Charles Smiley Presents
Length: 1 hour 40 minutes
Time Period: 1990’s + 1970’s.
Locations: Coast Line, Lompoc, Tehachapi Loop, Santa Paula branch, Bakersfield and much more.
Sources: Jeff Perry, Charles Smiley and others.
Charles Smiley maintains a vibrant enthusiasm for all things Southern Pacific. This program features much Coast Line action in California. Largely shot in the 1990’s. Plenty of action on area branchlines and we folow the Saugus Local.
There are many extras included in all Charles Smiley Presents releases. True, factory made silver DVD’s. Custom made maps are numerous. Synced sound and first class audio editing. Masterclass level narratives that convey a treasure trove of information on railroads and history. There are period photos, railroadania and appropriate music within those shows. Chapter menus and well organized programs. Many of his releases could be shown as PBS style features. The high quality is consistent. This one is more of a straight train video.
Besides being a top level producer, Charles is also a model railroader. See the link to visit his railroad. This perspective, provides a unique insight from a modellers viewpoint. Inclusion of vintage trains and period operations can give inspiration to those recreating trains in miniature.
Scarlet and Gray Memories has a focus on contemporary era SP, albeit in the 1990’s. That time period is more interesting than present day trainwatching. Also, less interesting when compared to earlier eras. Using a wealth of excellent action based cinematography, this show is action packed.
Second generation diesel power of mainly EMD units, are the main players. Interspersed are some newer locomotives. Southern Pacific in; classic, speed lettered and Kodachromes in SP and SF. Other liveries include: Rio Grande, Santa Fe, Conrail and Union Pacific. Additional units from other lines too.
Vintage films have a greater presence on the second half of the show. Quality is excellent to good. Obviously, years and sources vary.
Bakersfield contains footage from 1993 and 1971. Yards action is highlighted here. Alco S6, RS32 and GP9, SD9, F7 locomotives are seen. Extended vitage coverage continues at Tehachapi and various locations.
SPSF 1986 merger period is discussed and Santa Fe at Mohave. SP at Cajon Pass in 73.
As with most CSP shows, there is some overlapping footage. Depending on your collection, you may or may not notice. Each program is a stand alone presentation. Any duplication adds to the individual subject.
Overall, Scarlet and Gray Memories is a fine look at the targeted times and subjects. The comparisons to over a 20 year timespan are interesting to see. A must have for fans of Southern Pacific. Charles sets the bar high on his productions. Compared to his other SP releases, this one is just slightly under some of his others. Face it, the 1990’s just weren’t that special. In any case, it does surpass much of the competition.
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars