The world was abuzz with the discovery of gold in the Klondike on August 16th 1896 as hordes of prospectors, entrepreneurs, adventure seekers and a wide variety of “entertainers” rallied for their stake in what was to be one of the last great gold rushes of the century.
For those entertainers who were unable to make this great adventure to Dawson City, a new medium of entertainment would relay their talents through what was then termed “moving pictures technology.” With the discovery of a treasure trove of ancient films literally frozen in time on a construction site within Dawson City itself, came the last remaining artifacts of an era captured in time.
Michael Gates was curator of the Klondike National Historic Sites beginning in 1978 and was immediately on the scene like a forensic detective searching for historic clues to an era. Along with the director of the Dawson City Museum, Kathy Jones (now Gates), the two of them worked for years piecing together the story of the incredibly vibrant social life Dawsonites enjoyed.
Michael’s new book, Hollywood in the Klondike, reflects not only on the entertainment in Dawson City during the Gold Rush era, but the variety and magnitude of entertainers featured throughout the world. Actors, actresses, live footage of the gold mining activities in the Klondike and the affect that film was having throughout the far reaches of the planet is summarized in Gate’s newest works.
Hollywood did indeed come north to the Klondike, and this historical reflection is a must read for those with an interest to learn more about what has become one of the most influential technologies of our time.”
Taking a deep dive into the history of Dawson City, Yukon Story Laureate Michael Gates also traces the theatre world of the “Paris of the North,” charting the evolution of the gold rush town, and the amazing people who were drawn there by the lure of gold – and opportunity. Among these were many Klondikers who went on to remarkable careers in the golden days of Hollywood.
The first of two book launch parties will be held on Sunday, September 25th at The Oddfellows Hall in Dawson City, sponsored by the Dawson City Museum and KIAC (Klondike Institute of Art and Culture) and Harbour Publishing. The doors will open at 6:30, and the admission is free. There will be a book signing (books available courtesy of The Dawson City Museum), a short reading, and the screening of some of the films found buried in Dawson in 1978.
The event in Whitehorse will be in the Grey Mountain Room at The Mt. Mac Recreational facility on Tuesday, October 4th. The doors open at 6:30 and the program is free. Everybody is welcome There will be a book signing (books available courtesy of Mac’s Fireweed Books), food and refreshments, door prizes, musical entertainment, a reading and screening of some of the films found buried in Dawson in 1978. Sponsored by The Yukon Historical and Museums Association, Mac’s Fireweed Books and Harbour Publishing.
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“Trapper Dan your Renaissance Man”