I’m sure this is Rev. Bob McCrea (sp) from Almonte United Church with his wife Thora. She was a music teacher at Naismith in Almonte at one time.
Eric Caldwell-Great people, daughter, Ruth, ad well, my parents hosted the new United church minister and family! I allways remember, that Bob, was the fastest eater, I had ever seen!!!! Next to, my wifey, lol
The 18th annual Christmas Fair to be sponsored by the U.C.W. of Almonte United Church will feature a Fairyland theme. Visitors will be greeted by the Fairy Queen and her helpers, costumed in a fairyland theme. The various booths will be appropriatly decorated and it should be interesting to deal directly with such fairyland characters as the Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland or the Queen of Hearts. Jolly old Santa Claus will be present with his helpers and a continuous childrens movie will be shown so that mother can shop worry free or perhaps have a cup of tea.
A musical program will be given in the Church early in the afternoon and to wind up festivities, the men’s supper will be served for the whole family. It should be a great event so let’s all go to the Fair Saturday, 23th November, starting at 2 p.m. Mrs. Raymond Jamison has been convenor of this event for 17 of it’s 18 years. It’s continuing success is a result of good organization and-hard work by the ladies of the congregation. Work groups have been meeting regularly and individuals contribute much time all year in order to prepare the many handicrafted items presented for sale at the fair booths. In recent years the men of the congregation under the leadership of Mr. Norman Sadler have opened a handicraft booth which has been most successful.
Over the years the enthusiastic support of the people of Almonte and district has grown and so has the size of the fair. A few years ago an addition was built to the hall which permitted some additional booth space. The ‘ ladies of the church are appreciative and every year they attempt to offer something new and interesting. This year also promises to be a most enjoyable event.
In former years the United Church Women have collected Christmas gifts for children in
various families in the community. After some discussion with members of the families on the
receiving end, it was decided that a sale of good used articles and toys would be of greater benefit and value and the ” Hub ” Coordinators agreed to organize this, in cooperation with some members of the Churches inAlmonte.
In providing this service it is hoped that parents will have a better chance to fill the needs and meet the wishes of their children.For the past month Karen Jones, Joyce Lowry, Marilyn Snedden, Junie Campbell, Pat Bowden Dorothy James and Julia Thomas have been working and sorting toys for the sale at St. Paul’s Church next week. Members of
the community have been dressing dolls, repairing toys and checking puzzles.
The invitation list has been made up with the help of the Public Health Nurse, the Community and Social Service person;each church has been approached
for names of members of their congregations who may be eligible for an invitation.
Proceeds are to be used to give these children a ChristmasParty; Any used toys left over will
be sold at the Hub following the sale. Our many thanks go to all the people who have generously donated toys and helped in many ways to make this sale possible.
Remember Reach for the Top? Eric Stewart sent this in.. Hi Linda…. here’s a photo of the 1972 – 1973 ADHS Reach for the Top team. I am trying to remember the names of my teammates. I am the second from the right. Can you help Eric?
The students from left to right are Greg Gosson, Jim Harris, Ted McKay, Eric Stewart and Bruce Gunn
Reach for the top in 1972.CPHS team. Photo from Wendy Healey
Reach For The Top (RFTT) was based on a successful US television program called G.E. College Bowl. The idea for a Canadian version was brought to CBC Canada by producer Richard St John and sold to CBC Vancouver in 1961. The first program of RFTT was broadcast that year and was hosted by West Coast free-lance broadcaster Terry Garner. The next year the program was picked up by CBC Edmonton and gradually spread across the country. By 1966, 23 stations in all 10 provinces were carrying it, with approximately 600 schools taking part. That year the first of the national playoffs was broadcast with Winnipeg quizmaster Bill Guest as host. Lorne Jenkin High in Barrhead, Alta, which offered a one-semester credit course based on the program, became the series’ most successful competitors. The school represented Alberta in the national playoffs for 6 of the last 10 years of the program’s life, winning the national finals twice–
As the weather seems to -be turning, to the better– the paddling season draws near, this year’s Executive is attempting to get an early start on planning of activities and the purchasing of new equipment. Before the adoption of the plans drawn up can be put into motion, the annual meeting of members must take place — this meeting h open to all interested persons who wish to become members of the Club.
This will take place on April 2 at Almonte High School at 7.30 p.m. This year’s Executive is made up of the following: Greg Merrithew Commodore; Les Ladoticeur. Vice Commodore; Doug. Walker, Treasurer; Eileen Pommerville, Secretary. As last year was considered a success in recreational paddling, the Executive feels that emphasis this year should be put on family recreation and pleasure canoeing.
Also this year the Club will be organizing week-end excursions. If interest in this type of canoeing is high, the Executive will consider purchasing some more pleasure canoes. Also, it has come to the Executive’s attention that past members of the Club have expressed their desire in competing in Eastern Ontario regattas in a War Canoe and in a C4 (four man canoe). However, these crafts could not be acquired if there was not enough demand shown for them.
This year competitive members have already begun training so as to try and gain entry into the Canada Games. Any person wishing to compete in Flat Water Racing or wanting further info about the Club should contact Greg Mrtrithew.Many people in this area do not know just how big a sport competitive racing is in Canada. For their information the Almonte Canoe Club belongs to the Canadian Canoe Association. This Association is a Government Sponsored program, and is one of the highest ranking sports organisations to receive financial assistance from the Government. Also, Just recently the Provincial Government formed an organization called Canoe Ontario for the purpose of giving financial assistance to groups to Ontario for the sport in the province. With all this assistance being given to the sport, it would be only right to have as many people involved in it as possible.
Dave Findlay was very hopeful to get the great Almonte athletes turned toward the water. Getting the two towns to ‘egg each other on’ would surely produce more champions at high levels.
The first regatta was at the fairgrounds but there was a shallow rock ledge in the river which wasn’t good for racing.
Second regatta was up the river at Russell Turner’s farm.
Click to read clipping.. someone asked me about the Almonte Canoe Club that once existed.The Almonte Canoe Club was founded in 1967 as the Almonte Municipal Recreation Club and took out associate membership with assistance from Carleton Place’s Dave Findlay. The following year saw full membership and a name change to the Almonte Canoe Club. They hosted a succesful regatta in 1968 and competed in the Eastern Ontario Division for five years until 1973, failing to rejuvenate the club afterwards. There was another canoe club in existence at the time known as the Mississippi Mobile Canoe Club. This organisation, originally known as the White Ensign Canoe Club, took out associate membership in 1971, a status that remained inconsistent for the next five years before disappearing altogether.
Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 15 Sep 1967, Fri, Page 1
In July 28 of 2019 we had the first Carleton Place Amazing Race held at the Market Square and in the same month in 1956 the Carleton Place Canoe Club had the first annual 7 mile race from Almonte to the Carleton Place Town Hall. The only notable person from Carleton Place to ever come near the top every year during those races was Dave Findlay. In 1959 the Chamber of Commerce took over and in 1963– the Annual Seven-Mile Road Race ran under the sponsorship of the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce. That year, three additional events were added. The top award given out was the Queens Hotel Trophy which was allegedly filled with beer.
Lynne Currie, a pretty 20-year -old brunette from Almonte, added to her laurels, when she was crowned Miss Central Canada at the Civic Centre in Ottawa last Friday night. For Lynne, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John T. Currie of Almonte, and a graduate of the Almonte and District High School, it was the second honour bestowed upon her this year. In May she was chosen Miss Brbckville Fire Queen at the annual Brockville Fire Queen Pageant. Lynne is a student nurse at the Brockville General Hospital Regional School of Nursing. She has dark eyes and is five foot eight. In the Miss Central Canada contests she was also the winner of the individual beauty competition in which she favourably impressed the judges and the crowd in her swimming attire.
When she was declared the winner, Lynne gasped: “I just don’t believe it . . . It’s too good to be true.” Emcee Alex Trebec complimented the new queen on her composure saying: “You held back the tears for three to four minutes.” “Did I?” asked the surprised winner, wiping her eyes again. Asked during the impromptu question period what two languages other than her mother tongue she would like to learn, Lynne answered: “French and German.” “1 would like to learn French because half of my country speaks French, and German because I have many German friends,” she said. Lynne, who claims the hardest part of the contest was the last two weeks with 16 hours a day of work, will pick up about $2,000 worth of prizes and gifts, and a free trip to New York.
She is also in the running for some $25,000 in prizes as a contestant in the Miss Canada Pageant in Toronto in the fall. The 20 beauty contestants were judged on talent — 20 points — beauty of face and figure — 40 points — and intellect, poise, and personality — 40 points.
The other four finalists in the contest were Lucille Hodgins, 20, of Shawville: Liette Beauchamp, 23, Bonnie Robertson, 20, and Sandra Thompson, 19, all of Ottawa. Miss Thompson also won the individual talent competition. Miss Beauchamp took top honours for intellect, poise, and peie the new beauty queen was Miss Central Canada 1969, Julie Maloney.
Judges were actress Florence Fancott, film maker Graeme Fraser, photographer Jon Joosten, and clothier Sol Max. A fifth judge involved in the preliminary judging, Darquis Timmermann, Le Droit Women’s Editor.
The following tribute to the late Jimmy Moreau has been sent to the Gazette by Mr. Dugald Campbell of Vancouver: Vancouver, B. C. October 6, 1960.
Editor Gazette: I just wish to extend my sympathy to the relatives of my old friend, Jimmy Moreau, who has just recently passed on. Jimmy was the oldest business man in Almonte, the paper says, and I can well believe that. On my last trip home a few years ago he was the first-of my old friends to greet me at his little shop.
It was about morning train time from Ottawa, Jimmy asked me to hold on a bit till he picked up the Ottawa papers. Sure enough the folks who wanted papers trooped in, one by one, and Jimmy knew that, and he wanted me to meet them all as they came in and I had a fine welcome with a lot of the older fellows.
In came the fellows. In came the late A. C. Wylie, then Bill Jamieson, then Raymond Jamieson, Austin Darling, Max Young and Don Campbell. For me at any rate it was a very happy gathering. Now a few of the above fellows have passed on.
Jimmy Moreau was always quiet, kind and courteous. In his younger days, when he was with, the late P. C. Dowdall in the drugstore, he was an enthusiastic sports follower, and I think he remembered everything about the great days of the lacrosse era in Almonte.
The days of Pat Slattery, Jack Forgie, Billy John Hogan, Frank and Crumpy Moran, T u ffy McGregor, Jack Buntin and Billy Torrance, they were the speedsters of the years 1895 to 1900 about. And after that when chaps of my day went, there was another boon for several years when the New England sharp shooters—- the Houston boys, the Lodge boys and Teddy Armstrong.
Jimmy’s father, the late Elmer Moreau, was quite a character as well. There was a big family of Moreaus and very likely they are spread far and wide over eastern Canada, but the old town will be the poorer for the passing of this gallant little friend and sportsman. God rest his soul. Dugald Campbell.
My speech at All Candidates Night– Two Minute Speech
Good Evening Carleton Place!
Four years ago I quickly learned,along with my fellow new councillors, that changing the direction of rampant growth the town was headed to wasn’t going to be easy. We all pledged to do everything we could to ensure smart livable growth for the town and continue to try and find answers for affordable housing.
I voted no on some smaller housing projects– not because I don’t like developments but because I am sick of seeing things that don’t fit into existing older neighbourhoods. I have asked every developer about thoughts of providing a few units of affordable housing, or something for first time house buyers but none did.
In the past 4 years I brought forward to council the following notice of motions and thanks to my fellow councillors we got the 4 votes to get things done. No one does anything by themselves, we work together.
1-fixed difficulties folks faced regularly when trying to cross busy streets from the trails. New crosswalks were installed.
2– requested staff to do a timely review of the town’s response to the storm and power outage in May so we can do things even better next time. Thank you staff!
3-passed a motion regarding atvs so they could cross the trail at Mc Ewens on Townline to gas up and available parking for them near the market.
4-Staffrecommendations studying year-round safety of on street parking so we can get emergency vehicles down a street and set precedence for wider safer streets in new builds.
I took a strong stand on voting NO on the proposed bylaw to enter private outdoor property without reason, –Voted no to Ocean Wave name change, our heritage needs to be remembered.
Voted no along with Theresa Fritz in 2018 about passing snow plowing and parking rules during the winter so we could study it more. Sadly it was passed 5-2 when it was brought back a second time.
My name is Linda Seccaspina and I don’t want to have to tell the younger folks that I remember when these developments were all just woods. I want to be part of council these next four years so my grandkids will be proud to call Carleton Place home.
My speech at All Candidates Night– One Minute Speech
Tea with Linda Affordable Housing Part 1
Tea with Linda Affordable Housing Part 2
Tea with Linda Affordable Housing Part 3
Older and young Canadians alike face difficulties finding affordable housing. If elected, how will you address the housing crisis in our community and help more young people, older Canadians and other vulnerable populations find an affordable place to live?
In the last four years I’ve been very involved with Carebridge, Age Friendly North Lanark and United Way East, working with them to find solutions to make housing more affordable. Carleton Place Council recently also passed provisions, which I supported, to cut developers a break on fees for building affordable housing. We need to encourage more apartments be built, along with smaller homes – things that cost less to build per unit so rents and selling prices come down. We also are encouraging things like granny suites where people have room on their properties – this will also create affordable rental units.
The housing affordability crisis is rooted in a serious lack of supply. Exclusionary zoning policies prohibit multi-family housing units from being built on properties in which single-family homes are currently situated. If elected, would you advocate putting an end to exclusionary zoning to ensure that more homes can be built here? If so, how will you address ‘NIMBY’ constituents? If not, how will you work to achieve the goal of more units built in existing neighbourhoods?
First off, there isn’t a lack of supply, there’s just a lack of the right type of supply. But to get to the heart of your question on exclusionary zoning, Carleton Place does not have such a policy, nor would I advocate for that. I think everyone agrees that we need higher density building in established neighborhoods, but I believe it is also important to keep with the character of those neighborhoods – architecture that fits the surrounding buildings and doesn’t obstruct views or create shadows. And buildings like this have been approved in this term of Council – the new multi-unit building on Bell St that replaced a dilapidated single family home is a prime example. It’s these conditions that help keep NIMBY arguments to a minimum.
Toronto is currently the only municipality in Ontario that has a Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT). The additional municipal tax is a significant barrier for people already struggling to get into the market. Over the last several years, there have been municipalities that have tried to give themselves MLTT powers. Do you support the expansion of MLTT powers to municipalities outside of Toronto? Would you advocate against your municipality gaining MLTT powers if one of your fellow councillors was pushing for it?
Our development fees, as long as they are reviewed regularly, are enough, and target the developers making money on their land purchase, rather than say, an individual looking to buy a plot of land to build their family home on. There has been no discussion of a MLTT here in Carleton Place and I would not support it.
4. * This question is meant for City of Ottawa candidates, however much of the question still applies here * Ottawa’s new Official Plan outlines ambitious housing supply targets for both intensification and affordable housing development. Costly delays to development approvals and municipally imposed fees impact both supply and affordability as these costs are borne by prospective purchasers and/or tenants. Do you support reducing red-tape and development fees? Would you advocate against a measure that is likely to increase development delays and fees if one of your fellow councillors was pushing for it?
Carleton Place also has ambitious growth plans regarding population, which were handed to us by the County. It means there will have to be additional growth in Carleton Place, however it needs to be more measured than it was prior to this council coming in four years ago. The rate of growth has already put our infrastructure behind and is causing an accelerated revamping of our water treatment plant at a huge cost. The speed of growth in town is the number one complaint I hear from residents, along with the need to maintain our small town charm and heritage. So no, I will not support reducing development fees for developers, except under the special circumstances that have already been introduced to the town’s Official Plan as it relates to affordable housing. And it is our approval process that helps ensure we maintain the town’s charm. We do need better communication and ensure the planning and building departments are taking time with newer developers to our area to make sure they understand our bylaws. But if the process is done right, and with added guidance from staff, a developer should be able to follow our Official Plan and Development Bylaws and not have issues with added red-tape.
We have lost more social housing units in the County than we have built over the past 25 years. This is an issue right across the Country.
There are over 800 people on county subsidised housing list and if I wanted to get into County housing it would take 8 years. However, what I have seen is that landlords are requiring tenants show proof of income and do credit checks. This means they have to disclose they are using a rent supp and landlords discriminate against them because of it. All buildings built after 2018 are not subjected to rent control.. Your rent goes up 500-60 bucks and landlords call it ‘ going market rate”– Deplorable!
So I joined groups like Age Friendly North Lanark ( part of Carebridge) and United Way East (senior group) and learned this is a problem everywhere. Should we accept this? Of course not. I think the federal government start buying existing buildings from the private market
Build build build social housing as fast as possible (you know you can control the rents in social housing), purchase properties for social housing (like hotels) and fill gaps with rent supp and PHBs. Yes, these are all funded by the County/province/federal government.
One developer says every development they will do from now on will have affordable housing. I asked them how much is their affordable housing and they say 100,000 less than going rate. Affordable housing is not 100,000 less than a 700,000 house next door.I wish these builders could take these calls I get and tell me what to say to these people needing something they can afford. In Canada, housing is considered “affordable” if it costs less than 30% of a household’s before-tax income
Mayor LeBlanc went to Elizabeth Court in 2014 and told everyone a senior building was coming behind Caramabeck and there was a photo op with committee members and Carebridge. New council got in and the whole idea fell by the wayside.
We are now getting a new Health Hub in Carleton Place, but we could have had it when Almonte had theirs– years ago. Unfortunatly the local doctors turned it down in 2006. At that time there was no staff shortages and doctors were worried about their private practices. Now, new doctors seldom choose having their own office etc and prefer to be in a medical centre where everything is available to them: i.e. Blood services MRI, screening etc.This is the new way things are being done and new doctors no longer want to put in the usual long hours- hence you see some local doctors cutting their patient list. Its called burn out. I just wish we had accepted it in 2006 and been ahead of the game. But now we must embrace any opportunity shown to us and encourage it.
No matter what happens I salute the other 7 women that did our town proud and we should never forget them:.. Barbara Walsh, Trudi Dickie, , Mayor Melba Barker, Linda Schmidt, Councillor and Mayor Wendy LeBlanc and Theresa Fritz. Vote October 24th
Wendy LeBlanc (mayor)
Melba Baker (mayor)
Geneva Anne Tripp (1952)
So much so that when the world says, “but that’s not how we’ve always done things” you still stand up, chin up, shoulders back and say, “that doesn’t matter because it’s how we can start doing things now.”
My question for the candidates is what do you think it will take this town, first, and then its businesses to remove barriers and make this town a place accessible for everyone everywhere?
As a first step, can you pledge to ensure that every new development, program, road, park, etc be built to be inclusive from the start?— Maddy, as you know I have a cane now and its difficult for me to navigate around curbs etc. I always fought for accessibility as my mother was in a wheelchair for most of her life. Using a cane I know what it is to get to a streetcorner and think before I walk off of it..which is nothing compared to you. We have an accessibility committee but I was sad to learn that they did not have much say in theMain Street improvement, but was overjoyed to see you try it out. I have said this town is not accessible but have been corected that I am wrong. They are wrong. Its a need for some of us and we need to keep fighting..
This is the speech I gave at Orm’s Funeral this week at St. James
I have to be honest here– most of my best conversations with Orm Giles were in Walmart. I never went to Walmart without bumping into Orm Giles. We used to have our fireside chats on the bench beside the front door where Orm and I would plot to glue coins to the floor and see how many people would try and pick them up. Orm was everything to me. Each time I would bump into him he would haul his flyers out when Walmart used to price match and he would be telling me what I should be buying whether it be in aisle 4 or 5 or maybe even 6. Orm was an iconic retired politician, but he was a master of the grocery flyers–yes he most certainly was.
Orm not only had savings information– he would also give me council advice on that same Walmart bench next to the front door. It was my two for one Roll back special. When I got elected I told Orm I had so many great ideas– so many— and what was the easiest way to get them done. He looked at me and said ,” Well first you have to have 3 other people vote with you”, and I looked at him just like they had slashed everything on aisle 7 and said NOOOOOO. Are you kidding me?
Now when I hear people that are going to enter the world of politics and do this and that and the other– I laugh and say, “No, not unless you have 3 other people vote with you!” and I know that for a fact because Orm Giles told me so.
I had great respect for Orm as he represented his community in municipal politics for over 30 years. I know how hard it is to represent your community, but we do it because we love where we live and boy Orm loved Lanark County. He made many many important decisions for our town and one day he jokingly made a decision for Walmart,
“Hey Linda, what say we tell Walmart to buy 30 new cashes and only open 2 of those cashes?”
Orm had a wicked sense of humour and he once told a story to his son Stephen about the house I was documenting across the street where they lived. They were an odd lot that lived there — no doubt about it. Apparently they used to come out late at night and dig for worms to go fishing. Orm looked out the window one night and said,
“Would you look at that we have a couple of miners across the street digging for gold!”
Only in Carleton Place.
As far as I can remember Orm was a Councillor, Deputy Reeve and Deputy Mayor of the Town of Carleton Place and Warden of Lanark County. He had a park named after him and he lobbied the government of Ontario for years for the expansion of Highway 7.
When I posted about the passing of Orm on Facebook I got a great many comments and Id like to read a few :
Orm was a great citizen who lead by example RIP SIR!
Very sorry for your loss – your Dad served the community with honesty and integrity.
He was the Royalty of CP! I was sharing stories about him tonight. So many! Sylvia Giles you Dad (& Mom) was a true gem!!
He sat with my Dad on his last day on earth along with Don Stanley. I will never forget that.
I‘m truly sorry to hear this news, Sylvia. Even when you know it’s inevitable, it still comes as shock. I wish you and Stephen the best as you celebrate this good and decent man. My sincere condolences. My thoughts are with you.
I am so sorry to hear of your father’s passing Sylvia. Your Dad was such a sweet nice man. He was always there to greet us all at church. My condolences to you and your family.
Duncan and I are so very sorry to hear this sad news. Orm was a gentleman who served Carleton Place for many years with grace and style. He will be truly missed. Our condolences to the family. Sending our deepest condolences to Sylvia, Chris and Stephen. Orme will be greatly missed!
So today we mourn the passing of Orm Giles and I am so grateful that he raised two wonderful children named Sylvia and Stephen, who will carry on his legacy and keep me informed of what I should watch out for in town affairs. I am so grateful for that, but I have one thing that I am heartbroken that I never knew.,. I never knew that Orm’s first name was Clarence. To me that was information that should have been spoken about on our Walmart visits. Because Walmart is a place that you can never be ashamed of who you are.
I am going to truly miss the man that was named Clarence Orm Giles. He was one in a million! Love you Orm and Ill keep that bench in Walmart warm for you.
Back shops of old fashioned country printing offices have never been noted for their extreme cleanliness. There is nothing of an edible nature in these places and the printers go on the principle that composing rooms are useful not ornamental. This was pointed out in a delicate manner, Wednesday afternoon, by a business neighbour who is considerable of a wag. He came down town without his colored glasses and was unable to view the eclipse with any degree of comfort or satisfaction.
Happening into the back shop of the Almonte Gazette to tell the printers of his sad plight he chanced to look at the eclipse through one of the windows. “Well now isn’t that fine,” said he, “you don’t need smoked glasses to ^shield your eyes when you gaze at the sun through these windows.” He was soon given a pail of water with the other necessary equipment and told to “go to it.’’
Is morning nursing stiff necks as a result of “rubbering” at the eclipse Wednesday afternoon? For a couple of hours many citizens armed with pieces of film, smoked glass and amber spectacles stood gazing skyward with looks of owlish gravity on their faces. Mayor Comba viewed the solar phenomenon from the steps of the Bank of Montreal where the town overdraft is kept. He said he had hoped that as this was the end of the month the eclipse would be so complete as to obscure the municipal deficit for that afternoon a t least. He was greatly disappointed this was not the case and observed if complete darkness had fallen the utilities commission might have been induced to turn off the lights thus creating a bank holiday.
It was a warm evening in the theatre the night Joan the Woman played at the Royal Theatre. Based on the life of the Immortal Joan of Arc a motion picture directed by Cecil B DeMille, with Geraldine Farrar in the role of Joan. It has begun an engagement of three days’ endurance at the Royal theatre.
It will mark Geraldine Farrar’s first appearance as the star In a cinema drama of length sufficient to comprise an entire evening’s entertainment. There Is a certain timeliness about the story of Joan of Arc. Although the story of Joan, the Woman ” written for the screen by Jeanie Macpherson has been carefully guarded it is said that Mr DeMille and Miss Farrar have touched upon the feature of modernism in relating to one of the most fascinating stories of medivialism. All the scenes of the picture were made in the summer in California. Please note that the movie is 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Geraldine had to gain 50 pounds to be able to wear an eighty – pound suit of armour in the film Joan, the Woman.
Beginning in 1908, Farrar had a seven-year love affair with the Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini. Her ultimatum, that he leave his wife and children and marry her, resulted in Toscanini’s abrupt resignation as principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in 1915. Farrar was a close friend to the Met’s star tenor Enrico Caruso and there has been speculation that they too had a love affair. It is said that Caruso coined her motto: Farrar farà (“Farrar will do it”).
Her marriage to actor Lou Tellegen on February 8, 1916 was the source of considerable scandal. The marriage ended, as a result of her husband’s numerous affairs, in a very public divorce in 1923. The circumstances of the divorce were brought again to public recollection by Tellegen’s bizarre 1934 suicide in Hollywood. Farrar reportedly said “Why should that interest me?” when told of Tellegen’s idea.
Cecil B. DeMille’s first feature-length epic is an exercise in equivocation. Joan the Woman (1916) attempts to tell the story of a woman whose chosen path in life is inherently defiant of the gender norms of both her time and that of the film’s audience, while at the same time using the Maid of Orleans to reinforce the value of feminine-patriotic virtues. Joan the Woman follows the popular story of Joan of Arc, portrayed here by Geraldine Ferrar, from her departure from Domremy to her arrival at the court of Charles VII of France, where she convinces the dauphin to put her at the head of an army to oust the English from France. Her subsequent victory at Orleans comprises roughly twenty minutes of the two-and-a-half hour film. After Charles’s coronation at Reims, however, the film departs from the documented history dramatically. Joan is captured at Compiegne only because of the betrayal of her English suitor, Eric Trent. The Maid’s fictional love interest attempts to redeem himself through a daring rescue, but ultimately fails. Joan is led to her inevitable death at the stake in Rouen. Watching her burn, Trent laments, “We have killed a saint!” and the villainous Cauchon is led away in disgust before she is dead.
Framing this version of Joan’s story is a prologue and epilogue that takes place in the trenches of World War I in France. English soldiers keep watch over the parapets for any signs of a German attack, though as the audience is introduced to the story all is fairly quiet. Here, Eric Trent has supposedly been reincarnated as an English officer. In the dugout, he pulls an ancient sword from the wall and wonders “what queer old chap” once carried it into battle. Moments later, the armored apparition of Joan of Arc appears behind him to inform him that the time has come to expiate his sins against her. After Joan’s story is told, Trent goes on a suicide mission to destroy a German trench. His mission is a success, and as he lays dying Joan once more appears and all is seemingly forgiven.
While the film was met with generally positive reviews, it was a box office disappointment. DeMille had a $300,000 budget, partially as a result of the success of D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation(1915). Griffith’s film, which was an expensive but epic story, grossed at least $20 million. The Birth of a Nation emboldened fledgling studios to invest great amounts of capital into large film productions; audiences were willing to sit through multi-hour historical epics.Joan, bringing in only $600,000, was an unexpected failure. Critical assessment generally praised DeMille’s innovative use of lighting, novel intertitles such as raised text, and the new Handschiegl color process, which allowed for the striking use of colors against an otherwise monochrome palette. Joan’s paltry box office take, however, was indicative of its failure to resonate with a large audience, particularly the lower-middle classes, who found no characters with whom they could relate despite Joan’s humble beginnings. The film seemingly appealed to mostly those of the upper or middle classes.