of the

I love old movies. And among my favorites are the ones about loggers – er, I mean lumberjacks, and the beau-tiful blonde daughter of the aging camp owner; and the mean foreman and the little boy who gets trapped on the river

by Bill Moore
myth can only come from some great epic like “Timber Queen,” a hotcake opus that showed the high rigger “topping a spar.” Oh, not just one spar did he top, but dozens. Leaving in the minds of the awe struck audience the belief that all trees were topped before
drive; and the happy Chinese cook; and “Old Gramps,” on whose shoulder the beautiful blonde daughter cries.
....And of course the Hemlock Heroes – Wayne Morris, Fred MacMurray, Joel McRea – oh you don’t remem-ber? Come on, name the logging pictures they starred in. They always had such distinguished names – like Tom or Fred, and they always – but always in order – (a) beat up the mean foreman on top of a moving trainload of logs; (b) reached the log jamb in the river in time to rescue the blonde daughter; (c) in the fadeout, gave the blonde daughter a little hug while the Chinese cook giggled and rang the triangle bell at the cookhouse. The end.
....Of course these great logging epics would be full of sub-plots and counter-plots. But not anything that a bright lad of four-and-a-half couldn’t figure out on a rainy day. There would be the weak brother of the beautiful daughter who at first is in cahoots with the mean foreman to take over the camp – but later sees the light. I remember one old logging picture where the “singing logger” was riding his horse back to the bunkhouse after a hard day’s work, singing a song with words to the effect – “I’ve Got A Sliver In My Heart For You.”
....Ah, the Hemlock Heroes! They take their place in movie history as depicting the early forest industry. And like it or not, that is how this industry came to be known to millions of people all over the world. And some-
where tonight one of those epics of the evergreen is still being shown to viewers. We are judged not by what we do – but by what they say we do.
....The way Paramount looked at us in “The Forest Rangers” (1942) was by having the lovely Paulette Goddard and lumbermill owner Susan Hayward fight over the manly charms of Hem-lock Hero Fred MacMurray. This epic had the usual forest fire that finds society gal Paulette rescue her rival Sawdust Susan from the flames. Like all good lady loggers Miss God-dard showed her stuff at the log rolling. Jube Wickheim – where were you? In the cast was bad guy Albert Dekker as Twig Dawson, Lynne Overman as Jammer Jones and five lesser players listed as “Lumberjacks.” Wow, this forest around us is exciting!
....They told it as it was – according to some script writers in Hollywood. Complete with cardboard backdrops of Oregon Pine , model trestles, and stunt men and dynamite charges. An era that spawned many a myth about how people lived and what they felt. A dream world – and our little forest industry was swept up in it. The myths and mistaken identity of this industry persist today in the minds of those millions around the world. You say it doesn’t matter – well OK – but it’s interesting anyway.
....It’s interesting and I say a bit annoying when someone in Toronto or San Francisco or on another con-tinent asks you if the loggers still top the trees before they fall them. This
fallers actually fell them. It’s interesting, but it shows the power of visual media. An image is portrayed and if repeated a few times can become a fact in peoples’ minds. How often have we all fallen prey to propaganda of this sort – that has later proven to be quite different than shown?
....Anyway, back to our action packed adventure.
....Scene: The logging camp in the midst of the tall forest. Sally-Sue, the beautiful but shy daughter of the sick old owner, runs out of her log cabin to go to the aid of “Old Gramps” who’s crawling up the pathway.
....“Dad-nab-it that mean foreman Blackie Bart has kidnapped Suzy-Sue and has taken her and an armload of dynamite to the train trestle. He even broke my crutch.”
....“Oh Gramps – I wish Tom were here – what will we ever do? And poor little Suzy-Sue.”
....Continued next week. You’ll never know unless you come back to the Globe or Maple Leaf Theatre next week and see if Monogram or Republic Pictures will find a way out of this log jamb of a serial. And count on it – they will find a way.
....Edward Arnold would often play the role of the Timber Baron. At his side would be some nasty chap like Barton MacLane, who loved nothing better than roughing up young Hemlock Heroes like William Lundigar, or Lyle Talbot. “Get a bunch of the boys together, Jake (always a mean fore-man’s  name)  and  head up  for  Twin
A8                                                                                                                            British Columbia Lumberman May, 1986

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Bill Moore
(Cont’d from pg. A8)

Pines Logging outfit and – burn down the cookhouse. I’ll show that Honest Jeb Goodly and his crippled daughter that they better pay the installment on the new Loci or get out of the country.”
A friend, Alan King, who has pro-duced some fine Canadian films once told me why really honest movies of our industry weren’t made. He said we simply haven’t enough heritage, we’re too new. And as far as British Columbia logging goes, I suppose it’s true, although one would think that time is running out on that answer. A good attempt to portray our industry, as it really is, was the Paul Newman film, “Sometimes a Great Notion.” I really can’t think of another one. This is strange when you think of the mining industry with such true life films as “How Green Was My Valley.” Or the many excellent films done on farming, as witness “The Grapes of Wrath.” Hollywood – what’s wrong with loggers – er, pardon me – lumber-jacks?
....Pierre Berton, in his excellent book “Hollywood’s Canada” tells of how we Canadians are identified by visitors to our land. When asked “What was your first impression of Canada?” they answered – “Snow covered mountains, or peace and quiet, or red coated Mounties.” The script writers did a fuzzy job on us as a nation. They succeeded equally as well in misrep-resenting the whole forest industry of the west, American and Canadian. They would do their stuff when depicting the sinking of the titanic or the San Francisco earthquake or the lovable Godfather, but we were “God’s country and The Women” (1936).

....So I’m a critic. But I paid my 35 cents at the Orpheum to see the “Valley of the Giants” (1938) with (again) lovely Claire Trevor and another Hemlock Hero, Wayne Morris. Thank you Warner Bros. For the memory – but now I wonder if you’ve got any of those great lumberjacks looking for work today in a little old logging camp. I could sure use a nice guy like old Wayne.

....The forest around us is filled with stories to be, and plots yet undreamed of. Maybe some day one of those new school directors or producers will show it as it really was – or as it really is. Where are you? We’re here!

Keep out of the bight,

Bill Moore

British Columbia Lumberman May, 1986                                                                                                                          A11