Dingmans Ferry Movie Trilogy Offers Trip Down Memory Lane
By: Lisa Mickles
July 19, 2012 Pike County Dispatch
DINGMANS FERRY — A free historic movie trilogy highlighting Dingmans Ferry should bring about the memories of simpler times when fun was a community activity and helping neighbors was a common occurrence.
If you want a potent symbol of the former Dingmans Ferry before the Tocks Island project, come to Akenac Park, off Route 739 on Saturday evening at 8 p.m. for an outdoor screening of three short movies highlighting the formidable town.
The three films, directed and produced by New York Film Producer Dennis Lee of Tribute New York Productions, will last about an hour and a half, and will delight people of all ages. Two of the films have already been shown to the public at different venues but the most recent production highlights the life and times of several families who made their way each and every summer to what was once called Shepard’s Corner, located at the intersection of Route 2001 and Silver Lake Road.
Lee, who produced the remarkable film using old 16 mm footage from the 1930’s through the 1950’s, said the film took almost a year to complete after viewing more than eight hours of reel-to-reel footage that sat in a basement for more than half a century.
“The historic value of the films is priceless,” said Lee, noting how most of the buildings that made up the hamlet of Dingmans Ferry are no longer in existence after the federal government proposed back in 1950 to begin acquiring, often by condemnation, land to construct a lake and dam, which never came to fruition, now part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
The story on how the movie idea germinated is just as interesting as the film itself.
Longtime Dingmans Ferry resident Tom Witter had been searching for decades for 1950’s video footage of the community marching down Silver Lake Road at the annual Easter Parade.
After searching for decades, Witter one day broached the subject to fellow native Ted Mervine and asked him if he knew of any film that highlighted the parade that he recalled being filmed so long ago.
That is when Mervine told him… sure he did. The stacks of reels have been sitting in his basement for the past 50 years along with footage dating back to the 1930’s. You see, Mervine, was one of the projectionists back in the 1950’s along with his uncle, who took the earlier footage.
After coming across the historical find, Witter contacted Lee and asked if he could transfer 8 hours of 16 mm film to video to preserve the film. Lee said that when he first reviewed the film using an old projector, he was constantly worried that the 50-year-old bulb would burst. He knew right then and there the importance of preserving the film depicting some of the history of Dingmans Ferry... for complete story, get this week's issue.