I recently received a group of photos from the archive room at my high school alma mater, Detroit Catholic Central. Lots of great stuff, some of which I will be posting to this site in the near future. One of the most interesting was the photo shown above. Name of the digital photo file: merely-"Karloff".
It looks to be 1940s vintage, when Catholic Central was located on Belmont Avenue off of Woodward Avenue, in what is now the Boston-Edison Historic District and next to Detroit's Blessed Sacrament Cathedral .
While CC had a thriving dramatics program at the time, exactly when and why Boris Karloff came to the school is a mystery. And, unfortunately, a mystery with a trail that has grown rather cold in the approximatelyy 65-70 intervening years.
But the call has gone out and a few amateur Shamrock detectives may yet find the answer.
The Karloff mystery is a minor example of some of the issues confronting those interested in historic preservation of any kind. Here, there is a photograph, and it hasn't been buried in some attic, deteriorated, or destroyed. But the identity of the boys, and the context and explanation of the event may never be recovered.
It is important to preserve our heritage, with archival photos and documents, but also with the recorded memories of those who made our history.
So, while we watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas and listen to the Boris Karloff narration, some of us can try to remember when and why he paid a visit to a Detroit Catholic boy's high school during the age of radio.