This Week’s Headlines
A lot of ‘Cluck, Pluck and Luck’ (Editorial)
(April 7, 2015) Michael Oates, a maker of documentary films, lives in Wilmington, Del., but he had occasion, a few years back, to set up shop, so to speak, for a couple of years in Georgetown.
By nature and profession curious, he was impressed by the plethora of poultry houses in lower Sussex County and began to wonder about their origin.
“I began talking with people and became fascinated by the industry,” Oates recalled.
“These were family farms, many of them multi-generational. Unlike other business tales where a ‘captain of industry’ led the charge,” Oates said, “this industry’s history combined a number of unlikely ingredients along with local farmers and immigrants, who came up with a recipe for success.”
Oates tells the story in a hour-long documentary entitled “Cluck, Pluck and Luck: The Improbable Early History of Delmarva Chicken Industry,”
It is particularly timely.
The poultry industry on Delmarva is being challenged on two fronts — by environmental activists and Maryland lawmakers — and there is widespread ignorance (or misunderstanding) within the general urban and suburban populations in the state about the whole process of growing chickens and the enormous contribution which the industry makes to the state’s economy and way of life.
“Cluck, Pluck and Luck” will certainly contribute to a general education on the subject.
After nearly a year of research, interviews, production, and editing, the documentary will be premiered this month at two locations.
It will debut on Thursday, April 23 at 7 p.m. in the Wicomico Room of the Guerrieri University Center on the campus of Salisbury University.
Hosted by the Edward H. Nabb Center for Delmarva History and Culture, the viewing is open to the general public.
The following Monday, April 27, the documentary will be shown at 6:30 p.m., in the Theatre of the Arts and Science Center on the campus of Delaware Technical and Community College at Georgetown.
Produced by 302 Stories, Inc. and Berkana, Center for Media and Education, Inc., this documentary will show highlights of the early years of the local chicken industry, from its improbable formation in the 1920s through the 1960s.
It includes photographs, early motion pictures, and interviews with persons knowledgeable about the early years.
Oates says he hopes to place the documentary in the Rehoboth Film Festival and ultimately on the Maryland Public TV.
We wish him all success.
It’s time that Maryland, particularly, tip its hat to the poultry industry in recognition of — and in salute to — what it means to all of us.