FILM: “Turning Pages” @ the Strand Theater on Saturday

October 27th, 2017, 9:00 am by Greg

By Don Wilcock

You might think that those of us who grew up in the Ozzie and Harriet world of the late ’50s and early ’60s led a 21-inch, black-and-white-TV existence and are all either in a nursing home or six feet under. The documentary film “Turning Pages” – being screened on Saturday afternoon (October 28) at the Strand Theater in Hudson Falls is sure to surprise you.

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It may even shock you.

The film project started five years ago when Bob Van Degna, a 1962 Niskayuna High School graduate, emailed some of his classmates with the idea of making a film interviewing some of the graduates for our 50th high school reunion. In suburban Niskayuna, the 1962 high school class consisted of about 210 students, many of whom, myself included, were children of engineers employed by General Electric. We graduated in the spring and went into the world.

As a life-long journalist, I loved the idea of interviewing 25 of my classmates for this film. Back in the day, I couldn’t wait to get out of Niskayuna High School which I found to be a virtual gated community of hot house flowers, the offspring of over-achieving GE technical eggheads.

Boy, was I wrong!

Bob Van Degna, Anna Polesny and I toured the country from California to New York City in 2012 interviewing classmates for “Turning Pages,” which had its premiere at Proctors in Schenectady the weekend of our reunion. The response to that showing led to a second showing at Proctors’ GE Theater.

People said we captured a very real and gritty story of a group of people all of whom had used their upbringing and
education to change the world in fulfilling lives marked by struggles, huge heartbreaks and even bigger achievements. We may be called the silent generation, but we broke our silence with this film that has been called nothing short of revelatory. More importantly, to a person, the stories are honest and heartfelt.

Director Bob Van Degna, fellow interviewer Anna Polesny and I will introduce the first major showing of our film in several years at 2pm on Saturday. The 86-minute film will be followed by a Q&A session, revealing that this undertaking wasn’t our swan song. What’s happened to all of us in the ensuing five years since that reunion may surprise those who think we’re still reliving those last episodes of “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.”

WHAT: “Turning Pages”
WHERE: the Strand Theater , Hudson Falls
WHEN: Saturday (October 28), 2pm
HOW MUCH: FREE; donations accepted