Peggy Ferris Photographs

Excerpts & Highlights

Omer Kursat

The first part of the book includes photographs that depict historical scenes in California, at various Santa Clara County locations such as Angels Camp, Austin Corners, Alma College and Aldercroft Heights, as well as a few glimpses of Honolulu, Hawai‘i, and portraits of a broad range of subjects, including Ferris herself.

The second part consists of a set of particularly fascinating images that portray the members of Roadrunner Productions, a traveling theater troupe formed by Stanford University graduates.

Roadrunner Productions was founded in 1940 by Stanford University Speech & Drama graduates, who advertised themselves as “the world’s only theatre on wheels.” The company was formed by:

J. P. Cahn
Jack Dawson
George Wood
Virginia Sharpe
Margaret Wood
Margaret Paulson
Gene Callnon
Fred Clark
Harry Muheim and Tony Cefaratti,
who were later replaced by Ed Kerr and Hal Kahn.

Roadrunners constructed their own trailer with a 15-foot-long performance stage, which together with a customized truck, housed a makeup room, sleeping quarters, hot and cold running water, and housed all the equipment, sets and props, as well as a 30-by-80 tent with benches that could seat an audience of several hundred people.

The Roadrunners performed at various locations, such as Los Gatos and San Jose, and premiered with the play Yes, My Darling Daughter on July 12, 1940 in Palo Alto, at “Embarcadero, two blocks East of Middlefield.”

References: The Stanford Daily, September 24, October 28, and July 2, 1940

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Visually captivating, these mysterious, stunning images have re-emerged as an aesthetic espousal of innocence, hope and exuberance, blazing a frantic path towards the eventual realization of passionate and purposeful lives.

Peter Shaindlin

A reference to the pictures of the Roadrunners truck at the Stanford University Archives

A Celebration

Here we see the crew dining at a pre- or post-show celebration. The newspaper headline for the previous day's baseball score places the photograph on July 12, 1940, which incidentally was the day of the Roadrunners’ premiere performance.

Daytona Beach Morning Journal, July 12, 1940

The Stanford Daily, October 28, 1940