Much has been written here and elsewhere about H. Lee Waters, the photographer from Lexington, N. C., who in 1937 and 1940 made movies of our town and its people.
Mr. Waters work has now been immortalized. The Library of Congress, which each year adds 25 significant motion pictures to its National Film Registry, has chosen one of Mr. Waters’ films for its 2004 list. From their press release:
Kannapolis, NC – This example of a “town portrait” was chosen to honor itinerant filmmakers who made films of ordinary people on typical days during the 1930s and 1940s. They showcased this footage (in return for a portion of the receipts) at local cinemas prior to the Hollywood feature films. The surviving footage of the towns and its people often became the sole record of these cultural enclaves. H. Lee Waters, who made movies in 117 towns across North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee, filmed all of Kannapolis’ separate communities, slyly making sure to include lots of shots of children to attract the entire family to the theaters.
Mr. Waters is in good company. Two other films that made the list this year were Ben-Hur and Schindler’s List.
Read the Library of Congress’ complete press release.
In mid-2003 Duke University got a $10,000 federal grant to restore and preserve nine of Waters’ films. It was the second such grant. Duke has a large collection of his work.
Although this artifact does not pertain to Cliffside, it’s a genuine article that Mr. Waters used to promote his movies. Perhaps you have one he passed out in Cliffside.