This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

This blog is part of my life journey. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me and maybe join in the discussion...

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Monday, April 19, 2021

Powder River ( #AtoZChallenge )

         Publicity photos of show biz friends and acquaintances always adorned one of the walls in the houses in which I grew up.  I would often think about them as I would peruse this home gallery.  One in particular always stood out for me.  It had the caption "Powder River"...


  #AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter P


Powder River

Movie poster from the film, but not the publicity still I grew up with.


          Over the years as professional entertainers, my parents accumulated a sizeable collection of 8 x 10 publicity photos from acts they had worked with or were friends with.  One picture that always fascinated me was that of a man crouched on a saloon bar juggling three clubs. A caption at the bottom of that photo showed that it was a publicity still from the movie company that made the western film Powder River in 1953.  The juggler was Val Setz, an entertainer who had appeared in a few movies and toured extensively in the 1940s and 50s.   I was hoping to include that still in my post, but alas, I couldn't find it.

         Since I wanted to see this film I would regularly look for it on television, but in all these years I have never seen it playing nor have I found it on video or DVD.  It is available online (like just about most things), but so far I haven't tried that route.  Recently I did find the film online and fast forwarded to the juggling parts.  Fun stuff.  But I still want to see the film in it's entirety on a bigger screen than what is connected to my computer.

         Even though I might not have seen the film Powder River, I have crossed the actual  Powder River in Montana and Wyoming many times in my years traveling with a touring show.  I only know this from reading about the river and looking at its location on a map.  I cannot truly recall having noting my crossing of the river at any of those times, but I would have had to cross it considering its geographical location and the places I was traveling in the seventies and eighties.

         When traveling we likely miss many rivers that we cross perhaps because we're not paying attention or they are not well marked.  On the whole though I try to take note of any marked river or waterway that I cross over while driving. A river like Powder River should have particularly caught my attention since I had looked at the photograph so many times.  Maybe I did notice or maybe I didn't--now I don't quite remember.

         Of course it's probably realistic to expect that I wouldn't remember a great many rivers that I crossed or came across in my lifetime.  There are a lot of rivers one would encounter in extensive travels.  However I do remember many and many of those are because I came upon them so many times over the years.

         One standout river for me is the Platte River in Nebraska.  On our tours we played the most notable towns on that river as we made our way westward on Interstate 80. That river stayed with us for days so how could I not have noticed it?

         In Mississippi and Louisiana I've encountered the Pearl River, most notably in the capital city of Jackson where I've stayed a few times and in other points southward toward the place where the river eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexico.  Or there is the Pee Dee River in North and South Carolina, a river with a funny sounding name that gives me a smile if not a snicker.

       Closer to my Tennessee homeplace is the Pigeon River of North Carolina and Tennessee.  Traveling along Interstate 40 between Asheville NC and Knoxville TN one gets some spectacular views of this river.  After its journey through the mountains on the northeastern edge of the Great Smokies, the Pigeon River joins the larger French Broad River which soon after joins the Holston River to form the mighty Tennessee River.

         Perhaps the most majestic "P" river of all is the historic Potomac River which passes though West Virginia, Virginia, District of Columbia, and Maryland before emptying into Chesapeake Bay.  Legend has it that George Washington once threw a silver dollar across the Potomac.  Anyone looking at the river near Washington DC would see that this would be impossible due to the wideness of the river at that point.  If he did throw a dollar across the Potomac it would have been the more narrow portions of the North or South Branches further inland.  That could have been since George Washington made various exploratory expeditions up the river.  More likely though is that he threw an object--probably a rock rather than a coin--across the Rappahannock River of Virginia.

         For those who are interested in learning more about the Potomac River there is a wonderful documentary film sometimes showing on PBS.  The one hour program Potomac By Air: Our Nation's River gives some fascinating accounts of the make-up of the river and the important part it has played in the history of the United States.  The film has some amazing aerial footage as well.  I highly recommend this film for river or history fans.  It's like a vacation you can enjoy from your couch.

  •      Have you seen the film Powder River?  Has there ever been a film that you've longed to see that you have not located yet?   Are any of these "P" rivers that I've mentioned here familiar to you?   







19 comments:

  1. Potomac River is part of US history, and wellknown. But I love the name of the Pearl River ;)

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    1. Frederique, Pearl River makes me wonder if there are oysters to be found somewhere along its way.

      Lee

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  2. If you have an iPad, you can pull up that movie online there and then screen share with your television. We do that all the time with online content.

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    1. Alex, I'm technically challenged. But I'm sure I could find a way.

      Lee

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  3. Such many rivers beggining with the letter"P". all interesting to say the least. Also the fact about the film Powder River. Hope you get to see the film sometime Lee.

    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, I'm always on the lookout for the film. I'm surprised that TCM doesn't show it once in a while.

      Lee

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  4. I've been to Pigeon Forge before and I just googled it - it is on the "little pigeon river."

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    1. Lisa, I've driven along the Little Pigeon many times and eaten at the Old Mill Restaurant sitting by the river in Pigeon Forge. Makes me homesick thinking about it.

      Lee

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  5. I have not seen the movie, but just seeing the name Rory Calhoun makes me smile remembering Mr. Burns in The Simpsons, and hearing in my head saying it! I've heard of the Platte River, in relation to cranes. Sand Hill?

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    1. Lisa, I do recall hearing something about Sand Cranes or Hills or something.

      Lee

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  6. What a fun background story to Powder River. I'm sure your photo is great, but the movie poster is amazing as well. It seems funny to see the film advertised as in technicolor. While I don't travel much, it would make me smile to cross Powder River now.

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    1. Deborah, fun to see those old movie posters. They had some pretty good ones. How can you forget a name like "Powder River"...

      Lee

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  7. We have a Pigeon and a Little Pigeon. Been in the Little one, I believe.

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    1. CW, yes, I noticed those names in Indiana.

      Lee

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  8. Wow! That's a lot of "P" rivers. I hadn't heard of Powder river, but I like the name. Definitely going watch Potomac by Air. Thanks for the tip!

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    1. Diedre, I've watched the "Potomac" documentary twice this year. It's beautiful to look at and I learned a lot from it.

      Lee

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  9. Lee,

    I haven't seen "Powder River". If you have a stream device like AppleTV or Roku an if this movie is on YouTube, then you can watch it on your TV that way. Pigeon and Potomac River I know. Oh yeah, I there a many movies, not about rivers, that I have yet to locate on our streaming service. It's just a matter of time before we'll find them, if we don't forget what they are. :)

    Pepe Le Pew & Penelope Pussycat Looney Tunes A-Z Art Sketch

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    1. Cathy, I try not to watch movies on YouTube as the ones I have watched were not particularly well recorded. Maybe I'll check out Powder River to see what the quality is like.

      Lee

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  10. I’ve been reading some Montana (CJ Box) and Wyoming crime novels lately and was excited to see you mention the Powder River...it was like an old friend ;)

    https://cassmobfamilyhistory.com/

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