One of the many fascinating facts about Boots Poffenberger, who served a three-year hitch in the Marine Corps during WWII, is that he appeared on a U. S. M. C. recruiting poster along about 1947 or 1948. That fascinating fact led to a most interesting experience for me while watching Turner Classic Movies on Monday.
The Naked City, a 1948 classic film noir which was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress in 2007 and was nominated for two Academy Awards, was the TCM feature. It was shot on location in New York City and about two-thirds of the way through the film, one of the detectives who is hot on the trail of the main villain, chases him down the street and past a theater.
As the scene unfolded, I slammed on the pause button and backed up the DVD. There was something about a recruiting poster on a sandwich board in front of that theater that looked very familiar, even for the two seconds that it was on the screen. Sure enough, it was Boots’ poster.
The photo on the left is one I took of the frozen television screen (and a big “thank-you” to Martha for that brilliant idea!) Note the poster that is center left. The photo on the right is a close-up of a Boots’ recruiting poster that is on display at the Williamsport Town Museum.
That was a weird and wonderful moment! I guess that when you spend two years getting to know somebody, you get to know him to the point that you can recognize his picture at a glance even when you’re not looking for it and in a place you would never think to look.
I wonder if Boots ever knew that he was in the movies?
Must be because I still don’t know how I spotted it.
That was pretty amazing! Would this be something you could add as a footnote in your book about him, or has it already gone to press?
It’s already on its way, but I’ll be sure to mention it in any talks I give. I’m also sure that people will be sending me new Boots stories after the book comes out.