Meet Me In St. Louis

Meet Me In St. Louis  (The 1990 NRHS Convention)

Diverging Clear Productions

Format: DVD-R

Length: 1 Hour 22 minutes

Time Period: 1990

Locations: St. Louis and approaches.

Sources: George Redmond, Kurt I. Jensen, J.S. McPherson

MSRP: 20.00

The Heritage Series- The 1990 N.R.H.S. Convention

Have a pre-release copy of the newest Heritage Series show from Diverging Clear Productions. This one is about the 1990 National Railway Historical Society, at it’s annual convention. Four mainline steam locomotives are featured from this event. Only one, still operates in the present day.

                                    Norfolk & Western 1218. Articulated, 2-6-6-4

St. Louis & San Francisco 1522. This is a 4-8-2

                       St. Louis & Southwestern 819. Also known as Cotton Belt, a 4-8-4.

                                             Union Pacific 844. A Northern type, 4-8-4.

This shot shows the problems that appear, with the old tapes.

The Heritage Series are a good set of shows, by Diverging Clear. A nice variety of subject material assures that there is something for everyone.  Source tapes are the limitation of these productions. They do contain a good amount of special interest footage. Depends on whether you want the given show’s subject.

There is a detailed chapter menu. A preview section. Narrated by Mary McPherson. On-screen graphics augment the locations. Natural audio on the steamers. Maps are included within this program. However, they blow by too fast… to see the detail. Needs a solid 4 seconds, before the fadeout.

George Redmond is a good cameraman. Steady and smooth scenes. Nothing fancy. Just a solid trackside camera. The video camera microphone does pickup ambient environmental noise. Car whoosh, wind and some ding-ding. Background noise can achieve annoying high levels. A following of Frisco 1522 is as much amount hearing auto traffic, that is louder than the engine chuff. That is a messy audio sequence. Fortunately, the majority of the audio is decent.

N&W 1218 is the first locomotive that is chased. Travels across Indiana and Illinois, to destination. A lengthy chapter. Many, same looking runbys. Your basic, midwestern woods and fields. The 1218 has an overnight stay at Mt. Vernon. While it is a good engine to view, the whole trip runs too long. The journey overstays it’s welcome. Flatland runbys of the same train. It becomes repetitive. A very noticeable dip in quality from a secondary video source.

Cotton Belt 819 is shown, with marginal video imagery. This was included to, tell the complete story. The sequence is brief. Very amateur feel here.

UP 844 shows up, in the gray painted livery. Appears to be two film sources. Again, the secondary footage is rough; to watch and listen to. Why include the rough 844 film? The market is already over-saturated with 844 anyway.

St. Louis Union Station is where we see 819, in better quality. It is the least operated of the group. Was just restored in 1986. Frisco 1522 is viewed at Union Station. UP 844 and NW 1218 are present. Brief history of all four engines are discussed.

Frisco 1522 gets chased. After the extremely noisy first phase, the audio improves. Again, background levels get too high. In the end, this runs too long.

Cotton Belt 819 is mostly, in the below average video tape. It fills out the story.Too bad the 819 isn’t the higher quality footage. The others are very common to find.

The 1990 NRHS convention does contain the 4 steam engines. Cotton Belt 819 would be the most interesting of the lot. That locomotive is the weakest one of the set. The remaining three are common engines.

In summary. This is an amateur train video. Does run too long overall. A more effective presentation could have been realized in 60 to 70 minutes. Certain chases and the extended chases, just seem like filler. Viewers may end up reach for the fast forward button, or end up daydreaming. This release is not an essential one for the masses. Overall, it is rather mediocre.

Rating: 2 1/2 Stars

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