History on film
State's Bicentennial celebrated with showing at History Center
It was 1975 and Lee Majors was a familiar face on the television — that’s when Michael Floyd really got the film bug.
He was teaching in Rogers City, Michigan, at the time and along with a student he created “The Adventures of the Six-Cent Man,” a parody of the popular “Six Million Dollar Man” show which was all the rage at the time.
Flash forward more than 40 years and Indiana is celebrating the state’s Bicentennial.
And now thanks to a little luck, a little right-place-right-time serendipity, the president and founder of the local non-profit Windsong Pictures — which has produced hundreds and hundreds of educational films — is brining Indiana’s official Bicentennial movie to the screen.
The state’s official Bicentennial film, “1816”, will premiere at the History Center on Friday night and have a second showing Sunday.
Spanning thousands of years, beginning with the early Native Americans known as the “Mound Builders” who inhabited the state after glaciers melted to wars with other Native Americans, its official recognized statehood, the Indianapolis 500 and the 21st century, the film is an undertaking years in the making and boasts a cast of over 18,000.
“Nobody else was crazy enough to do it,” said Floyd, when asked how he and his organization came to make the official Bicentennial film.
In reality, it was a chance email he received. A pitch was made, and the state Bicentennial committee pegged Floyd’s organization as the one to make the picture. It helped that a previous films Windsong had done, “The Boyhood of Abraham Lincoln” and one about the canals, had footage that could be used for some B-roll.
Still, to cover so much history in a little more than 100 minutes proved a challenge.
“It’s an incredible undertaking,” Floyd said.
But for those who come, Floyd promises there will be things about Indiana you might not have ever known.
For instance, Floyd was waiting to meet with a student at the Wayndale Library earlier this year when he came across a four volume series on the state’s history. He perused one of the volumes and came across a man named Harold Garns, an architect born in Indiana who became famous after his death in 1989.
He’s credited as the creator of the modern Sudoku puzzle.
“That name didn’t mean a thing to me before May,” said Floyd of Garns. “Who would’ve thought something like Sudoku came from here.”
In his 40-plus years of making movies or being involved in the process, Floyd has worked with thousands upon thousands of students and actors of all ages — all for basically free, giving them experience while producing pictures in hopes of enlightening while entertaining.
And if you would’ve asked him back in 1975 that’s what he’d still be doing after making “The Adventures of the Six-Cent Man,” he would’ve probably given you a very similar answer:
Who would’ve thought?
The official Indiana Bicentennial film
Showings: Friday, 7 p.m.; Sunday 3 p.m.
The Allen County-Fort Wayne History Center
302 E. Berry St.