Sunday, June 8, 2014

He Served His Country

Looking at History

Post copyright by Doris McCraw

For those who know me, history is a big part of my life. As we honor the people who served our country both overseas and at home, I want to take a moment and remember a Colorado native whose service is not widely remembered.

Born in Mesa County Colorado in 1918 his family moved to Fremont County before he was five.He had two siblings, a brother and sister, but he was the oldest. The family had a restaurant in Florence, Colorado. The whole family helped out, with the parents meeting each other as they changed from morning to evening shift.

At thirteen he got a job in the local theater house and worked for the family owned theaters even after returning home from the war. It took five years to graduate high school because he was working. To find a job in 1931 during the depression is a feat in itself.

He joined the marine corps prior to Pearl Harbor and was stationed in California. A year later he was stationed on the staff of Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner:,  

Allied sailors and officers watch General of the Army Douglas MacArthursign documents during the surrender ceremony aboard Missouri on 2 September 1945. The unconditional surrender of the Japanese to the Allies  officially ended the Second World War.

While on staff it was decided that in addition to written reports, they also wanted photos of the missions. He learned his craft as a photographer while on the ship from Pearl Harbor to the Pacific Theater. Fortunately there was a sailor on board who had studied photography who helped with the learning process of not only how to shoot the photo, but develop the negatives.

By the time he reached  Iwo Jima he had learned his skills well. He earned the bronze star with a V for valor of Iwo Jima. According to his son, his father said he had went ashore on Iwo prior to the invasion to photograph the area.  He also photographed the surrender of the Japanese aboard the Missouri.

Upon returning home he resumed his work in the movie theaters and practiced the skill of photography he learned aboard ship. He died June 30, 1992 of cancer.

Who was this man? Karol W. Smith, best known as the man who helped created the first state film commission in the United States and was Colorado's first state film commissioner.

Main Street in Buckskin Joe

You can read more about Smith in the book: "Film and Photography on the Front Range"
It can be purchased at or

Monday, June 2, 2014

To Live History

To Live History

This post written and copyrighted by Doris McCraw and reposted from Writing Wranglers and Warriors

What is it like to live history? There are numerous ‘towns’ and ‘ranches’ that allow visitors to watch living history. Some of the more famous are Colonial Williamsburg and Plimoth Plantation. In Colorado there is  Rock Ledge Ranch. There are those who recreate historic battles from the Revolutionary War on.
Then there are people who take on historic character. I know Ben Franklin (Christopher Lowell), Theodore Roosevelt (Don Moon) and Franklin D. Roosevelt (Richard Marrold). Of course there are those who are unique to Colorado history.  Pearl DeVere, the Cripple Creek madam who died of an overdose of laudanum, Poker Alice, a poker player  in the Old West, Wm. J. Palmer founder of Colorado Springs and his wife Queen and James Burns, the Cripple Creek magnate who was one of the owners of the famous Portland Mine on Battle Mountain near the town of Victor, Colorado.
Theodore Roosevelt The Bad Land Years
All the people who have this passion to pass along history, to create characters as in the living history sites or to research and bring to life people from the past, do so to keep the stories alive. From the period correct costume to having the facts straight, to them the best way to remember the past and learn from it is to relive it and share it.
I too have this passion for history, be it the early women doctors, the labor wars in Cripple Creek/Victor or the founding of Colorado Springs and Colorado, I want to share the wonderful information I find. I also have made it my mission to bring the life of Helen (Hunt) Jackson back to public consciousness. For over twelve years I have researched and performed as this amazing woman. For me and those others who have this passion it is not an option to not do this. We live history because we don’t want to lose history. History is the stories of our lives. As writers we tell stories, as historic characters we do the same. As I prepare to take part in the “Think You Know History” series, I want to share the passion to live history.

Follow my haiku post five days a week at:
Below is the link to my non-fiction piece on the first state film commissioner in the United States included in this book.
“Film & Photography on the Front Range” can be purchased online at: