Caught In Time Northwoods Wisconsin Memories and Gifts - Hungry Musky - Ootek Productions
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"It could be that the things we find fun and meaningful when
we first experience them as kids at camp turn out to
be a lot of the things that are fun and meaningful about being alive."
- The Summer of a Lifetime - New from Ootek Productions
THE SUMMER OF A LIFETIME
The Summer of a Lifetime traces the history of summer camps from the 1880s to the present. They began in New England but soon spread to Wisconsin. Thesecond YMCA camp in the nation was founded at Phantom Lake, near Mukwonago,in 1896.
After a visit there, we head to northern Wisconsin, which became theepicenter of Midwest camps in the 1920s-30s. The program contrasts YMCA camps like Camp Manito-wish at Boulder Junction and Plymouth's CampAnokijig, with private camps at Lake Nebagamon (Camp Nebagamon) and Sayner (Camp Osoha).
Stories are also told about several adult camps. One, the Tower Hill Pleasure Company, was founded near Spring Green in 1889 by Jenkin Lloyd Jones, a prominent Unitarian minister who often invited his nephew, Frank Lloyd Wright, to participate.
Another, the Wonewoc Spiritualist Camp, founded in 1901, is still active today. The spiritual emphasis at Wonewoc gives rise to a larger discussion of the spiritual quality that exists at many camps. For many it's also the beginning of a life-long love affair with the natural world.
The Summer of a Lifetime is rich with old pictures, brochures and plenty of amazing vintage film footage. These reveal the ways camps have stayed the same over the decades as well as ways they have reflected larger cultural changes of the past 120 years. We see the different ways people come to camp (all boys, all girls, co-ed, adult, family) and visit a weekend outing of the Indian Guides, where fathers and kids go to camp together.
But the primary focus is the old-fashioned
s'more eatin', campfire-song-singin' kids summer camp, a huge
part of Wisconsin life. It could be that the things we find fun
and meaningful when we first experience them as kids at camp
turn out to be a lot of the things that are fun and meaningful
about being alive.
A STATE OF ESCAPE
Beginning in the Wisconsin Dells, this one-hour documentary follows a century-and-a-half of escape from the cities. Large resorts like the ones at Devil's Lake in the latter 1800s were replaced by destinations further north like the Hotel Chequamegon in Ashland, the Big Sand Lake Club near Phelps, and remote fishing camps like Bent's Camp, north of Boulder Junction.We also learn that President Coolidge didn't spend his final months in the White House actually in the White House-he escaped to Wisconsin for the entire summer, mainly to trout fish on the Brule River.
Like Coolidge, we visit cottages on Lake Superior's Madeline Island where a group of Nebraskans have been escaping for over 100 years. We also see the magnificent getaway of Homer Galpin, a Chicago politician during the gangster era and hear about the gangsters who "escaped" to the northwoods in a very literal way.
Ninety-year-old Audrey Voss Dickerson, who's lived her entire life at the family resort near Manitowish Waters, recalls the wild northwoods of the 1920s and the halcyon days of King's Gateway, a Land O' Lakes resort where President Dwight Eisenhower, Bob Hope, Abbott and Costello, Sen. Joseph McCarthy and astronaut Jim Lovell relaxed.
Rare film footage from the early part of the
20th century and photos going back to the 1860s show us what
life was like at Wisconsin resorts over the years. Home movies
shot by Broadway greats Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne show how
this avid fishing couple escaped north in the 1920s, '30s and
'40s. African Americans from Chicago who've been escaping to
their resort at Lake Ivanhoe since the 1920s tell us how much
the open spaces mean to them. Finally, we see how escape from
the cities has come full circle. In sports like sea kayaking
on Lake Superior, snowshoeing and cross country skiing people
seek out the rugged conditions that the first European visitors
to the north were trying to escape from.
Vietnam era workers recall the protestors who marched to the gates of the plant from Madison. Anti-war activist Karl Armstrong remembers the New Year's Eve he and his brother dropped bombs on it in the midst of a snowstorm. Workers reflect on the plant's role in the peaceful years since Vietnam and express the hope that its deadly products will never be needed again. Many comment on possible future uses for the decommissioned plant.
POWDER TO THE PEOPLE tells a compelling story
of social change in our country, as reflected on the home front
during three wars and the 25 years since Vietnam. The show is
narrated by Tom Wopat, a nationally-known actor who grew up near
the plant. Originally broadcast on public television, it is a
co-production of Wisconsin Public Television and the Badger History
Group, an organization dedicated to protecting and interpreting
the history of the site.
THE WORLD'S GREATEST SHOWMEN
Beginning in 1847 with the establishment of Delavan as a circus center by the Mabie Bros, the state was home to nearly one hundred circuses. This history is detailed, along with a history of the early American circus. These lay the groundwork for the creation of The Greatest Show on Earth. Archival photos, colorful posters and lovingly- detailed re-enactments (featuring Bob Uecker as the voice of P.T. Barnum) bring this exciting era to life.
Circus performers from Baraboo's Circus World Museum portray the early Ringlings in an entertaining re-enactment of their first show. A detailed Ringling biography shows how they became the world's greatest showmen of their era, when they simultaneously ran the three largest circuses on earth.
Includes fascinating historic circus film
footage, plus present-day circus performances from Circus World
Museum, the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus and the Kelly
Miller Circus. Scenes of elephants frolicking in the lakes and
farms of Wisconsin are also part of this enchanting look at a
treasured part of America's cultural history. Circus music, including
some played on the original instruments created for the Ringling
circus, brings 180 years of circus history to life.
The visually striking events of the era (mineral discoveries, Black Hawk War battles, badger huts, mining explosions, family ethnic celebrations, religious movements, scruffy bars) are portrayed by the people who live in the lead district today, many of them descendents of the original settlers. Digital special effects heighten the dramatic impact of these scenes.
The story is told "without borders," detailing historical events from Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. It is an excellent introduction to Wisconsin history and was chosen to kick off a year of Sesquicentennial programming on Wisconsin Public Television.
Grey Larsen's score conveys the exhilaration
of the frontier. Traditional Ho Chunk and Mesquaki musicians
express its tragedy. Period artifacts, maps, buildings, paintings
and archival photos authenticate this look at a fascinating period
in U.S. history.
GATHER LIKE THE WATERS
PART ONE looks at ways architect Frank Lloyd Wright, writer August Derleth and artist Frank Utpatel were inspired by the river. A Wiccan high priestess and Christian minister talk about its spiritual aspects. Naturists praise its secluded sand beaches. Naturalist Mike Mossman tells how the early European explorers described this important river route.
Mike leads a river expedition in a large war canoe, stopping to hike scenic bluffs over the river and to look at bottomland forests, woodpeckers and ospreys. We also visit the state's largest population of the threatened paddlefish, one of the world's oldest fish species.
PART TWO features the Ho Chunk Nation's Ghost Eagle effigy mound preserve, sculptor Ellis Nelson, farmer Bill Wanek, wheelchair duck hunter Richard Welch and other interesting river residents. We see the building of the Prairie du Sac dam, visit a 1000-year-old rock art site, and hear a history of paddling on the river.
Mike takes a group on a sandbar camping trip,
stopping to look at the lizards, snakes and turtles of the Wisconsin
Desert, and at lowland prairies, wet mesic forests and bald eagles.
As we learn about the interaction of natural systems, a universal
message becomes evident--conservation of diversity in nature
requires the cooperation of an equally-diverse group of human
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT'S TALIESIN
POWDER ON THE PRAIRIE
Also includes Erhart Remembered, a character
sketch of farmer-turned-historian Erhart Mueller, whose writings
and collection of photos and newspaper clippings formed the basis
for Powder On The Prairie. A thoughtful examination of the role
local historians play in remembering the American rural past.
We learn how their way-of-life was transformed by the influx of non-Indians. The Menominee effort to repeal the termination of their reservation and treaty rights is detailed. Also a segment on their forestry practices, which have received worldwide attention.
We also learn about the Ho Chunk re-organization effort of the 1960s and how gaming is changing their way-of-life. We learn about the different dances at a pow-wow, hear about modern-day spiritual practices and see that a resurgence of interest in traditional ways could ensure their future.
This series was highly praised by the Menominee
and Ho Chunk people and was selected for showing at the 1995
First Nations Film Festival in Chicago.
HO CHUNK STORIES
Videos About Wisconsin
Among the artists were Steve Meisner, Karl
Hartwich, Mark Dombrowski and Marie Kubowski, some of the younger
generation of polka musicians, now truly come of age. They discuss
their music's past and future and offer a rare treat--intimate
"unplugged" solo and duo performances that provide
an up-close view of their artistry.
Folklorists from the Wisconsin Arts Board searched the state for great artists. We watch them create Mexican- American "Day of the Dead" figures, Greek Orthodox icons, Tibetan sand paintings and Norwegian woodcarvings. Also featured are superb craftspeople, making Norwegian hardanger fiddles, carved sturgeon decoys and Oneida corn husk dolls.
Some of the state's best cooks make pasties, chilis rellenos, baklava, gourmet walleye and kringle. And Wisconsin's finest musicians play lots of polkas, naturally, but also Hmong, gospel and Native American music. As we meet a Lake Superior Chippewa flute maker, an African American doll-maker from Milwaukee, a dairy farming family from Clark County and a woman who speared a sturgeon on Lake Winnebago that weighs more than she does, viewers realize that "folklife" is not a boring academic term, but simply "the things people do."
Although shot primarily at the Washington
DC festival and at the subsequent Wisconsin Folklife Festival
in Madison, we also visit the participants at home in many locations
around the state, including a Belgian Kermis festival in Door
County, a deer hunting camp near
WISCONSIN FOLKS includes all the fascinating
ingredients that make Wisconsin one of the most interesting places
to live in the United States. Featured musical acts include Karl
and the Country Dutchmen, Verne and Steve Meisner, Norm Dombrowski
and the Clete Bellin Orchestra.
POLKA FROM CUCA
They all recorded for the legendary Cuca Records label in Sauk City, Wisconsin. This performance/documentary was taped at a Cuca Records Reunion held at Sauk City's Riverview Ballroom. Between 1958 and 1972, Cuca Records recorded the largest, most varied collection of polka in the world.
Also covers the designation of polka as the Official State Dance of Wisconsin and some fine dancers are in evidence dancing to some 15 complete songs and excerpts of others. Interviews with the musicians and commentary by folklorist Jim Leary help explain each style. These make it easy to understand why Wisconsin has more varietys of polka than anywhere in the world.
Includes footage from Monroe Wisconsin's Cheese
Days festival, an example of how the different ethnic variations
of polka are preserved in individual communities. Polka From
Cuca is informative, entertaining proof that polka culture thrives
in Wisconsin as nowhere else!
Community conservation is at the core of the current debate on environmental policy. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt addresses this idea while visiting ecologist Aldo Leopold's legendary "shack" along the Wisconsin River. Leopold's daughter, Nina Leopold Bradley, and his biographer, Curt Meine, tell how his 1948 book, "A Sand County Almanac," provides a context for community conservation.
Leopold's pioneering soil conservation project of the 1930s in Coon Valley, Wisconsin, is compared to current efforts. Biologist Rob Horwich's work with Belizean subsistence farmers to benefit the magnificent black howler monkey has spawned community efforts to help endangered manatees, sea turtles, and crocodiles. In Wisconsin, a plan is underway to return 8,600 acres of land taken by the federal government to local control. The ill-fated Kickapoo River dam project land included Ho Chunk burial sites, so Ho Chunk nation members are part of the governing board.
As we explore the "Wisconsin Rainforest,"
ecologist Eric Epstein helps us understand that human communities
are embedded in a web of inter-connected natural communities.
Russian conservationists also understand this, as villages adjacent
to the communally-owned habitat of the Eurasian crane strive
to environmentally educate urban tourists. Amid the fascinating
wild areas of Belize, Russia and Wisconsin, beautiful footage
of black howler monkeys, bald eagles, endangered wildflowers,
cranes and crocodiles is punctuated by diverse music, incorporating
Irish, reggae, rock, folk and country influences.
A SAUK COUNTY ALMANAC
Through marvelous camera work and gentle contemplative
comments on the great variety of nature's beauty, viewers appreciate
the life cycles of bald eagles and turkey vultures, the ancient
formation of striking geologic features, and the work of local
residents to restore the county's native prairies."
Extremely funny, yet beautiful and heartwarming
story that shows the emotionally-engaged creative side of science.
Also includes Windham Hill music video of cranes in the wild
that can be enjoyed again and again.
for Classroom Use
The following videos are available with study guides and transcripts that are useful for classroom use. Price includes video:
($44.95, plus $2.90 shipping)
Since 1634: In the Wake of Nicolet
($44.95, $2.90 shipping)
Thunder in the Dells
($34.95, $2.90 shipping)
Note: no transcript available with this title)
Living in the Park
($39.95, $2.90 shipping)
Gather Like the Waters
($44.94, $2.90 shipping)
*Ordering and Shipping Info. at bottom
About Ootek Productions
In addition to Wisconsin Public Television, Dave has worked with KQED-San Francisco, the BBC, the National Geographic Channel, Champions of the Wild, Maryland Public Television, Love Productions and Scott-Foresman. Bob Uecker, Kate Mulgrew, Tom Wopat and Susan Stamberg have done narration for him. Actress Blair Brown, musicians Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick), Sky Saxon (The Seeds) and the Shadows of Knight have appeared in his productions, as have polka stars Verne and Steve Meisner, Karl Hartwich, the Goose Island Ramblers and many others.
He has created on-site videos for the International Crane Foundation, Circus World Museum, the Mississippi River Museum, Taliesin, Wollersheim Winery, Carr Valley Cheese and the Apple River Historic Fort. Promotional video clients include Easter Seals, American Players Theatre, the Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial, Save the Rainforest and the Eagle Foundation.
As a journalist, Dave has interviewed Frank Zappa, Barbara Hershey, David Allan Coe, Cheech and Chong, Johnny Paycheck, Maria Muldaur, Wolfman Jack and many other actors and musicians. The name "Ootek" comes from a character in "Never Cry Wolf" by Farley Mowat. Ootek was totally tuned in to nature. Our first productions were all nature shows, but we©ve since branched out into history, culture and music.