In 1921, William and Irene Finley pulled out a camera and documented their friendship with a hungry campsite visitor.
Here’s the filmmaker:
Finley was an early conservationist. Oregon’s first fish and game commission was set up in 1911, following his recommendation. You can visit William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge, named in his honor, just south of Corvallis.
Here’s how short Oregon’s history is.
William Finley was born in Santa Clara California, on Aug. 9, 1876. That’s one month after Custer’s Last Stand. His parents, John Pettus Finley and Nancy Catherine Rucker, had traveled west by covered wagon. His uncle, William Asa Finley, was the first president of Oregon State University.
William himself was one of the first presidents of Audubon Society of Portland. Notice the birds on his head! He made this film the same year Rudolf Valentino appeared in The Sheik and Charlie Chaplin appeared in The Kid.
At the time Chumming With Chipmunks was made, all feature films were preceded by newsreels. So although William Finley’s chipmunk film did not win the international accolades which later came to Perri, an Oregon film with a similarly wild cast, it was seen by movie audiences across the country.
I hereby claim Chumming With Chipmunks as an Oregon film, based on the Oregon citizenship of the director William and camerawoman Irene.