Time travel

Ag Fair Movie
Dinner and a show. Old movies of Ag Fairs in the early 1950s were an after-dinner treat. Photo by Susan Safford

By Anna Marie D'Addarie - April 5, 2007

Sandra Fales couldn't have imagined it, but 54 years after she was filmed at the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Society Fair she would become the hit at the society's potluck supper. Ms. Fales was a beautiful young woman so it wasn't surprising that she garnered a large share of screen time in the films from the 1953 and 1954 fairs. George Athearn's films, now converted to DVD, were shown after last Saturday night's supper. Narrator John Alley pointed out Ms. Fales each time she appeared on the screen.

The old films brought lots of good-natured heckling from the crowd. Mr. Alley encouraged the audience participation in identifying people in the film. The DVD format made it easy for projectionist Brian Athearn to pause, rewind, and replay when someone would shout, "Go back. Wasn't that old so-and-so?" The rewind feature came in handy when 11-year-old Mr. Alley made a good play at first base in a baseball game between Oak Bluffs and Chilmark in 1951. We watched it three times.

It was like watching home movies with an extended family of hundreds. What a fun way to end a delicious evening.