Throwback Thursday - ‘67 Potato Blossom Queen

Published: May. 12, 2023 at 1:34 PM EDT
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In 1993, the Station Manager of WAGM donated an archive of 16mm film to Northeast Historic Film. The film archive says they have a collection of WAGM stories spanning from 1959 to 1976, which they intend to digitize. In this week’s Throwback Thursday, NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard has a special treat, an interview that hasn’t been broadcast in 56 years.

Much of the early days of television news has been lost to time, either because it was broadcast live and never recorded, previously recorded programs were overwritten, or the recorded media has degraded beyond repair. Through the work of Northeast Historic Film, we are able to bring you an excerpt from the 1967 WAGM Maine Potato Festival Special Report. In this week’s Throwback Thursday we dial the time machine way back to 1967, where WAGM Reporter Wayne Knight interviewed the newly crowned Maine Potato Blossom Queen. Do not adjust your television sets, this story was recorded on 16 millimeter, Black and white sound on film.

“This lovely creature right here is the new 1967-68 Maine Potato Blossom Queen, Ms. Van Buren, her name is Louise Dumais, Louise congratulations.”

“Thank you very much Mr. Knight”

“Some of your thoughts now that you’ve been able to collect them, you’ve had a good nights rest and after the mayhem last night, how does it feel this morning to be the new Maine Potato Blossom Queen?”

“Well now that I’m finally walking on my feet and not on the cloud it feels pretty good”

“Tell me a little about yourself Louise”

“Well I attended Van Buren schools all my life. I graduated from Van Buren District High School and then last year in 66 and 67 I attended a business school in Boston and now I’d like to attend an airline hostess school or become an airline hostess.”

“Well that’s an admirable profession to say the least, are you working in your home town this summer?”

“Yes I am, I’m working part-time at Vaillancourt Oil Company, as a secretary”

“Now, do you have any idea what you have to look forward to in the next year working on behalf of the Maine Potato Industry?”

“I have a slight idea it seems to be wonderful, it’s full of travel, and meeting many wonderful people, but I guess the best to come is not here yet”

“You’re indeed right, you have a great experience ahead of you, I assure you, and once again we want to congratulate you. Ms. Louise Dumais, the new 1967-68 Maine Potato Blossom Queen. Sitting right beside her is her very attractive mother, we’re going to ask her a question. What does it feel like to be the mother of a queen?”

“Well, I really don’t know what to say”

“You haven’t had a chance to collect your thoughts?”

“No, I’m afraid I haven’t”

“Have you been with her all through the pageant last night, did you come down with her yesterday?”

“You’ve been helping her with all the different things you have to do?”

“Helping or bothering, I don’t know, but I was there”

“We’re you as nervous as, I don’t know if you were nervous at all, were you Louise?”

“No, everybody was so great! You didn’t get a chance to be nervous or anything, everybody was helping you out”

“Well thank you both, Mrs. Louis Dumais, and her very charming daughter, the new 1967-68 Maine Potato Blossom Queen, Louise Dumais.”

And that film archive company in Maine has received a federal grant to help with it’s historical preservation efforts.

Northeast Historic Films is located in Bucksport, They’ve been collecting, archiving, and now digitizing film and video from across the state for over 35 years. This year, they received a $341,000 grant from the national endowment for the humanities to help with their work.

“They allow grants up to $350,000 and normally there’s a big match, if you are gonna get money you have to put money in, but this year for whatever reason there was no match. I figured it would be impossible to actually succeed because we wouldn’t apply but we did and we got it. I think there were 2 or 3 other ones granted in maine and 30 something granted across the country I think they must’ve liked the logic, the comprehensive nature of the fact that it wasnt one thing it was all of it and we accumulated all of this stuff” says David Weiss, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Northeast Historic Films.

And coming up tomorrow on Follow Up Friday, Corey Bouchard has more on the importance of film preservation and gives a behind the scenes look at how Throwback Thursday is put together.