Movies to be shown at glacier to help Glory Hole

Posted: Friday, December 19, 2003

The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center will show two short movies this weekend to raise money for the Glory Hole, the downtown homeless shelter.

"Lassie's Litter Bit" and "How Alaska Was Discovered," both 16 mm films, will be shown at 3 and 4 p.m. Saturday at the visitor center. Entrance fees to the event are a $1 per-person or $3 per-family donation to the shelter, and a nonperishable food item.

Michelle Warrenchuk, the information assistant work leader at the visitor center, got the idea for the charity screening while rummaging through the U.S. Forest Service library last winter.

"I discovered that we had a lot of photos of Lassie here in Juneau," she said.

She found photos of Lassie arriving at the Juneau Airport, visiting the Governor's House and traveling via float plane to the Mendenhall Glacier, probably in the 1960s. What appears to be a film crew shows up in some of the photos at the Mendenhall Lake.

Warrenchuk began searching for a film with Lassie in Alaska, to no avail. But she did find 16 mm copies of "Lassie's Litter Bit," and of the Disney film "How Alaska Was Discovered."

She planned a screening of the films, and decided to make the screening a fund raiser when she heard of recent funding problems at the Glory Hole.

"This just seemed like an appropriate time of year for a fund raiser," she said.

She found a projector for the films in Forest Service storage and taught herself to use it. A 15-minute break will be necessary at each screening so Warrenchuk can rewind the film by hand and prepare the next film.

"Lassie's Litter Bit," a 30-minute film, dates from 1967, when the dog was recruited as an advocate for the Keep America Beautiful campaign.

"How Alaska was Discovered" is a 15-minute film about the Russian fur trade in Alaska, and the historical events that led to Alaska becoming a U.S. territory. Warrenchuk believes the film is from the 1960s as well.

The films were aimed at kids, but Forest Service employees have found them to be pretty entertaining in previews at staff meetings, Warrenchuk said.

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