An East Texas man is bringing history to life one photo and film reel at a time.
Tatum resident Dallas Moore spends his spare time picking through countless old photos and videos he buys from estate and garage sales during his travels.
Every now and then, while sifting through strangers’ endless home videos and family photos, Moore strikes gold. And the best part is, Moore shares that “gold” for free with viewers to his online social media platforms under the title, “Forgotten Now Found.”
One of Moore’s most recent strikes of historic gold came in the form of video footage that is being shared among East Texans online. The footage is 8mm video footage shot during a boat ride on Caddo Lake in the 1950s. The video is in color and many viewers have commented on the chance to see parts of Caddo Lake as it was before giant salvinia began overtaking vast swaths of Texas’ few natural lakes.
“The Caddo Lake footage I found a couple of years ago at an estate auction in Jacksonville,” Moore said. “I didn’t know it was Caddo Lake at first. At the end of the video, I could see a town that is clearly Jefferson.”
Moore said when he posts his found photos and videos online for folks to see or download for free, he includes as much information about the piece as he has available but often times, someone on the Internet will recognize something or someone in the piece and be able to offer more insight.
“That’s what happened with the Caddo Lake Fly N Fish footage,” he said. “I was contacted by a lady who said it was her husband’s mother and father in the video footage. I sent them a digital copy of the video. The guy who shot the video is from Alaska and he flew into the airstrip at Caddo’s Fly N Fish. No one in the family had ever seen the footage before and she said it was a real treasure for them to have it.”
Bringing forgotten instances and places back to life is precisely the reason Moore took up his hobby, he said.
“My day job is running an auction site, buying and liquidating estates, so I travel all over,” he said. “When I’m at these estate auctions, you see a lot of stuff getting pushed to the side and nobody wants it. That would be the end of that stuff, personal letters, photos and videos, it’s history being thrown away and I just didn’t think that was the right course of action.”
Moore said he has spent about seven years collecting tubs upon tubs full of letters, videos, photos and other memorabilia.
“I want to share it and have other people enjoy it and like it as much as I do,” Moore said. “I’ve had my Forgotten Now Found site up for about a year or so but I’ve really started doing stuff with it in the past 30 days or so.”
On his website, www.forgottennowfound.com, Moore has sections of photos, videos, letters, digital collections, and even tips for others on how to best preserve their loved ones’ memories and keepsakes.
“I put stuff on my Youtube channel as well,” he said. “I have so much stuff, I just need to get it out. I don’t have the perfect explanation to go with each piece, but I figure if I can just get it out, and let people on the Internet do what they do, there will be people that can help me catalog it.”
Moore said when searching for the best memories to upload, he tends to go for easily recognizable landmarks, historical events and especially things related in any way to the military.
“The stuff I like is less birthday parties and weddings and more places in which people can recognize,” he said. “Those seem to have a little better response.”
Some of the most viewed pieces Moore has uploaded include clips of the Grand Canyon from 1954, Las Vegas in the 1950s, U.S. Navy personnel at Ft. Mills during the 1930s and Six Flags Over Texas in the 1950s and Colonial Williamsburg.
“It’s amazing to see a different time, especially in color,” Moore said. “It’s like going back in a time machine. Some of the oldest color film I have is from the 1940s.”
While Moore’s hobby is rewarding to him and others, it’s extremely tedious and time consuming.
“The hardest part is getting it all organized,” he said. “The films, photos, handwritten letters and postcards. I have a storage building full of stuff but it’s a lot of work. I have one machine that digitizes the footage but I never know what I have until it’s done and it takes an hour to make two minutes of footage.”
Moore said he works each day to go through his treasure trove of memories and add more material online.
“At least putting it on the site like this, it might spark an educational story, a family member might recognize someone — it’s more important than just hiding this stuff away in a museum or attic somewhere.
“I know at museums, there is so much stuff that doesn’t make it out on display that people will never get to see.”
Moore invites viewers to his Youtube, Facebook, website, Instagram and Twitter to download any of his pieces for free.
“There is so much stuff out there that is locked up in libraries and people’s personal collections,” he said. “If I sold it, I’d regret it because nobody might ever see it again.”
In addition to the Caddo Lake footage, Moore has a color photo of the Marshall ISD band from the 1940s.
To view footage, photos and Moore’s other uploads, visit his website at www.forgottennowfound.com, his Youtube channel at www.youtube.com/user/dcm19762000/featured, and his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ForgottenNowFound. You can also follow his pages on Instagram and Twitter at @forgottennowfound and @Vintage_Pics.