Restored film shows rare color footage of Ann Arbor before World War II
Screen capture taken from video owned by Larry Goetz and restored by Priceless Photo Preservation
The 16-millimeter film — shot by Fostoria, Ohio-based traveling film producer John B. Rogers Co. using technicolor technology in 1939 — shows several structures and businesses that still exist in some form today.
Goetzcraft Printers, now located on Phoenix Drive on Ann Arbor's south side, was founded in 1900 as Athens Press. Athens Press was part of a group of local businesses that commissioned the production as "the result of an unusual effort by the Ann Arbor Jaycees 73 years ago to promote the town to non-locals," Priceless Photo Preservation said in a news release.
The film — split into four parts and posted to YouTube — is a silent feature originally called "We're In the Movies" that tells a tale about a "lovestruck couple" and "the imminent arrival of a movie producer" seeking to cost "the next big Hollywood star."
Herb Goetz, Larry’s grandfather, plays the role of the gallivanting movie producer.
Among the local landmarks visible during the movie are Athens Press on North Main Street, Schlanderer & Sons jewelry store on South Main, Wilkinson Luggage Shop, workers at Fox Tent & Awning, the milk-bottling assembly line at Ann Arbor Dairy and the old train station where the Gandy Dancer does business today.
"The movie features glimpses at all kinds of businesses that will elicit smiles of recognition among Ann Arbor townies," the preservation company said. "Even the simple scenes where characters are walking on sidewalks or crossing Ann Arbor streets provide their share of thrills."
Priceless Photo Preservation, founded last year by Rob Hoffman, Hanna Stelman and Eric Hansen, also recently drew attention after it restored rare footage of a University of Michigan football game in the 1930s.
Here's Part 1 of the film. Notable parts: a poorly plowed Ann Arbor street (6:30); Larry Goetz's grandmother, Ila, helps customers at Goetzcraft Printers (7:11); the former Detroit Edison appliance store on Main Street (8:15); an Ann Arbor street (12:04).
Here's Part 2 of the film. Notable parts: workers at Fox Tent & Awning (0:50); Nagler's Fur shop (4:24); Schlanderer & Sons jewelry shop (5:01); Ann Arbor Dairy milk-bottling line (14:01).
Here's Part 3 of the film. Notable parts: Capitol Market (3:40).
Here's Part 4 of the film. Notable parts: a gasoline station and Bendix Brake Service (10:40); Wilkinson Luggage Shop (13:37).
Here's Part 5 of the film. Notable parts: a downtown theater (2:08); a train arrives at the station where the Gandy Dancer is now located (6:45); a plane (12:00).
What else did you spot?