The romance of the Brigadoon-like mountainous Victorian town of Jim Thorpe has been captured on video in a new DVD entitled "Jim Thorpe 101."
While the video aptly serves as an introduction to the mountains and the Historic District, it does so with elegance and simplicity.
"It reinforces my appreciation for the town," said Jerry Hoare of the Gandy Dancer, a co-producer. "I run it all day on my computer monitor and I never tire of it. Every time I watch it, I see something that I missed that he captured."
By "he," Hoare refers to videographer and editor Pete Blaess. It's easy to see that Blaess put a year of effort into creating this 20-minute tribute to the town. Every shot seems to be taken at the best time of day, during the peak time of the year, and from an interpretive vantage point.
For instance, a five-second clip of a fisherman at Glen Onoko captures a train passing in the background. Blaess probably spent hours creating that image.
The video begins with a tour of the Old Mauch Chunk Historic District from the viewpoint of a passenger riding in a horse-drawn carriage. Interspersing clips from within the carriage and of the carriage pacing up Broadway, the video effortlessly pans the shops, hotels, bed & breakfasts, restaurants and private historic homes.
"It was to be something people could take home and share with families and friends because it is hard to describe the town if you don't have photographs," Hoare said. "That's what this video does."
"Jim Thorpe 101" began as the brainchild of Pete Terp, owner of Pufferbellys Railroad Gifts in Jim Thorpe.
"I inherited some old post cards of the Jim Thorpe/Mauch Chunk area and thought of reproducing them for sale," he said. Years ago, people would come into a town and go home with postcards."
After ruminating on the idea, he thought, "Let's do this in a more modern way with a souvenir DVD which would cover the old postcards and modern scenes as well. It would encompass Mauch Chunk/Jim Thorpe, Glen Onoko, and the railroads-but it would be kept short and sweet and inexpensive."
Terp brought in Jerry Hoare and Victor Izzo to contribute images, and Pete Blaess as the videographer.
In contrast with many videos, they opted to go with a minimum of narration.
"Most is ambient sound so the purchaser can take it home and talk over the DVD to tell people where they were and what they saw," Terp said.
"I came up with the horse and carriage view point of a tour of the town up Broadway and down Race Street," he added. "Everything blossomed out from there."
They worked with Kyle Hoppes of Crystal View Carriage Services for the horse-drawn carriage scenes.
Ask why he began the project, Terp replied, "People come here and enjoy their experience. Many people take pictures-current pictures, but they don't know what things were like in the past. This is a good way to go home with a souvenir with a lot of the images on how things looked in the past and how they look today."
"Pete is a great videographer and a great editor," Terp said. "It took him a year and he did his own photography. He'd come up bright and early on a Sunday morning to get shots where the subjects were better lit.
"I'm impressed by the quality," Hoare, a professional photographer himself, agreed. "It looks like the work of a professional video company."
Copies of the "Jim Thorpe 101" DVD are available at Pufferbellys, 36 Susquehanna Street in Jim Thorpe at 570-325-2528, and the Gandy Dancer, 12 Hill Road in Jim Thorpe at (610) 533-3556.