Charleston Beautiful showed the best their fair city had to offer, and what they chose to feature is telling—telephone operators using the latest technology; hospital staff who offered first-rate medical care; and firemen with soaring ladders and nets that, right on film, caught someone jumping from a tall building.
In fact, tall buildings themselves got significant airtime. Over and over, the narrator noted that future viewers may not recognize these scenes, because he said, "Some of these buildings will be, oh possibly, 25 or 30 stories high."
This hopefulness is striking. Remember, 1932 was the height of the Great Depression. The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its lowest depression level one month before this film was shot, and still, shops were open; people were well-dressed on the streets, and the filmmakers saw huge promise in their mountain city.
I don't live in West Virginia, but I hear it's hard the find this kind of optimism today. Can we learn a lesson from this old film? If so, what do you think it is, and what strikes you when you watch our mountain forebears?