Mark Keller, Downey Theatre

DOWNEY - 'Blazing Paddles' travelogue packs thrills, spillsBody: The Downey Theatre will present the sixth film of its '08-09Armchair Adventure Travelogue Series, "Blazing Paddles," filmed and narrated by Gray Warriner, Sunday at 2:30 p.m. This is the wildest, wettest travelogue you'll ever see! No need for a life jacket, but if you're afraid of water you may need to find an aisle seat! "Blazing Paddles" packs thrills, spills and a ton of fun into one soggy film. But there's more to it than white water. Discover the half-forgotten history and scenic grandeur of rivers across America, Canada and exotic locations across the globe. Our journey begins on the New River in West Virginia. We explore the old mines, forgotten towns, and coal tipples along the rivers, relics from the Industrial Revolution. This is also railroad country, home to the historic story of John Henry, the steel-drive'n man. Take a steam train down the rails that border the New River. Look up at the death-defying base parachutists on Bridge Day. West Virginia's Gauley River is a colorful autumn spectacular. White water thrills and spills combine with hilarious bad timing at "the box" below Sweet's Falls. Marvel at Tennessee's beautiful Ocoee, a river that is turned on and off each day like a faucet. Canoe Florida's spring-fed streams and get a little too close to alligators. Paddle hidden bayous in Louisiana and the Ouachita Mountains, and challenge Arkansas' aptly named Cossatot (skull crusher). Jump to the West Coast, where we visit old mining camps and descend through history in California's mother lode country on the American River and the Tuolumne. Explore timeless Yosemite and its Merced River, and the upper King in King's Canyon National Park. The wildest ride is reserved for Northern California's Salmon River. Ernest Hemingway's Rogue River is one of Oregon's most beautiful. But nothing equals the grandeur and the history of the high desert of Oregon's Owyhee, named after Hawaiian Mountain Men of the early 1800's. Float into the deepest canyon in North America, Hell's Canyon. Idaho's Salmon River is dubbed "the river of no return" and flows through some of the most spectacular wilderness in America. In Grizzly Bear country, we float into the heart of Grand Teton National Park on the Snake River. Go back millions of years to the age of dinosaurs on the Yamoa River in Dinosaur National Monument. This is one of the last best places, and one of the most spectacular river trips anywhere. Here, we join the Green River in the Canyon of Lodore and follow in the wake of John Wesley Powell, the first to explore the Green and Colorado Rivers in 1869. We descend through geologic time and human history as we follow the Colorado on its course through the southwest. Venture up the Missouri and down the Columbia retracing the footsteps of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery on their epic two-year journey to explore the west for a newly expanding nation. Finally, we leave North America behind and put in on the Zambezi just below Victoria Falls in Africa. Here, there's added incentive to stay in the boat, as hippos and crocodiles await just below the rapids! Join us for one of the wildest rides in nature on the biggest run-able rapids in the world and a surprise ending! Gray Warriner is an independent producer of documentaries and travelogues. He has worked as a cameraman, director and producer, and has won more than 80 national and international awards for film excellence (including Eastman Kodak's award for best film). He brings with him 15 years experience as a professional filmmaker. He has also been an instructor of cinematography at the University of Washington. For the past 20 years he has headed up Camera One, a Seattle-based production company that specializes in educational and adventure/travel films. Warriner is an honors graduate from the University of Washington, where he majored in geology and physical geography. He entered the film business as a result of a chance encounter with a French documentary film crew while on a trip to the Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala. The work fascinated Warriner and he decided to abandon his graduate studies in pursuit of filmmaking. Warriner is a pilot, certified diver, underwater photographer, skier, hiker and whitewater rafter. "Blazing Paddles" is the sixth Armchair Adventure of a 10-film series. The series features full-color, feature-length travelogues with live, in-person narration by the film producer. All films are on Sundays at 2:30 p.m. at the Downey Theatre. Tickets for individual films may be purchased on day of performance only, beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the theater's box office. Adult tickets are $7 and senior/student tickets are $6 (cash or check only). For more information, call the box office at (562) 861-8211, Monday through Friday, between noon and 4 p.m. ********** Published: January 23, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 40