In 1975, the Chicago video collective Videopolis produced a documentary called "It's a Living." The tape was loosely based on Studs Terkel's book, "Working," which was a collection of interviews with ordinary people talking about their jobs. This hour-long program was shown on Channel 11 (WTTW) in Chicago. After the success of this tape, the videomakers were commissioned to make six half-hour shows that had the same type of mission. "Paper Roses" featured residents of the Chicago Housing Authority's Clark-Irving Apartments, which provided low-rent housing for senior citizens. This tape features an interview with and musical performances by Otto and Margaret Falkenberg in their Clark-Irving residence.
00:00Copy video clip URL This tape begins with a blue screen.
00:25Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of a Clark-Irving resident entering an apartment.
00:40Copy video clip URL Videomakers Maxi Cohen and Joel Gold enter the Falkenberg’s apartment. Otto Falkenberg invites them in and offers them a seat. He and his wife Margaret begin to talk about their love for musical entertainment. Otto tells Gold and Cohen that he and his wife are going to perform for the camera.
02:57Copy video clip URL The couple quickly tunes up before starting to play. Otto accompanies his wife on violin. After finishing the piece, Otto announces that he has written a song specifically for senior citizens. He wrote his own lyrics over the German song, “Such A Day,” and dedicated it to senior citizens. The two then quickly move on to performing another song entitled “Tic-Tock Polka.”
08:43Copy video clip URL After finishing the song, Otto looks for the lyrics to the song he wrote. He gives a brief introduction to the piece entitled “The Most Beautiful Day.” Otto first sings the song in German before singing a verse in English. This lasts for several minutes.
13:12Copy video clip URL Otto begins to talk about how he and Margaret first met. He talks about his father’s time spent in the service and his eventually relocating his family to North America. Otto met Margaret at a harbor in Hamburg, Germany. They met once again in Chicago and were eventually married. Otto talks about their married life and states that they are relatively happy.
16:00Copy video clip URL Otto talks about his youthful spirit and says he presumes that music has kept both he and his wife young. He also talks about his wife’s current bouts of sickness and physical injury. He explains that the two of them played for a woman earlier in the day despite his wife’s current ailments. “There’s nothing nicer than to be nice, even though it hurts at times.” Margaret talks about her husband’s bout with malnutrition after they were first married. Otto eventually shows the videomakers pictures from a recent fall that Margaret had outside of the complex. She ended up fracturing her hand and bruising her face in the process. Otto also talks about some of the hardships he had growing up in Hamburg, Germany, specifically lack of food, which led to his malnutrition. He also comments on the brutality of certain Germans during WWII. This lasts for several minutes.
23:29Copy video clip URL Otto gets rather excited at the thought of playing his electric mandolin. He spends a few minutes setting up his amp and whipping out the mandolin. Otto says that he bought in on sale for about thirty dollars. Otto had a pick up installed into the mandolin so he could play it through an amp. He also talks about his involvement with the CHA Advisory Council. Cohen eventually asks if he ever misses working. Otto states that he doesn’t miss working and talks about his arthritic condition. This lasts for several minutes.
32:38Copy video clip URL The two perform a song for the videomakers. The tape ends shortly afterward.
33:22Copy video clip URL Tape ends.