If you want to talk about fine pocket watches or if you have any questions about old cars or steel guitars... then Ed Morgan is the man to find. As a young boy Ed found a fascination with peculiar gizmos and odd contraptions, anything mechanical. This fascination with machines stayed with him and ultimately led to his involvement with the world of motion picture machines.
Ed became an enthusiastic and dedicated moving picture machine operator and joined local 635 in 1958. He worked in just about every movie house and drive-in found in the Triad during the golden era of films in the 50's on through the 80's and quite reluctantly turned off the lacing motors and shut down the lamp house for the last time after the closing of the Hanes Mall Cinema in 1999.
In A Darkened Room
That's where I first met Ed, in the darkened projector room at the Hanes Mall Cinema. He told me to take a seat and we began talking about old cars and steel guitars all the while surrounded by the fluttering whir of a half dozen 35mm film projectors... all running. After about 40 minutes of a delightful discourse I pulled out my pocket watch to check the time; Ed asked to see it. As I passed it to him he was reaching into his pocket a pulled out a fine train engineer's watch. We talked for another hour about watches and clocks. (Yeah, I like them too.)
While we talked on I couldn't help but notice that behind Ed, on the other side of the projection booth, was on an old and yellow document hanging crooked on the wall. It appeared to have the familiar "bug" symbol on it. I asked Ed what it was and he said "Oh, that's the old Charter for 635. I've had it hanging in here since this place opened." He told me how he wound up with it and asked if I thought anyone in the local would be interested in it. I assured him that there were plenty of members that would be honored to see it and take care of it. Ed had to get back to work but before he did he said he was thinking about retiring and was wondering if when he did retire, could he get "one of those Gold Cards". I again assured him that it would be an honor.
Ed walked me to the exit of the booth but stopped short of the door and asked, "Have you ever seen one of these?". He picked up a brass plate with "Union Operator" on it. He told me that one of these used to be on every projector in town. This was all that remained of that golden era of film projection in Winston-Salem... this one plaque... this one man.
Gold For Gold
The Hanes Mall Cinema finally closed it's doors and Ed did retire, not from life or the Local, just from projection. Ed applied for his deserved Gold Card membership and it was of course approved. So on November 26, 2001 Ed arrived at the meeting hall for what he thought would be a simple presentation of his Gold Card. But Ed was in for a surprise. It was arranged to have International President Thomas C. Short do the presentation. President Short said that presenting a Gold Card to a member of the IATSE was one of his great pleasures and honors. President Short took Brother Morgan's hand and thanked him for 43 years of dedicated service as a valuable and participating member of Local 635.
Photos were taken and lots of hands offered to Brother Morgan who over the years has offered to the local his experience, friendship and service to 635 as both Vice-President and President.
After the presentation International President Short swore in new member Patrick Hajduk to Local 635, spoke to the membership about the present status of the IATSE, and openly answered questions from the membership.
Short Visit To NCSA
During President Short's visit, he toured the North Carolina School of the Arts, met with numerous faculty members and spoke to the students and faculty of NCSA's School of Design & Production and the School of Filmmaking. It was quite an education for these students who will soon embark on careers in the entertainment industry and eventually become members of the IATSE.
Local 635 and NCSA thank President short for taking time out from his busy schedule to visit Local 635 and NCSA. It was a visit that will not soon be forgotten, not by the students, not by the membership of Local 635...
and certainly not by Brother C. Ed Morgan.
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||Celebrating a Golden Age
||Lights Up on a New Year
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||In The Limelight