Irv & Kirk - April 2019 - Audio Excerpt
This documentary project is dedicated to Charles Irving Jarvis Jr. Some folks called him Charles, but he went mostly by Irv. Irv was consulting on this documentary and thankfully we have an interview with him talking with last summer before he passed in October. He was not crazy about being on camera; he was always more comfortable directing as he had been directing most of his life. Born into the entertainment industry, Irv grew up on Lake Kenosia just a couple miles from the The Great Danbury State Fair -- the Fairgrounds often his playground. His dad, C. Irving Jarvis Sr., was Assistant GM at the Fair for several decades, working alongside owner John W. Leahy and helping to create the Fair's unique and endlessly entertaining atmosphere. Irv's mom, Isabel, also worked at the Fair for many years in the Main Office at the entrance of the Bigtop.
In high school Irv led a Big Band orchestra as a drummer and performed weekends all around Danbury and at Peach Lake. He was a DJ at WLAD, served in the Korean War where he also did some DJ work, then began his directing career in Ohio directing live TV. He and his wife Connie, kids Kara and Kirk, moved back to CT in 1963 where Irv became a TV Producer/Director for WPIX in NYC. At one point Irv was directing multiple shows at one time for metromedia TV, including "The Magic Garden," "Time for Joya," and the creative force behind the original holiday "Yule Log." His wife Connie, an extremely talented actress, played many lead roles in local and regional theatre while studying acting in New York City. After retiring from WPIX in 1979, Irv began free-lance directing for IBM and Pepsi, then embarked on several independent documentaries: "The Great Danbury State Fair," "ACOT, The Golden Years of Racing." "Come Fly With Me - The Connecticut Model Airplane Club" and "NEMA, Celebrating 50 years of Racing." Irv also raced Midget cars well into his 70's throughout the Northeast.
In 2006, my dad and I moved to South Jersey where we began doing environmental and community-orientated documentaries. In the latter years he passed the "directorial" torch on to me. I learned the craft of documentary filmmaking by working with him and we had lotsa great talks at the end of a video shoot. Each morning Irv would get a paper, coffee and a donut and drive 3 miles south down the road to where the road meets the bay. From there, he would look out over the water and see the casino-riddled skyline of Atlantic City, where he was born and resided until the age of 8.
For this documentary project about the Fair, Irv had been there and done that. But when Irv's nephew Rich came around saying he wanted to do a show about the racing days at the Danbury Racearena, it was an opportunity we could not pass. For me, it was an opportunity to finally get my dads persepective on the Fair and Racearena. I tried to get him on camera another time at the end of last summer but he said, "can't you just record my voice without me on camera?" I said, "Okay. I'd rather have you on camera but let's hit the play button and talk about the good old days." Many a cocktail hour he would tell stories about the wonderful times he had growing up on Lake Kenosia and his memories of the Fair. I'd heard them a million times, so I rarely ran for a recording device. Now I wish I had recorded more - but thankfully we have some of his stories on tape and I am blessed to have the great memories of having him as a dad...Kirk
Memories of The Great Danbury State Fair & Danbury Racearena
Rich Hutwohl - Producer
Topic: "Racearena Lighting"
SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE RACES
Kirk Jarvis - Director