The footage was found by St. Louis filmmaker Geoff Story at an estate sale, and according to St. Louis Public Radio, he has plans to make a documentary from it the rest of the footage he’s found!
As a gay man, Story is fascinated by the brittle, flickering scenes that include a uniformed World War II soldier kissing another man.
“There was such a beauty in that moment,” Story said. “I kind of couldn’t believe I was seeing it.”
Story stumbled upon the films in the mid-1990s, a half century after the pool party, at an estate sale. It was at the Lindell Boulevard home of the now-deceased Buddy Walton, widely known as St. Louis’ “hairdresser to the stars.”
From Eleanore Roosevelt to Ethel Merman, whenever celebrities and dignitaries came to town, they all went to Walton’s salon at The Chase, said Walton’s niece Susie Seagraves.
“Queens and presidents wives and movie stars — he was always around fancy places and fancy things,” Seagraves said. “He had a beautiful life.”
Story says that Walton and his partner Sam Micatto were known for their pool parties, but the footage is a gift and an insight into a time when such gatherings were clandestine:
The haunting images are confirmation that gay men did live and love at a time when no one dared to even speak of same-sex attraction. Story is amazed that the men allowed a camera to capture home movies in this sacred space.
“I just knew that it was gold, it was something special,” Story said.
Check out the short clip above!