Film ID: NEFA 12769 Video of 12769 West End Aged Poor's Outing to Benton (1926) WEST END AGED POOR'S OUTING TO BENTON AUGUST 15TH 1923 1923 Visitor TabsDescription This 'local topical' news film records the annual charitable outing of Newcastle’s West End elderly poor to Little Benton. The Mayor, Mayoress and Sheriff of Newcastle attend the event. The film includes a title suggesting that the group have been enlivened by "The Kruschen Feeling," which was a popular catch-phrase in the 1920s taken from an advertising slogan for Kruschen salts. Includes octogenarian tug of war and skipping contests. Title: West End Aged Poor's Outing to Benton. August 15th 1923. The film opens with a large gathering of elderly men and women dressed formally, many wearing conservative Edwardian styles of dress. They are seated or standing in a grass field. Some individuals glance at the camera as it pans across the crowd. Title: Arrival of Lord Mayor & Lady Mayoress & Sheriff. A small group of dignitaries shake hands and pose for camera, one man in a top hat. The Lady Mayoress presents a very old woman with a bouquet. A large group of elderly women and men (mainly women) are seated in rows outside, on chairs or the ground, eating and drinking, a marquee in the background. A number of younger women move amongst the crowd, serving food from large baskets and drink from large jugs. Some smile at the camera. A traditional stone house, a modern terrace of houses and a large steam vehicle advertising “Alfred Bell. Home & Continental Removals” appear in the background behind a section of seated elderly people, many of whom look towards camera. The Mayor and Sheriff bend down and shake hands with individuals seated on the ground. Title: All over 80 years of age. Total:- 1680 years. Group portrait of a small group of female octogenarians seated in rows. One elderly woman in the front row holds a bouquet of flowers and a balloon on a string. The woman who was presented with flowers by the Lady Mayoress is seated in the front row. The Mayor and Sheriff shake hands with three elderly bearded men, dressed in their best suits. A comic race takes place. Four men holding sticks race towards a finishing rope to which balloons are tied balloons tied. When they reach the tape they attempt to burst them with their sticks. An audience watches from the sidelines. The race is then repeated with a group of women of various ages. Title: Diamond Wedding Couple. An elderly couple pose for the camera. In the background young women are still serving the crowd of “aged poor.” Next, a young woman presents two bouquets to two men, who doff their bowler hats on accepting the flowers. The crowd that surrounds them cheers. Men play tug of war surrounded by a crowd that eggs them on. Title: The `Kruschen' Feeling. Men and women on the outing now dance in couples. Some women dance together and several individual women dance alone gathering up their long skirts. Title: Or the Monkey Gland. A small elderly woman clutching her handbag has a go at a skipping game, the rope held by two men in bowlers. Four women follow with different degrees of success. People in the crowd are laughing as they watch the women skipping. One woman skips successfully for a long time. She then salutes to camera as she skips. A group portrait of all the people on the outing lined in rows follows. All raise their hats, wave and brandish handkerchiefs to camera. A bowler hat is brandished on a walking stick and one man waves his walking stick in the air. Many in the crowd are smiling. The camera pans left and right. End Title: The End Context On the 15th August 1923 Newcastle’s West End elderly poor were treated to their annual charitable outing to Little Benton. A fleet of trams were hired to help carry more than 1,000 men and women some of the way to Glebe Farm, owned by local farmer, Mr Robert Stoker. Entertainment included a picnic, dances, and vigorous skipping and tug of war competitions. Archive records from that time register concerns about the suitability of strenuous sports for many of the old folk, with amusements such as dip tubs suggested as ‘a milder form of amusement’. But, clearly, this energetic bunch captured on film had no intention of acting their age. This unique ‘local topical’ film was probably sponsored by an enterprising cinema manager as entertainment for local audiences before the main feature film of the day. For a few pennies, people could spot themselves, friends or family on the big screen. Despite the sombre reminder of the poverty experienced by some communities in Newcastle, this tongue-in-cheek clip was produced during the “Roaring Twenties” and reflects the popular culture of the day with hip references to “The Kruschen Feeling” and the “Monkey Gland”. One contemporary American journalist noted the 1920s obsession with youth and slimming, remarking that “people now converse in pounds, ounces and calories.” Kruschen Salts were introduced to the British market around 1911 by E. Griffiths Hughes, chemical manufacturers of Manchester and Salford. Bold advertising presented this patented medicine as a rejuvenating, miracle cure-all, and the “safe, healthy way to lose fat,” exhorting consumers to “Get the Kruschen Feeling!” Grandfathers leapt over fences in the adverts, and trend setting magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and Cosmopolitan featured promotions with “before” and “after” pictures, and slogans like “A little daily dose and you too can look 20 years younger.” Many adverts failed to inform readers about the laxative effects of the salts. Anti-aging fever gripped the world in the 1920s, and many journals reported on the bizarre, surgical transplants performed by Dr Serge Veronoff, a French surgeon of Russian extraction, who later published a book called ‘Rejuvenation by Grafting’. In 1923, whilst Newcastle’s youthful silver screeners were enjoying an all-expenses paid outing to Benton, Harry MacElhone, former barman and new owner of the New York Bar in Paris, was looking to re-brand and attract expatriate Americans flocking to the French capital. He created a cocktail with a kick – which he named “The Monkey Gland” after Veronoff’s transplant technique. Over in the United States, Hollywood was playing catch up with the Newcastle movie scene. An Irving Berlin song with the lyrics “If you’re too old for dancing/get yourself a monkey gland” appeared in the Marx Brothers film, The Cocoanut, in 1929. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.