Jim Coblentz, Publicity Stills For My Teenage Movie, 1967 Tacoma, Today's Coolphoto 09/28/2019

Jim Coblentz, 1967 Tacoma,  Today's Coolphoto 09/28/2019 ©2019 Christopher Petrich

Jim Coblentz, 1967 Tacoma, Today's Coolphoto 09/28/2019 ©2019 Christopher Petrich

In high school the newest and hottest thing was the film festival. Film was within reach because cameras and film were cheap and available. Jim was my best friend and he agreed to be the lead (and only) actor. I shot it on an old 8mm Eumig with a spring driven motor and a turret of three lenses. There was no script, and the story line emerged at the editing table, with some additional scenes shot later to fill in some glaring plot gaps.

We decided to rummage around the old military salvage ships on the tide flats for sets. The scene above is about where the current Chinese Reconciliation Park is now in Old Town. The building in back I believe was occupied by Aerojet to build hydrofoils.

Jim was really good in front of the camera. He evoked real emotion and was serious about it. He also put together the sound track, no dialogue, but loads of music edited to fit the cut of the film. He recorded it on a reel to reel tape recorder. The tape stretched of course every time it ran through the recorder and the machine itself was imprecise, so by the time we showed it there were some embarrassing miscues between the running tape and the running film.

It was all done to fill up a summer between Junior and Senior Year.

The film was called “Coming About” and it was about transformation. The story took a young man through war and trauma to emerge into something else. It was all very vague then, a product of active teenage imaginations. The filming itself was uneven, but it actually received a standing ovation for one small scene depicting the transformation itself.

Near my house was one of the many gulches cutting into the steep hills above the bay. The gulches were wild and overgrown then with ferns, young maples and alders, and all forms of forest underbrush. Today many have groomed trails. These gullies served to funnel the many streams and springs to the bay from the hills above it. The scene in the movie that got all the attention was a wild plunge down one of the gulch trails. Jim ran at a full gallop and I followed with the little Eumig running. It was one of the few scenes captured with the right exposure and it showed a kaleidoscope of brush and branches flashing by with the occasional shot of Jim’s head and body smeared across the screen.

The glories of youth.

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