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Media Life

New stamp resurrects movie memories

Gregory Hines honored by U.S. Postal Service
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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The Auburn-area’s links to greatness through the many films shot in or near the community has produced another one of those quirky, roundabout claims to fame.

In this instance, it has to do with a new stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service in honor of Gregory Hines as part of its Black Heritage series.

Hines, who found fame as a dancer, actor and choreographer, filmed part of one of his lesser-known movies in Georgetown. The shoot for what was initially called the “The Ox and the Eye” took place in 1995 and while the independent film - renamed “Good Luck” on release - fared well among reviewers, the public stayed away in droves.

For a few days, however, Georgetown was the scene of a movie shoot that included a touch football game on the rustic Main Street of the Gold Rush town.

“Good Luck” couldn’t rank with some of Hines’ biggest films but it’s part of his legacy and now there’s a forever stamp to keep his memory alive.

 

Check Your Change

The new stamp is a yet another sliver of a fame for an area that already has a set of stamps honoring artist Martin Ramirez. His 1954 “Untitled (Cars and Buses)” and four others were issued in 2015 by the U.S. Postal Service. All were created while Ramirez was a patient at North Auburn’s DeWitt State Hospital mental institution.

Auburn is also represented on a $1 coin - the Sacagawea dollar. The obverse image shows Sacagawea with her infant son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau lived along the American River in the Auburn area between 1848 and 1857, worked as a clerk at an Old Town Auburn hotel in 1861 and died in Oregon in 1867.

The coin was first released into general circulation in 2000 but never caught on with the public. Since 2012 it’s been available to collectors only.

 

Alpine’s demise

Rummaging through files turned up a Journal gem from January 1990 that provides further history on the Alpine supermarkets that served Auburn so well from the 1960s through the 1980s.

The story was essentially a funeral notice for the Alpine Plaza store, which was to close days after the article appeared.

Jim Kaufmann, president of the six-member Alpine partnership, said the locally owned landmark at Luther Road and Highway 49 was being run on a day to day basis after financial setbacks. He said that the partnership had been trying to raise money to buy groceries to keep going.

Like a lot of things, the end came quickly.  A month earlier, the partnership closed its Fulweiler Avenue store, moved its stock and consolidated its work force at the Luther Road store. The Bel-Air supermarket nearby would open days later.

Alpine blamed competition, fewer customers and a shift in buying habits. People were only buying the sale items Alpine was offering to bring shoppers in - product the store was selling at cost or below cost. All that good will built up over the years couldn’t keep up with market changes and sale items elsewhere.

The Media Life column on the Alpine markets drew a lot of interest and plenty of warm, fuzzy nostalgia. Truth was though, the end was not a happy occasion as Auburn shoppers deserted the business for the shiny newcomer down the street with the sale prices that couldn’t be beat.

Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com or 530-852-0232. Thomson is a state and national award winning reporter.