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THE MAKING OF POWER FOR THE PARKINSONS
by Dr. Ephraim K. Smith

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The second film, Worst of Farm Disasters, runs between five and six minutes. Once again, the narrator is not identified. After opening scenes showing views of the countryside, Bill, Tom, and Dan at work are seen pumping water. Hazel is cooking at her wood stove. Then inside the barn, Tom bumps a kerosene lantern. The narrator warns: “the lantern swings too far -- fire -- the worst of farm disasters!” The next scene is of flames and the Parkinsons and their neighbors rushing to put out the fire. But all they have is a hand pump and a bucket brigade. Ultimately, the barn burns to the ground. “This farm,” the narrator intones, “had no electricity for water pumping.” “With electric lights,” he adds, “the fire might not have started.” The next scene is of a closeup of a hand addressing a envelope to the Rural Electrification Administration. As the scene changes to workmen setting a pole, the narrator notes that “safe wiring, electric lights, running water, electric ranges help prevent fires.” Since 1935, the narration continues, some 700,000 farms have received electricity for the first time. Now, these “farms have more protection against fire loss than ever before” and “they are safer places to live for farm men and women.”


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