Captain January

Last night we watched the delightful Shirley Temple movie “Captain January” which came out in 1935.

I had forgotten that Shirley (“Star”) lives in a lighthouse with the Old Keeper who rescued her from a shipwreck. Unlike our Patos Lighthouse, which was not built to be lived in, (the Keeper’s Quarters were separate), Star and Captain January abide in a cosy little cottage with the lighthouse tower above. One of the first scenes in the movie has Star running into town to buy brass cleaner to polish the Fresnel lens and she ends up doing a dance, of course, with an incredibly young Buddy Ebson.

One items of special note for me was that toward the end of the movie, a telegram announces that the lighthouse will have an automated light installed and that the Keeper will no longer be employed to run the light. I think they give him two weeks notice! When the crew comes to take apart the Fresnel Light, they hold a part to the Captain and call it “old junk”. Unfortunately, this scene was not really fiction as over the years, when lighthouses were decommissioned, lighthouse fittings, including the priceless Fresnel lenses, ended up in junk piles and auctions all over the United States.

We believe our own Patos Fresnel Lens had such a fate, as it is now in private hands in Oregon. Lime Kiln lighthouse has no idea where their lens ended up or if it even still exists.

Patos Lighthouse Fresnel lens, 1958

Patos Lighthouse Fresnel lens, 1958

So by all means, watch the wonderful movie Captain January and ponder what happens when we fail to recognise what future generations will think if we don’t value the things we have now  and consider them for posterity.


One comment on “Captain January

  1. That was both equally intriguing in addition as insightful!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

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