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Misericordia hosting BM Expo and Historical Association spring meeting April 17
03-22-13

Wyoming Valley’s silent motion picture production era topic of Historical Association meeting.
Misericordia University is hosting the 2013 Back Mountain Chamber, Business & Community Expo, and the spring meeting of the Back Mountain Historical Association on Wednesday, April 17 beginning at 4 p.m. Both events are open free to the public and business community. The Expo is being held from 4-7 p.m., while the Historical Association’s presentation is from 7-9 p.m.

“This is an excellent way to bring together the community and Back Mountain businesses and showcase all the Back Mountain has to offer,’’ said Elva Valentine, owner of valentine’s Jewelry and co-chair of the event. “Misericordia University is a wonderful venue to host this worthwhile event.’’

The Expo is being held from 4-7 p.m. It will offer more than 60 Back Mountain businesses and entrepreneurs that are considering establishing or relocating their businesses to the region an opportunity to showcase their wares and services with prospective clients and fellow business owners. The Expo also provides businesses a community platform to outline how they contribute to the economic, social and cultural well-being of the Back Mountain.

“Our Back Mountain region has so much to offer to our neighbors and friends,’’ said Alison Zurawski, co-chair of the Expo’s planning committee. “The Expo is a community effort to highlight our businesses and the beautiful regional communities, as well as the many unique retail shops, restaurants, and recreational and cultural opportunities that everyone can enjoy and participate in.’’

Student volunteers in Misericordia University’s Business Professional Association, as well as students in Penn State-Wilkes-Barre’s Ambassador’s Club are assisting with organizing and running the event. The MU and PSU mascots also will make a special appearance along with the mascot from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

The public is invited to attend the Back Mountain Expo, starting at 4 p.m. An array of fabulous door prizes will be awarded to attendees and an incredible display of refreshments will be provided by two very community-focused businesses, Gerrity’s Supermarkets and Fire and Ice Restaurant. Businesses can register for limited exhibit space by logging on to www.BackMountainChamber.org

Wyoming Valley’s silent motion picture production era will be the focus of the spring meeting of the Back Mountain Historical Association at Misericordia University from 7-9 p.m. in Lemmond Theater at Walsh Hall. With the assistance of F. Charles Petrillo, author of “Harvey’s Lake,’’ participants will be transported back in time through an interactive display of historical photographs and personal reflection.

The United States Motion Picture Corp., in Forty Fort, Pa., produced several dozen silent movie comedies between 1915 and 1920 under the Black Diamond and Rainbow Comedy brand labels. The local films were shown nationally and internationally, including to troops overseas during World War I. The company was led by Daniel L. Hart, a nationally known playwright and later mayor of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Only a handful of the Forty Fort films have survived. The company has been extensively studied by Dr. Noreen O’Connor, of the Department of English at King’s College, and local historian Attorney Petrillo. They will present the company’s history and examples of the company’s films, including “His Neglected Wife,” recently discovered in a New Zealand film archive and preserved by the National Film Preservation Foundation in San Francisco, Calif.

The United States Motion Picture Corp. was located to the rear of the intersection of Wyoming Avenue and Slocum Streets in Forty Fort, but filmed many location scenes around the Wyoming Valley including the Back Mountain and the Hotel Sterling. The studio was leased to Serpico Productions to film the 1922 serial drama, “A Woman in Grey.” Afterwards, the studio closed and the site is now largely a residential area. O’Connor has also created a website for the local silent film company at www. blackdiamondcomedies.org.

Light refreshments will be served in the lobby of Insalaco Hall following the meeting. The Back Mountain Historical Association offers local history presentations every April and October. The presentations are free and open to the public. For more information about the bi-annual meetings, please contact Carol Fahnestock at Misericordia University at (570) 674-8036 or e-mail her at cfahnest@misericordia.edu.