Family Film Archive

Mexico 1940 - In 1940, brothers Edmund Philo Martin (1904-1983) and Gerald Warwick Martin (1909-1988), traveled to the great country of Mexico, to climb the strato-volcano, Pico de Orizaba (elevation: 18,491'). The adventurous duo traveled by train from New York City to the capital of Mexico, Mexico City (Ciudad de Mexico), stopping for a time to take in the city, the culture, the sights. From there, they traveled by train to the small town of Orizaba, located near to the volcano. The trip to the volcano was on horseback, in the company of their trusty guides. The arduous climb to the summit was of course on foot.

The first four vidoes in this collection include the original 1940 film taken by during the trip, a short musical animation of the graphic image of the Mexican fellow playing the guitar that appears toward the beginning of the 1940 film, a second animation of the same image speaking the introduction to the 1940 film, as recorded by Edmund Philo Martin in the early 1970s, and finally a short video showing a 'Then (1940) and Now (2012)' comparison of specific sites in Mexico City, using clips taken from the 1940 film and from George and Paul's video of their 2012 trip to Mexico City.

The orignal 1940 film is silent. In the early 1970s, Edmund Philo Martin, and his sons Edmund Jr. and George, recorded the aforementioned introduction, along with a complete 'sound track' to accompany the film. The sound track comprises authentic period Mexican instrumentals and their own hand-crafted sound effects. These audio recordings have a history of their own. They were made on a monaural 8-track reel-to-reel tape deck. The deck and tapes survived George's two house moves, and a couple of decades sitting in the unheated barn at his farm, exposed to years of seasonal temperature and humidity changes. About 2005, George decided to retrieve them from the barn and see what was left of the audio. Needless to say, the audio tape was degraded and the deck's vacuum tube electronics were sporting a bad hum and poor amplification, rendering the recordings nearly inaudible. After several days of audio restoration work by George, using his husband Paul's quasi-professional multi-track recording deck, and state of the art Adobe and Sony audio processing software, the original audio was salvaged. The result is as you here it in the videos.

The fifth video in this collection, also silent, is of a second trip to Mexico, taken in 1941 by Edmund Philo Martin (1904-1983) and his first wife Virginia (Sprague) Martin. George has annotated this video with the names of those locations which he has been able to identify. One location of note is the Great Pyramid of Cholula, atop which was built a church, by the Spanish. A recent video of this site was taken in 2013, by George and Paul, during their trip to Cholula, in the state of Puebla. A link to the video of this trip will be provided here once it is available. Another location of note is El Malacate (The Winch), which still exists in the city of Orizaba, in the state of Veracruz. A recent video of this site can be seen on YouTube El Malacate (YouTube, 2012).

Travel and Sites 1930s-1940s - The videos in this section were taken by Edmund Philo Martin (1904-1983) during trips to domestic and international destinations. These videos focus as much on the destinations and how they were at the time, as on the family members.

Haunts and Memories 1940s-1960s - The videos in this section were taken by Edmund Philo Martin (1904-1983), and capture a few special moments in the family history. These videos are all about the occasions and the family members.