Discovering History

9 years 10 months 2 days ago Thursday, October 18 2007 Oct 18, 2007 Thursday, October 18, 2007 6:50:35 AM CDT October 18, 2007 in News

The Director of the Winston Churchill Memorial gets a shock of a lifetime with some video never seen by anyone outside of Warrenton.

The Warren County Historical Society has been holding onto more valuable history than they ever knew.

"We had a local movie theater in Warren County that the owner did local news reels. He would go around the town and the county and do news reels," said Gene Cornell of the Warren County Historical Society.

Bill Zimmerman, a state representative from Warrenton in the 1950's, was the owner of the theater and photographer as well. The news reels were his way to attract viewers to his theater.

"Mostly his films were of Marianne Albright's new Packard or Billy Ardehyde's new bicycle," explained Cornell.

On March 5, 1946, the biggest news in the state, perhaps the country made its way to Fulton. Zimmerman didn't miss a beat and was there to cover it. The news was Winston Churchill and Harry Truman's visit.

One of KOMU's videographers, Brad Noblitt, discovered the forgotten footage while transferring the original 16mm film to DVD as a favor for the Warren County Historical Society.

"That video is absolutely fantastic," said Dr. Rob Havers, the Churchill Memorial Executive Director. "It's amazing what comes to light so many years after the event. We've got some film footage of Churchill's day in Missouri, nothing of that quality. The color brings it alive in a way that you can't with black and white photography."

As KOMU played and replayed the one minute, 42 second video, word spread around the museum of the new discovery and the audience got bigger.

 "I have to tell you that this is historically significant," said John Hensley, the Museum Curator. "There are scenes here that we don't have. And it's in color and there's only one other color segment that I know of and its in 8mm, nowhere near this quality."

Rob Crouse, the Westminster Director of College Relations said, "It really gives you a sense of the day. In just a short, minute-42. You get a sense of what it was like to be there and get a sense of the crowd."

"Actual footage of the day is, I'm sure, as you know, has been... there's not a great deal of it," said Havers.

Now, thanks to packrats at the Warren County Historical Society, there is more footage to be shared.

"There's really no other reason to conserve and preserve items except for them to be shared and used," said Cornell.

This video will now be shared and used by those whose life's work revolved around Winston Churchill.

"Now, they have something else to clarify their picture of him," added Cornell.

Havers expresses his happiness with the discovery when he said, "So, we're very excited, it's tremendous to see that. We love to aquire everything we can about Churchill and especially his time in mid-Missouri. Fantastic."

The Warren County Historical Society voted to give a copy of this footage to the Winston Churchill Memorial.

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