The purpose of this blog is to enlighten, inform, and interest you in attending the Milotte Wildlife Film Festival which will be held on Saturday, October 20th between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm in Bonney Lake’s Justice Center, 9002 Main Street. We’d also like it if you’d join us at Greater Bonney Lake Historical Society (GBLHS). Our next meeting is Monday, 8/20 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Cost for the festival is $0.00 – that’s right it’s absolutely FREE; however, we will gladly accept donations and are diligently looking for sponsors to help us defray the expense of the festival and to help preserve the Alfred & Elma Milotte collection acquired earlier this year.
The festival will be showing three Academy Award winning wildlife films shot by the team of Alfred and Elma Milotte.
The following has been provided by GBLHS member and author of “Bonney Lake’s Plateau”, Winona Jacobsen:
Alfred Part 2:
“Like many men of the time, Al lost his job in Chicago at the engraving plant because of the economic crisis of the Great Depression in 1929-31. His nephew and niece, who had been in Chicago, were wanting to return to Seattle, so the trio formed a plan. Between the three of them, they had less than $100, but with careful planning they were able to buy a 1921 Ford touring car for $15, spare parts, tires, a ham, bread, and peanut butter and jam to make the trip across the country. Two weeks later they made it back to Seattle having driven countless miles of unpaved road, and in some cases, having to drive backwards up steep hills.
Jobs were not plentiful at this time, but Al found employment as a door to door Hoover vacuum salesman. It was not his “cup of tea”. He did not like the high pressure sales techniques that were often used on the consumer. One day while walking past a small portrait studio on Union Street in Seattle, he saw a woman sweeping the entrance. A light bulb came on and he thought, why not learn the photographic trade? He suggested to the woman that in exchange for sweeping and window cleaning, he could learn the trade from her. She agreed, and Al was soon able to use his artistic training and previous experience in his uncle’s studio to the shopkeeper’s advantage. He used his artist’s talents to letter the windows and provide display arrangements. From paints to prints and easels to enlargements, Al dove into the art of photography and its processing.
It was during this time that Al once again returned to his church and became active in its activities with old friends. It was at one of the mixed swim parties at the YMCA that he met Elma. The ham actor in him urged him to show off in front of a young woman he had his eye upon. He hoped to wow her with his swimming and diving prowess. Little did he realize what an appreciative spectator she was. When next they met, Al made it a point to get to know the young lady much better, and they soon became constant companions.
Elma had returned to the University of Washington to earn more credits for her Master’s degree, and just for fun, she had signed up to audit an art course. For the next three months, it was Al that attended the class in her place as E. Jolly. Elma finished her year at the University and returned to teaching in Dryden, WA, while Al began teaching amateur photography to adults at the YMCA.
It was the spring of 1934 when Alfred saw an ad in the Seattle Times for the photography studio in Ketchikan. That same day he proposed marriage to Elma, and wired an offer to Mr. Fisher, the owner of the studio. On May 1st, with $125 in his pocket, Al boarded the steamship for Ketchikan, prepared to make a $100 down payment to Mr. Fisher. Al was still learning the photography trade, and he hadn't even tackled movie making yet, but he was soon to be recognized as one of the best known photographers in Alaska, achieving nationwide exposure in just a couple of years.”
If you’d asked me earlier this year how I’d be spending 15 to 20 hours each week, I’d never have guessed that I’d be spending it reading through someone elses journals and letters. However, since GBLHS acquired the Milotte collection in March, it’s been a fascinating process sorting through the life and times of Mr. & Mrs. Milotte, their relationships with Walt Disney, their work as filmographers, their world wide travels, and the personalities they met and befriended along the way. They are definitely an interesting couple that documented so much of their lives in pictures and prose and left a lasting impact on everyone they touched.
If you attend Bonney Lake Days on either Friday, August 17th, or Saturday, August 18th stop by the Greater Bonney Lake Historical Society booth and pick up one of our books “Bonney Lake’s Plateau” or our new 2013 Milotte Calendar, or try your chances to win one of the gift baskets. The next meeting of the Greater Bonney Lake Historical Society is August 20th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Bonney Lake Library, please feel free to join us.
To find out more about the Milotte Wildlife Film Festival go to www.MWLFF.org. Answer our trivia question and you may win the new 2013 GBLHS Milotte Calendar. There is also the opportunity for you to sponsor our festival at one of our levels ranging from Actor @ $50 to Executive Producer @ $1000. We’ve now linked our website with Paypal for any you of would be donor’s out there.
Thanks for your time and thanks for reading the blog. Your comments are always appreciated.