John Bruner Collection
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Collection Identifier(s)
[Groton Movie Queen], 1683
Creator(s)
Margaret Showalter
image
Credit: John Bruner Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Kidnappers in action as part of the Groton, Mass. "Movie Queen" film, 1939.
Credit: Excerpt from John Bruner Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Groton Movie Queen, 1939.
Primary Format and Extent
film (550 ft.) : si., b&w ; 16 mm.
Collection Date Range
1939
Summary
The John Bruner Collection consists of a single 16 mm. film called "Movie Queen," made in Groton, Massachusetts. It was produced as part of a local talent production and consists of shots of the town's businesses and people, followed by a short comedic kidnapping. The short film was shown in association with a three-act play, both featuring local players. The film and the play were directed by Margaret Showalter, who was associated with the Amateur Theatre Guild of Boston.

Biographical/Historical Notes
Groton is on the northern border of Massachusetts and has a population of just under 10,000. The production was sponsored by L.W. Gay, Post 55 American Legion of Groton in 1939. The play and its accompanying film were shown January 26-27, 1939. Kathleen M. Fleming (1916-2004) played the movie queen, John O'Connor played the hero. The production was shown in the Town Hall, which had an auditorium with a stage on the second floor. Leroy E. Johnson, Sr., was a member of the Groton American Legion and received the film after the production. His son, Roy, Jr., appears in the film (age 10), having his bicycle taken by the hero, who rides off to rescue the movie queen.

Margaret Showalter was one of several young women who traveled for the Amateur Theatre Guild of Boston directing live variety shows featuring local talent. In the days preceding the stage show, Guild representatives would make a short film, entitled "Movie Queen," featuring townspeople and local businesses. A promotional campaign urging townspeople to "See Yourself" in the film helped drum up business for the variety show, at which the film would be shown.

John M.R. Bruner, M.D. (1925-2008) and Leroy E. Johnson, Jr., gathered information on the film and its production. A list of businesses and people who appear in the film, and copies of 1939 newspaper stories, are in the collection file.

A script of "Movie Queen" by Lauren K. Woods and associated production documents from the Amateur Theatre Guild may be found in the Marion Angeline Howlett Papers, Harvard Theatre Collection, Harvard University.

See also Movie Queen films in these collections: Movie Queen, Bar Harbor Collection (Bar Harbor, Maine), Bath Historical Society Collection (Bath, Maine), Belfast Historical Society Collection (Belfast, Maine), , Daniel Lapointe Collection (Van Buren, Maine), Lincoln Memorial Library Collection (Lincoln, Maine), Movie Queen, Lubec Collection (Lubec, Maine), Newport Historical Society Collection, (Newport, Maine), Norwood Historical Society Collection (Norwood, Mass.) Sheldon Museum Collection (Middlebury, Vermont).

People and Organizations
Kathleen M. Fleming
Place(s)
Repository
Northeast Historic Film
Availability
The Collection is open for research.
Condition Governing Reproduction and Use
Authorization to reuse and/or reproduce must be obtained from Northeast Historic Film. See http://www.oldfilm.org/research for more information.
Encoded archival description
Items in this collection: 1
Showing 1 - 1 of 1:
1) [Groton Movie Queen] Reel 1
The Groton Massachusetts, Movie Queen film was shot in January, 1939 and shown in the Groton Town Hall January 26-27, 1939 as part of a larger local talent production. Intertitle:" The...more
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