The Santa Fe Odyssey: Volume I

"Being a post-war baby-boomer raised on that infernal box we call a TV, I am not much of a watcher. Most of TV leaves me cold and, worst of all, insulting. One might think, therefore, that the purchase of a VCR would have been a priority, and I would spend much of my couch potato hours watching my favorite railroad videos. Not true, as I purchased my first VCR only days ago!

"With the latest household toy hooked up and my thumb poised above the "play" button on the remote, I am ready to watch Santa Fe Odyssey. This tape has just been released and is an exciting addition to the steadily growing library of Santa Fe oriented videos.

"Actually, this is a two tape set, containing over two and a half hours of viewing. The tapes, comprised of footage shot by Emery Gulash, cover the Santa Fe from Cajon to Chicago over a span of almost 30 years beginning in 1952. It's all color, transferred from 16mm film, and has the original soundtrack. Upon first viewing, the group of us that watched the tape thought the sound had been "dubbed", but later realized that this was the genuine stuff! Both soundtrack and film quality are excellent.

"As one would expect, most of the footage is of the Santa Fe's crack passenger trains, but there is a fair amount of freight train action as well. One of the more interesting scenes is of a local zebra striped switcher performing a "flying switch" with a short combine somewhere out west (I can't be more specific because I only saw the tape once). There is lots of steam and smoke, especially the Alco PAs. The narration is fairly accurate, taken from the photographer's notes. The passenger train experts in our group noticed only a couple of errors in identifying trains. It was also noted that Mr. Gulash shot the whole train as a rule, not just the motive power.

"At $99.95 [now $79.95, wm.], you could say the tape is expensive. The tapes are separate chronologically, one covering the classic years up to about 1960, and the other the modern coverage up through 1980. You could divide the cost with a friend, each keeping a tape, provided you both like different eras! Whether you share or not, my recommendation is to get the popcorn popper going because this tape is going to provide hours of TV viewing pleasure." Keith Jordan - Santa Fe Modeler

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