Mule Train

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As you might imagine, we here at Home Video Studio are blessed to witness a great deal of historical footage. People bring us their films, videos, audio recordings, photos, etc… and we convert them to a digital form to protect and preserve them against future loss.  And every so often, in between the birthday parties and vacation footage, we sometimes get to be witness to some incredible historical events.

This week, we’ve been transferring some 8mm film for a client. The earliest date on one of the reels was 1942. It turns out that a large portion of the film was taken from the battlefield of the European campaign of WWII. There was one particular section that captured my attention.

It was apparently shot in Italy. The footage was of a caravan of mules carrying supplies along a city street. I had never thought about it before but I’ve since learned that the mule train was a popular mode of transport during the war. The Mule Corp in Italy had the manpower of more than five divisions, and more than 30,000 mules, and was a vital part of the supply chain.

Without the mules, needed supplies, like ammunition, medical kits, food supplies… would not have reached the fighting men who needed them. There were roads or pathways in the mountainous regions of Europe that vehicles simply could not reach. And so the mules were put into service. The need for them was so great, infantry divisions would often commandeer every mule they came across, giving its owner a voucher that he could later redeem from the US Army. Near the end of the war, the Americans were paying up to $250 for each animal. Upon the war’s conclusion, all available mules were distributed to Italians who had fought alongside the US as well as local farmers.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotape, audio recordings, photos, negatives and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

Small World

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The lady pictured above is a customer who just stopped by to say hi during our recent open house. We were chit-chatting about this and that when our lobby monitor started playing one of the award winning movies we put together for another client, “The Lucy Evelyn: From Ship to Store.” Suddenly, she stopped mid-sentence and exclaimed, “OMG! That’s my grand-uncle!”

Turns out she is related to Captain Everett C. Lindsey, the man who commissioned the building of the Lucy Evelyn in 1917. She was a 166 foot, three masted schooner and one of the last of her kind built, as the steam engine was just beginning to take over the commercial nautical world. She was named after Capt. Lindsey’s two daughters.

Sailing from her harbor in Machias Maine, the Lucy Evelyn was primarily used as a cargo vessel, transporting lumber, tobacco, coal and other products to all parts of the world. Using a 5 person crew, she proved difficult to captain, as the only power she had on board was for a small winch that was used to help raise her sails. She was often blown off course or otherwise delayed during her journeys. She was once shelled by the Germans during WWII.

In 1947, she was bought at auction by entrepreneur Nat Ewer for the sum of $1,550.00. Nat had her towed to the shores of New Jersey and beached her in the town of Beach Haven where he had her converted to a high end gift shop. He and his family ran “The Sea Chest” out of the Lucy Evelyn for 22 years before she was lost in a devastating fire in 1972.

The grand-niece of Capt. Lindsey had never seen the ship, having visited the area after the fire. But of course she had heard all the stories. We’re so pleased that she came into our studio and got the opportunity to see a movie where her ancestor had played such a major role.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of memories through the digitalization of film, videotape, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.