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'The Tech Rep" By James Michener; Continued

" I said that Holt remembered almost every film made by his heros, but he told me they had never worked on the same picture. I was bothered, for I seemed to remember a still picture showing the two of them together in a movie about a Prison riot. When I asked him about this, Holt growled, IMPOSSIBLE. THEY'D DESTROY EACH OTHER, but I could not get that old photo out of my mind, so I wrote to a film magazine and received confirmation: they had played together in a Tracy's first film but never thereafter. I Forwarded the letter to Holt in Burma, and he wrote back: MUST HAVE BEEN A TERRIBLE PICTURE. I'D LIKE TO SEE IT SOMEDAY.

Whenever Holt returned to the states for leave or instruction on new machines, he would hole up in a motel and sit before the television night after night, looking at the old movies. He was pleased that people at home were able to enjoy the same old films that he had enjoyed in places like Chengmai and Kandahar. It was after on such visit home that Holt interrupted my sales pitch in Sumatra to say, OVER IN PAKANBARU THE ENGLISH PEOPLE ARE SHOWING A MOVIE. I SAW IT YEARS AGO AND AGAIN ON TELEVISION IN SEATTLE. YOU OUGHT TO SEE IT.

We drove forty miles into the steamy town, where an English engineering firm had provided a coconut shed with an improvised screen and a flickering projection machine. Since there was only one projector, we had to sit around in pale electric light drinking gin while the projectionist changed reels. I sat next to a rubber expert from Germany and behind a Swiss who was Trying to sell the Sumatrans a complicated machine for making glass. Ther were about fifty of us, come from all over central Sumatra, but none enjoyed the night's movie so much as Harvey Holt."

To be continued:

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