    Run time: 13:51 minutes
Photography: George Bergstrom


          This 1936 video is the earliest known film record of Camp Emerald Bay. Photographer George Bergstrom served as Emerald Bay Camp Director in the late 1920s early 1930's. Around this time he was hired by the San Fernando Valley Council as their Scout Executive. His film documents the San Fernando Valley summer camp contingent to Emerald Bay on Catalina Island.  Unfortunately, some of the original film color has degraded over the years and today we can only imagine the clear blue waters of Emerald Bay.
          The film moves through a day of summer camp. It starts with a serene morning sunrise over calm waters as seen from the waterfront. The camp bugler blows reveille while the American flag is raised. Scouts start off their morning with a dip in the ocean and then enter the old green mess hall for breakfast. After breakfast, scouts explore the rocky shoreline south of camp and then are seen hiking to the top of a ridge line. Next are scenes of aquatic activities in the bay including row boating, canoeing and paddle boarding.
          Afternoon activities included basket weaving in the handicraft area and playing baseball on the parade ground. Of course there was more swimming life saving and artificial respiration instruction on "A" dock when it was still the only dock at the camp. After cleaning up, scouts in full uniform march through the only campsite, consisting of cabin and tents, towards the parade ground where they assemble for the flag lowering.
          When their summer camp is over, the scouts pack their duffel bags and move them down "A" dock, much the same way it is done today, to load onto the Betty-O. Filled with waving campers, the Betty-O shoves off and disappears behind Doctor's Point on it's boat ride back to Los Angeles.
 


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Camp Emerald Bay
1939
Full Color   Silent    Run time: 16:41 minutes
Photography: Thought to be George Bergstrom

 
          The 1939 Emerald Bay film has beautiful color and includes remarkable footage of a staff member swimming through kelp beds and deep blue waters. The video begins with loading up the Betty-O, possibly out of San Pedro, for its trip to camp. The boat is seen pulling up to "A" dock where campers unload and assemble on the waterfront under the Grand Eucalyptus tree just as they do today.
          Next, scouts in trunks line up at the Doctor's cabin for their physical, clearing them for activities. Swimming instruction led by Mart Bushnell is next. This footage is the only known film documentation of Mart Bushnell at Emerald Bay. Included at the end of the swimming is life saving and more artificial respiration on "A" dock, this time with the new "B" dock in the background. Flag lowering is then followed by a very unusual segment showing the burning of an American flag in the middle of the parade ground. Why the flag was burned remains a mystery.
          Additional footage shows religious services at the outdoor chapel on the waterfront followed by Scout Executive, "Uncle Bob" Hill, speaking to campers under the Eucalyptus tree. Next is film of the "Fantasticade", a water sports carnival that included hand paddling skiffs and jousting in in war canoes. There's more handicraft stuff and once again scouts march out of the campsite to assemble on the parade ground for dinner. There's a great shot of the old green dinning hall sporting a new sign that wasn't there in 1936. It's amazing how small the bungalow is compared to today's dinning hall.



Viewing Tips:  Begin-click the arrow in the center or lower left. Pause-click the two bars in the lower left.
Blow Up Full Screen: Click four arrows in lower right corner. Return to small screen: tap ESCAPE key in upper left of your key board.



 
Camp Emerald Bay - Part 1
1951
Full Color   Silent    With Captions   Run time: 19:38 minutes
Photography: Thought to be George Bergstrom


          The 1951 Camp Emerald Bay film is patterned after earlier films from the 1930's. The film opens with a pan of the docks and camp as seen from arriving boats. Then, scouts aboard the Manta pull in to "A" dock and unload up the ramp and under the red canoe gateway into camp. Scouts are shown lining up at the Health Lodge for the obligatory look in their ears from the Camp Doctor. Next, unit leaders meet with staff, led by Bill Kinney, in the campfire circle to go over program for the camping session.
          Two religious services are documented, first a catholic service at the camp's "St. Clements Catholic Chapel" located in the north waterfront. Then, another (possible non-denominational) service is held underneath the huge eucalyptus tree. The "Water Carnival" is filmed showing different events including two-man rowing; oarless rowing with five scouts in each skiff; swimming relays and life saving skills. There's a great scene of "Pop" Pudney instructing scouts out in front of the handicraft lodge with Indian bonnets in the background.
          Next, scouts take off from the back of camp for a hike to Parson's Beach. Once there, they quickly get to roasting hot dogs on an open fire on the beach. A sequence called "Adventure Trail" shows scout competition in archery, tent pitching, rope throwing, knot tying, and shooting at the rifle range where staff man Loren Tarvin exams and scores targets for the scouts. A war canoe expedition sets off from "A" dock, clearly documenting the days before packs and supplies could be secured in large plastic bags (better not take on water or capsize the canoes in those days!).
          Part 1 ends with the usual waterfront activities: three-man canoes; canoe pumping (propelling a canoe without paddles by standing and pumping up and down on the back of the canoe) and paddle boarding. Scouts then line up and pile into the dinning hall for dinner as their hands are inspected by staff wearing Order of the Arrow sashes.



Viewing Tips:  Begin-click the arrow in the center or lower left. Pause-click the two bars in the lower left.
Blow Up Full Screen: Click four arrows in lower right corner. Return to small screen: tap ESCAPE key in upper left of your key board.




 
Camp Emerald Bay - Part 2
1951
(includes Order of the Arrow Ceremony)


Full Color   Silent    With Captions   Run time: 3:28 minutes
Photography: Thought to be George Bergstrom


          The second part of the 1951 Camp Emerald Bay film documents a Tamet Lodge, Pimu Chapter, Order of the Arrow tap-out
ceremony on the waterfront of camp. This film sequence captures many aspects of the dramatic ceremony,  although it takes place in daylight, presumably for the benefit of the photographer, George Bergstrom who would not have had the necessary equipment to shoot night-time film sequences. The Indian Chief is thought to be Bill Douglas, highest ranking Arrowman at Camp in 1951.

jump to  >  detailed version of the 1951 Emerald Bay Tamet Lodge tap-out ceremony

           Next, the flag lowering ceremony highlights staff member Bob Hawkins. Close ups of scout shirts proudly sporting newly earned "Good Camper" patches are shown before the film closes with a pan of the Camp Staff (very modest in numbers compared to today). Some of the staff men identified include: top row: Bill Douglas; Gordon Watson; and "Pop" Pudney. Bottom row: Selwyn Douglas, Loren Tarvin and Dick Rice.



Viewing Tips:  Begin-click the arrow in the center or lower left. Pause-click the two bars in the lower left.
Blow Up Full Screen: Click four arrows in lower right corner. Return to small screen: tap ESCAPE key in upper left of your key board.



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