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railroad spike from the 1939 film
"Union Pacific," a Paramount Picture directed by Cecil
B. DeMille and starring Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea. This movie and
the spike commemorate the 70th anniversary of the completion of the first
transcontinental railroad. It was an exclusive promotional item given by
the studio for the movie. The spike measures 5 7/8 inches long. In
1939 the premiere of DeMille's "Union Pacific" was staged in Omaha, Nebraska
(Headquarters of UP). They had a three day festival called "Golden Spike
Days" which featured parades, dinners, cast member appearances and of course
the premiere. These spikes were given out to people that attended
the premiere banquet. Additional spikes were given out at both the
East and West Coast premieres. In Omaha they had other movie
related promos pumping both the film and the Union Pacific anniversary.
There was also a smaller spike that was given out along with a faux railroad
ticket that the cast members autographed. Also a program, pins, coins,
study guides etc. One other super item was a large print with a scene
from the film.
Courtesy Alan Brehm, Ray Miller and Karen Fry.
Image courtesy of an Anonymous Donor.
Cecil B. DeMille / Entertainment / Video / Published 1939 / $13.99 / Reviews
Also see director John Ford's silent movie, The Iron Horse, 1924.
List of Railway Movies
Courtesy R&LHS Newsgroup:
> ... In 1938 General Electric built a two-unit 4-6-0/0-6-4 steam turbine electric locomotives, numbers 1 and 2, for the Union Pacific Railroad. ... These locomotives toured the U.S. promoting the 1939 motion picture "Union Pacific" with Joel McCrae and Barbara Stanwyck double headed behind vintage number 58, an 1860's 4-4-0. They showed the earliest interest by the UP in turbines. ... —Bob Cosgrove
> ... "UP 4-4-0 #58" was actually former Virginia & Truckee #18 in movie dress. The locomotive was built in 1873 in the Sacramento Shops of the Central Pacific to designs by CP master mechanic A. J. Stevens, and is one of two Steven-designed CP Sacramento built 19th century locomotives left in existence. V&T #18 is presently owned, restored and displayed by the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City. The other Stevens engine is Central Pacific suburban tank loco 2-6-2T #233, recently acquired by the California State Railroad Museum from the Pacific Locomotive Association. It will be restored and displayed in the planned Railroad Technology Museum of CSRM, to be located in the old CP-SP Sacramento Shop buildings where it was originally built in 1882. —Kyle K. Williams Wyatt, Historian/Curator, California State Railroad Museum