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 is a continuation of footage of Margaret and Otto Falkenberg performing several musical numbers and talking about aging.
00:00Copy video clip URL This tape begins with a blue screen.
00:28Copy video clip URL Cut to footage from within the Falkenberg’s apartment. Otto tunes his guitar as he and Margaret prepare for a performance. The two then perform a piece entitled “The Too Fat Polka.” This lasts for a few minutes.
03:59Copy video clip URL The two then perform “How Much Is That Doggy In the Window?” Otto enthusiastically sings the song and calls for everyone to sing along.
04:56Copy video clip URL Otto talks about the many requests he gets for “How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?” Gold goes on to ask Falkenberg for some advice about growing older. “During your lifetime, you will find out a lot of things that aren’t just going your way. And if you can cope with it and look at it from both sides–never condemn anybody unless you look at it from both sides, you see? Because none of us is perfect, but I’m sure by doing that, it’ll be much easier for you to go through life there and try to be happy or try to make your life as pleasant as possible. See to it there is lots of laughter.” Otto goes on to talk about the humor in his family. He goes on to say that music contributes a lot towards happiness. He and Margaret then perform the song, “How Great Thou Art.” This lasts for several minutes.
08:48Copy video clip URL As Otto and Margaret embrace one another after their performance, Otto expresses his gratitude towards the videographers for documenting their life. He says a few words about his hopes for what the footage can do for those who watch it. “If you can document it there in some form on television, I do believe that other people there, they’ll see that happiness could still exist if you go at it the proper way, the right way.” Gold and Cohen then pose for the camera with the couple. Otto makes a few philosophical comments on life while they pose for the camera. He also goes on to talk about his soccer playing in his younger days and his participation in a bowling league.
14:25Copy video clip URL Otto begins to talk about his learning to speak American English and believes that people need to speak the language the way it is meant to be spoken. Gold gathers a bit of footage of Otto at the piano. The videographers then begin to make their way out of the apartment. Otto makes numerous positive comments as the two walk down the hallway towards the elevator. Gold and Cohen share a few words about the interview and how wonderful it turned out. The two then make their way downstairs.
21:13Copy video clip URL Once downstairs, Gold and Cohen speak with Mrs. Chase and a volunteer desk receptionist. The receptionist, who is also a resident at Clark-Irving, talks about going back to work as a foster grandmother at a hospital. She expresses her excitement at returning to working. She goes on to talk about some of her physical ailments and her hobby of knitting. This lasts for several minutes.
28:32Copy video clip URL Gold, Cohen, and Chase make their way over to another building. Once there, Gold gathers footage of Chase at work speaking with numerous residents.This lasts for several minutes.
32:09Copy video clip URL Chase makes her way out of the building with a pair of residents. The group walks over to another building. This lasts for the remainder of the tape.
33:27Copy video clip URL Tape ends.