Pentrex w/ UP Historical Society
Length: 2 Hours 20 minutes
This is a 2 shows on a single DVD disc. Union Pacific is the railroad. Last Of The Giants Vol.3 and Big Boys on TV. They require separate reviews, as they are completely different shows.
Last Of The Giants Volume 3: Sherman Hill
Time Period: 1956- 1958 , 1993 static displays & interviews.
Locations: Sherman Hill, Cheyenne Shops, Cheyenne, Denver, Green River,
Sources: Vincent Hunter, Ralph Burrel, Glenn Turner, Allan Krieg
The final installment of Pentrex Last Of The Giants trilogy. Here is all color 16mm film from the original Last Of The Giants production. A unique program that has used outtake footage from Last Of The Giants. Professionally filmed on 16mm, all-color film. There are amazing views of these behemoth Alco built articulated steam locomotives.
This show combines the vintage film with contemporary interviews of film crew and railroad personnel from the 1950’s.
A 1957 Cheyenne turntable shot of a Big Boy is just one great vignette. A camera mounted on a car travelling a parallel track to pace the running gear is another one. Some cab shots of these locos in operation, and watching the crew work, are nice to see. The early piggyback train is a must see.
Naturally, there is a big chunk of Big Boys that are smoking it up, and pounding it out on Sherman Hill.
Some black and white, plus color, still photos fill out the show, during various historical discussions. Some photographers provide insight as to shooting the Big Boys.
See retired engineers talk about 4000 series operating characteristics, pros and cons. They offer opinions about the transition to diesels. Interesting stories and information. There are some good views of the vintage UP freight trains.
Realize, this is not just a program of total trainwatching. Perhaps due to limited footage. It is akin to a similar PBS style production. A mixture of many elements that works well.
A 1993 trip to the Cheyenne Shops has Steve Lee, UP Steam Program Manager address the realities and rumours involving Big Boy restorations. A segment on surviving Big Boys adds to the story. Return to Cheyenne for current look and a lecture on the UP steam program. A nice featured segment.
The narration is the usual high standard from Pentrex. Informative, with some segments of natural sounds.
This is an adult program. Overall, it is a bit talky for youngsters. However, there is a natural sound, extended final segment where the trains roll, sans narration. You decide if for kids. Any railfan will love this show!
Pentrex has done an excellent job with this program. A little heavy on interviews, versus classic footage is the lone caveat.
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars
Big Boys On TV
Time Period: 1953 – 1954
Source: NBC black & white
Pentrex cleverly uses 1953 outtakes from NBC filmed Big Boys for a live 1954 broadcast. This begins the other program in this Combo DVD. Notice the slick scriptwork. It ties a bunch of random shots into a smoothly transitioning story. This is the highlight.
The main feature is a 1954 drama about life centered on… you guessed it .. Big Boys.
This is of lower film quality, think 1954 Jackie Gleason shows… Norton… 🙂
A show like this is a bit of a stretch for my interests. My main enjoyment was the LOTG Vol.3 program in this combo pack. Nevermind. Let’s roll tape and see what happens..
This is the strory of Joe Grant. A Big Boy engineer and he is 55 years old.
There are old views of the Big Boy and other assorted railroad scenes. Joe’s home is where the drama begins. Joe’s boy doesn’t want to work for Union Pacific. Yawn..
The Lucky Strike Theatre presentation is not a completely bad show, considering it was 1954. More of a historical curiosity in 2011.
But, it’s something I only will watch once, for review purposes. If I want a 1954 period TV show, it will be The Honeymooners.
Rating: 2 Stars
Combined Show Rating: 3 Stars