“Turlock – A Historical Documentary” Big Screen Premiere and Centennial Celebration

An estimated 700 people celebrated Turlock’s Centennial Celebration while attending the premiere of “Turlock: A Historical Documentary.” Pre-recorded video messages from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Senator Dianne Feinstein were shown congratulating Turlock on its Centennial Celebration.

The Turlock film began with a quote from a January 23, 1908, Turlock Journal saying “Third rate cities like San Francisco will now please take off their hats to the City of Turlock. No longer will these little towns take a shy of us and our dignity, for we have passed the stage of the country hamlet, where the corner grocery used to was, and the inhabitants ate cheese and crackers out of the groceryman’s store of these old standbys. No sir! We are it.”

Many visitors and Turlock immigrants, recent and longstanding, came out to a festive dinner at Crane Park that was followed by the “Turlock” premiere. Those of us who born and raised in Turlock were very excited to be part of history in the making as we celebrated our past.

Turlock Centennial Co-Chair Sharon Silva preceded the start of the film with many gift-giving acknowledgements to Honorary Chair Mayor John Lazar, Co-Chair Dr. Robert Santos DVM, Script Writer/Turlock Historian Scott Atherton, and Filmmakers Michael Everett & Dustin Veneman, of The Creation Lab. Thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars were spent on this project.

Whether those attending were Turlock proud, history buffs, and/or just active people within the Turlock community, all were treated to a high definition showing of “Turlock” at the Turlock Community Theatre.

Telling the story of Turlock first began in conversation in 2006 by filmmaker Michael Everett who owns The Creation Lab. Over 450 hours of interviews were conducted with 47 people, 44 of them making it into the film. Thousands of pictures were examined for use. 6-8 terabytes of high definition footage was shot. The Turlock documentary was funded with a $50,000 loan by the City of Turlock.

The film included low flying helicopter footage of Turlock, re-enactments of some stories, old historic pictures, great interview segments, and original music.

The Turlock documentary’s intention was to tell the factual history of Turlock in 85 minutes while trying to make it some what entertaining and visually pleasing. Much of the history was supported by direct descendants of Turlock founding families. Many Turlock people and families were mentioned and not to name drop or exclude others, but in the effort to point out defining parts of Turlock’s history. It is suggested throughout the film that many people have and are contributing to our great city.

Dr. Robert Santos is shown saying, “…I think if those early pioneers looked at us today, I think they’d be very proud of what they created and what we’ve maintained.”

Turlock’s four living Mayors shared their insight through interviews as well.

Mayor John Lazar says, “The heart and soul of Turlock is its people, and you’re only as good as those you live amongst. I think we have the best little city in the whole country.”

Former Mayor Curt Andre says “I was recently re-reading Caswell’s defining book on Turlock, Stream in a Thirsty Land. The very last page in the very last chapter as the author tries to look forward some (this was in 1972), he writes Turlock hopes to be a very pleasant town of nice homes with many trees and beautiful landscaping but that the quality of life should be the defining dream.’ He finishes by saying that time will tell whether reality meets that dream.”

Andre ends the film by saying “I think we’ve met that dream.”

Everyone will learn something about Turlock from this film. Many of us went away excited and motivated to keep contributing to our great city.

The premiere experience was great but the film can hold its own when viewed anywhere on DVD.

DVDs of “Turlock – A Historical Documentary” may be purchased from the Turlock Chamber of Commerce.

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