Clear Block Productions
Length: 55 minutes
Tine Period:1952 to 1972
Locations: West Virginia and Ohio…
Sources: Vic Ketcham, Joe Slanser, Karl Walters.
Producer: Todd Miller
Vintage Chesapeake and Ohio, is one of those hard to find railroads. The public roads in West Virginia were tough, and few cinematographers traveled there. Even the later years are not plentiful. While there is limited C&O film in the market, there are no full shows. Clear Block has three main sources for this release. Additional film sources were also used, including Producer Todd Miller.
The late, Mr. Miller takes a whirlwind tour of C&O. Concentrating on Ohio and West Virginia. This fast paced program does delve a little deeper at some key points. Meadow River Lumber is one visit, with Shays and a Heisler.
Barry Goldwater Campaign Special enters Marion, Ohio. Complete with a classic platform observation car. Public address speakers and a campaign sign adorn the rear. Year- 1964.
Appears to have been a direct video to digital transfer. There are some flaws and roughness. Many times, a squiggle is visible, at the very top of the picture. An inquiry to Clear Block informed me, the defect is present in the master. Not a deal breaker to me, just be aware.
The film quality ranges from fair, to good- very good overall. Appears as 8mm all- color, in original condition. The color balance looks good for the most part. However, there are sections where the balance becomes marginal. No train sounds in this show.
Todd Miller has credits for script and narration. An informative script and a good narrative. This release is an older one, there are no maps or graphics. There is quite a bit of musical background. He points out the uncommon and the usual locomotives as the show progresses. Very good at: locations, cinematographers, years and special highlights.
A multitude of runbys showcase C&O power throughout. Alternative shots from aboard passenger cars and brief loco cab are included, but these are the bulk of camera skake.
Virginian has a feature that offers: steam, diesel, electric and an unusual motor car.
Plenty of cabooses in a variety of paint and types. Model railroaders take note on this one. Atlas Trainman style with the odd blank door end. One never knows what may be seen in a video. Some freight cars are seen, as they pass on a few trains. Watch for a Shelby Mustang next to a farm tractor on an auto rack.
Vignettes of Chesapeake & Ohio has the rare film factor going for it. The story is well told. Film issues are why the rating isn’t higher. Composition such as lighting, shaky camerawork and source tape problems, are all present. Yet, it is a good show of this hard to find road.
Recommended, this release does cover classic C&O.
Rating: 3 Stars