Boy and Island 41st TMI Anniversary Update

Boy and Island 41st TMI Anniversary Update

Archival Super 8 film footage shot in 1979 by Middletown, PA native, Don Hossler.
Edited and posted by Andrew Hurst in recognition of the 41st anniversary of the accident at Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant.

In recognition of the 41st anniversary of the accident at Three Mile Island, I first want to send my warmest thoughts and regards to the citizens of Middletown, PA and the surrounding towns and communities who have lived through this tragedy and continue to endure its legacy with a deep sense of pride, integrity and resilience. Although there is a certain sense of relief now that the plant has officially powered down for good as of September 20, 2019 - in reality, the current plan for decommissioning and cleanup efforts will not be completed until at least 2078, thus effectively rendering the site as a toxic nuclear waste dump in which future generations of people, plants and animals will be forced to coincide with.

Secondly, I have compiled a short reel of Super 8 film footage from the collection of my dear friend Don Hossler, a Middletown, PA native and co founder of PANE (People Against Nuclear Energy). Don shot this footage in those tense weeks and months shortly after the accident in March 1979. Captured within these frames of celluloid is the tangible unease that loomed over the region during this harrowing time. Included here are scenes of the town and the plant, news footage captured directly from the television as well as headlines cut out and arranged before the camera amidst other books and memorabilia related to the accident.  Also included is a sequence showing local Middletown resident and PANE board member John Garver as he earnestly practices a speech he will deliver to the Borough Council pleading to permanently shut down the plant. But most poignant of all is the opening sequence shot from the cozy idyllic interior of the Hossler residence, as a crisp winter sun illuminates a hand-crafted stained glass ornament of a bird hanging in the window pane, the camera zooms in on the extended view beyond the inside of the house showing the ever present cooling towers of the nuclear power plant outside in the near distance. Upon viewing this footage, we the viewer are placed at the crux of the human predicament in which the camera becomes a metaphor for what happens off the record, privately experienced away from the glare of the media’s portrayal of the “facts.” The camera here functions as a tool for self reliance and self discovery and it is precisely this intervention of the human spirit that Boy And Island investigates and celebrates. As of this writing, my wife and I remain cloistered in the confines of our apartment in NYC along with many others around the world as we face the invisible enemy of the COVID-19 pandemic. Within this forced confinement, I am struck by the shocking relevance of our current circumstances with that of the nuclear catastrophe that descended upon us on March 28, 1979. These invisible terrors, and the challenges to our survival that they represent must be met with the strength of the human spirit and the will of our imagination to adapt to new realities.

Lastly, thanks for tuning in and look out for many exciting developments on the Boy And Island book project in the coming months!! Visit