From the March 11, 1927 edition of the Gazette:

If the heath hen are booming, can spring be far behind?

Four hundred feet of moving pictures, showing the antics of mating heath hens were made by Lawrence E. Ellis, staff photographer of the Fox News Reel of Boston last Saturday morning. These pictures will be shown all over the United States and will serve to acquaint the general public with the “little brown bird” who transforms himself into a weird monstrosity when mating.

The name of the Island will appear on the screen with these pictures, with the explanation that this is the only place in the world where the heath hen is found.

Warden Edward F. McLeod, who escorted Mr. Ellis, stated that all conditions were favorable for the filming of the birds on Saturday morning. Two previous attempts had been made, but due to weather conditions, nothing was accomplished. On Saturday, however, the weather was fine, and three o’clock saw the warden and photographer in the blind. Ten birds showed themselves on the field, of which seven were taken in a group.

Nearly all of the pictures were “close-ups,” showing all the details of plumage, “booming-sacs,” and so on. These pictures will probably be shown in the Island theatres at an early date.

The perfection of the Vitaphone and its successful introduction to the movie public which greeted it with something akin to awe is of rather particular interest to Martha’s Vineyard. Dr. Frank B. Jewett, president of the Bell Telephone Laboratories, the research organization which perfected the Vitaphone, is a summer resident of Vineyard Haven. Henry Hadley, associate conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, who conducts the orchestra in its Vitaphone programs, is well known to all Vineyarders and especially to all residents of Vineyard Haven, where he has often been heard at Mrs. MacArthur’s musical evenings. Otto von Koppenhagen, who is a member of the orchestra, spent several summers in Edgartown with Bernard Wagenaar, who was himself at one time a member of the orchestra. John Barrymore was the star of two of the first three picture featured on the Vitaphone program. His wife, known in the literary world as Michael Strange, spent last summer in Edgartown. Henry B. Hough, who was until recently in the publicity department of the Western Electric Company and in charge of press information, released to the newspapers the story of this first successful attempt to synchronize sound and action in the movies.

Arthur W. Davis, Esq., has sold a lot of land on the east side of Cottage street, Edgartown, to the Stanely Brothers. The Stanleys will have a house constructed on the lot at once, the contract having been given to the Elmer E. West Co.

The Furber house, so called, on Main street, now owned by Charles S. Simpson, is receiving a new dress of paint at the hands of Painter Stanley M. Smith. This fine house three score years ago was the residence of the late Capt. Francis C. Smith, well-known whaling master, and his large family. Later it was owned and occupied by the late George H. Furber and family, and after Mrs. Furber’s decease was purchased by Mr. Simpson. It has always been well-kept and is one of the most desirable residences in town. It is at present occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Smith, the latter being a niece of Mr. Simpson.

William J. Rotch of West Tisbury was greeting old friends in town on Monday. Many were glad to again grasp the hand of the “Sage of the Midlands,” and hark back to the old days. Mr. Rotch is carrying his years well.

A large flock of wild geese were seen on Friday last — passing over the Island on their way north, said to be an indication that spring is near at hand.

Capt. Levi Jackson took an unexpected dip in the harbor waters on Wednesday when his skiff shot out from under him as he shoved out from the wharf, and the jolly skipper went down all under. Levi, the old veteran, took the incident philosophically, remarking as he reappeared from the depths, “Gosh, this water is cold,” and quickly scrambled to safety.

Foggy weather was unusually prevalent on this section of coast during the past two months. In this connection it is interesting to learn that the fog bell at Edgartown Harbor Light was operated 150 3/4 hours during the month of January and 110 1/4 hours in February. As was once said some years ago, referring to weather and other conditions hereabouts, “Bluefish are very plenty and fogs are very rare!”

Bill Nevin has just discovered a new strong man in the person of one of his mechanics, George Madeiros. George takes a three-penny nail and bends it in his two hands; after that, he straightens them out again, and they break in two. George is very modest about the feat, and attributes his strength to hauling cars home from the South Beach in the summer time. Well, he didn’t say that, but he did state it as a solemn truth that he never had a spare or a jack whenever he happened to be down there.

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox