The Last Hometown – S01E03 – FIRE! (1901)


This episode of The Last Hometown is a short one. The subject, a 1901 film titled “FIRE!” itself is under five minutes long. It is a silent film made in the earliest days of the history of film. I thought it was only right that before I got any farther into the podcast that I covered this short little film. As I mentioned in the first episode FIRE! is the earliest example of a disaster movie that I could find, and thus I feel like I need to give it some credit and respect. After all… without this film I might not have a genre of films and media to be talking about in this podcast.



It is 1901. This year we see The Great Fire of 1901 take place in Jacksonville Florida on May 3rd.  May 17th marks the Panic of 1901 where the New York Stock Exchange Crashes. In July the First Fingerprint Bureau is established in Scotland Yard for the purpose of catching criminals. On September 2nd Vice President Theodore Roosevelt (my favorite president!) would utter the famous line “Speak softly and carry a big stick” at the Minnesota State Fair (my home state!) President McKinley shot on September 6th and eventually dying on the 14th. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt would then be sworn in to take over becoming the 26th President of the United States.  On October 16th President Roosevelt would invite Booker T. Washington to the White House which causes a spike in racial violence in the southern United States.

1901 would include the births of notables such as Carl Barks, Ub Iwerks, Gary Cooper,Louis Armstrong and Walt Disney


Hey there, This being a podcast about Disasters in the Mass Media means that there are bound to be spoilers… so this is your one and only warning… If you do not like spoilers than maybe turn back now. In addition, I dont do Trigger Warnings. It is up to you to look at the episode description and deceide if this is something that might upset you! Having said all that… Welcome, to the Last Hometown.


Fire! was a silent short film about a fire team responding to a home fire. The film opens with an officer noticing smoke coming from a building and calling out for help. Unable to gain entry into the building himself to help those inside he runs to the Hove Fire station to alert the Fire Team. The team get their tankers attached to the horses and we see the teams rushing down the street to the rescue. At this point we switch scenes into the house where we see a man awoken by the smoke and flames. Futility trying to extinguish the flames he finds his escape path blocked and is soon over come by smoke only to have a fire fighter smash in the window douse the flames and rescue the man. Outside the team continues to fight the flames while the man frantically tells them he still has family inside. The heroic firefighters rush in and rescue a child and then save another by catching them in a blanket as they jump from a window as we fade to black. When we return a little about the background of the film.


After these Messages”

promo for another podcast


FIRE! was Produced and Directed by James Williamson. Williamson was born in Pathhead Scotland on November 8th 1855. He was raised in Edinburgh where he trained to be a Chemist (what we in the states call a pharmacist) after spending time in London and Kent he would eventually return to Hove where he would own his own Chemist and Photographic business. It was this Photographic Business that allowed him to start producing his own films in the late 1800’s and become part of the lose collection of film pioneers known as “The Brighton School”. In total over the course of his career he would direct 131 films. Most notably among them Attack on a China Mission, Stop Thief!  and the film he is best known for, The Big Swallow,  which is remembered for its unique use of the extreme close-up and trick photography. Williamson would live to the age of 77 dying on August 18th 1933.

In 1903 there was a  very similliar film released by the name of “The Life of An American Fireman”.  The film was made in 1902 for the Edison Manufacturing Company and was directed by a man by the name of Edwin S Porter. Although FIRE! was released two years earlier, for some reason “The Life of An American Fireman” seems to get more attention from film historians. in my opinion there is no doubt that the creation of the film was very heavily influenced by the story of FIRE! The story was just spruced up  with the addition of close-ups into the story flow.


By todays standards there is nothing to get really excited about in FIRE!, but from a historical stand point it is a very import film. It was one of the very first films to mix indoor and outdoor shots to tell a linear story. Today we might not find much entertainment in the short, but we do owe it our respect for starting us down the road of story telling in film.


The next episode of The Last Hometown will be about three audio drama podcasts followed by the first end of the world themed episode based on that 1980’s movie masterpiece Night of the Comet! Podcast related, In the world outside the podcast, I saw a trailer for a film called The Hurricane Heist today. With a tagline of Six Hundred Million at Six Hundred Miles an Hour. The film, from what I see in the trailer, is a bank job story told in the backdrop of a hurricane.  It looks like it might be right up there with GeoStorm. Light on the plot but big on the special effects. I hope to see it in the theater when it comes out in a couple weeks, after all with effect heavy films like this the big screen is the best place to see these films.

Playing Now

Right Here and Right Now I have been enjoying a major marathon of genre movies. I have watched both the original and made for tv mini-series remake of the Andromeda Strain. The Thing, Whiteout and The Towering Inferno as I sit and work on work projects. I am also re-reading the comic series DMZ in the hopes of doing the first non-film related episode in the very near future!

Credits and Social Media

Thank you for listening to the show. If you enjoyed it I would love to have some reviews on your favorite podcast sight. In addition I love interacting with people online. I am a stay at home dad who home schools so most of my daily interaction is with kids… So at times my internet friends are the source of my sanity! You can find me on on facebook at and on Twitter and Instagram at user name lasthometown. If you are interested in my movie watching habits you can give me a follow on Letterboxd again under the name lasthometown, and of course you can always find us at our website  Our theme is made from Audio Clips from Resident Evil the movie, Television Static and “Crypto” by Kevin MacLeod at Licensed under Creative Commons By Attribution 3.0 Hope to see you out there! Again, thank you for listening until next time, stay safe and I will see you in the bunker.

Everything Ends – Planet of the Apes

planet_of_the_apes_-__h_-_1968.jpgIt was 50 years ago today that Planet of the Apes was unleashed upon the world.

The movie would go on to spawn four sequels, a live action television show, a cartoon, a remake and a reboot series of an additional three movies. Not to mention the comics, the novels, the dolls… I mean Action Figures… video games and so much other merchandise…


Made on a budget of 5.8 Million Dollars, the original movie would end up with a box off total of 33.4 Million Domestic.

The Planet of the Apes was one of those defining movies for me. Those childhood movies that made me into the great big geeky freak that I am today. They are my comfort food so to speak… when I end up getting really sick and laid up for multiple days it is always the POTA series that comes out to keep me company on the couch as I curl up and whimper like a great big man child with the flu… Many a time have I sat and watched all of the movies while drinking tea and the TV show while strung out on Day-Quil…


I personally think it was the success of POTA that would open the door at 20th Century Fox to the idea of Star Wars… That would make them believe a sci-fi tale might be worth the gamble. I think it deserves far more credit for helping to open the doors and start us down the road to the world of popular geek culture that we live in today.

Happy Anniversary Planet of the Apes! Here is to another glorious decade for the franchise!

One of the greatest opening monologue in all of Hollywood History.

Retro League of Extraordinary Bloggers – Saturday Matinee!

RETROleaguelogo_mediumWhat movie is, or was, your “go to” Saturday matinee — the comfort movie you always popped into the VCR on a rainy Saturday afternoon, the movie you watched over and over again, driving your parents crazy while you recited the lines along with the characters on the screen?

RETRO LEAGUE POST: I was not taking part in the league at the time this subject was originally covered. So I have deceided to slowly go back and cover all the previous topics in a series of Thursday Posts that I will be Calling Retro-League!


For my Matinee movie we have to go back to the summer of 1982 and the re-release of Raiders of the Lost Ark into the second run theaters.

Raiders of the Lost Ark was released June 12th 1981.  In the summer of 81 my father was ill. We would later that fall find out it was Cancer. He would pass on that October, so I would not see the movie in the theater that summer.

In the summer of 1982 they would re-release Raiders into Raiders was my escape in the summer of 82.

From the second the production company logo merged and became one with the opening landscape I was hooked.

That summer I would spend countless hours in the theater watching the $.25 matinee of the movie over and over again. I must have seen the movie an easy 30 times over the course of that summer.


Raiders is one of those films that no matter how many times I have seen it, even to this day, I can always watch it again.

My favorite part of the movie has always been the opening. I love the mysterious figure of Indiana as he defends himself against betrayal and makes his way to the lost temple.

Most of all though I love when he sets off the temple trap and is chased by the giant rolling stone. It has a true Saturday Serial feel to it.



As you read this, I am actually off having an adventure of my own. I am away at summer camp working as a counselor this week for 150 Elementary School age children… Thanks to scheduling software though I was able to prep this post in advance for your enjoyment!