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Southwest Life Health And the West is History Community Travel

And the West is History: Jaycee Whistlers – 1964

The soundtrack from the 1957 Best Picture winner “The Bridge on the River Kwai” included a military parade musical piece called “Colonel Bogey March.” It was whistled by the British POWs led by Sir Alec Guinness in the film. This whistling tune, played over a loudspeaker, was used by the Durango Jaycees for their popular Jaycee Whistler characterizations shown here in the 1964 Spanish Trails Fiesta Parade. As evident in the photo, the character’s faces were painted on the bare chest and stomachs of the service organization’s members. Their heads and arms were hidden under the oversized hats. By moving their stomachs in and out, the characters appeared to be whistling. Although most spectators found them quite amusing, some young children were mildly disturbed by the larger-than-life cartoonish figures. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org (Catalog Number: 23.44.21 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)