First released in 1960, Adirondack Holiday showed Essex County as a four-season vacation paradise. Now, almost sixty years later, the half-hour short has been restored to all its original color splendor. Its premiere screening will take place during this year’s Lake Placid Film Festival, October 26th to 28th.
When the Essex County Chamber of Commerce decided to advertise the County’s qualities to a wider audience in 1960, members turned to local talents Ken and Shirley Richter. The Richters were famous for their travelogues and lectures, filmed across the world.
Within the industry, Richter was known for his obsessive efforts to improve cinematography. His lenses, mounts, and cameras were highly sought after by professionals. He won a Technical Oscar for his Reflex Autocollimator, a device for checking the accuracy of lenses, in 1984.
In its contract with the Richters, the Chamber of Commerce asked them to include material from as many Essex towns and villages as possible. Viewers will be able to spot familiar favorites like the Whiteface Veterans’ Memorial Highway, the annual Essex County Fair, an ice show at the Lake Placid Convention Center. But the Richters also captured long-departed attractions like the Land of Makebelieve and Frontier Town.
The restoration of Adirondack Holiday was funded in part by the National Film Preservation Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to identifying and restoring movies in danger of disappearing. The Foundation notes that approximately half of all movies made before 1950 are lost forever. Adirondack Holiday is considered especially at risk because it is an “orphan” film, without a studio or distributor responsible for its storage.
This is the first film rescued by the Adirondack Archive, a new group formed to seek out and save Adirondack-related moving images, photographs, and ephemera. These range from home movies photographed in Schroon Lake in the 1950s to 35mm nitrate footage of Lake Placid shot for use in an unfinished feature film from the 1920s. There are thousands of feet of additional Ken Richter films waiting to be restored.
The Archive will make copies of Adirondack Holiday available to theaters, schools, and libraries. Personal DVDs may be purchased at screenings. A 16mm copy is being stored at the New York State Archives in Albany.
For a full Lake Placid Film Festival schedule click here.