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Remind Me

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While riding on horseback with fellow actor Bill Demarest near the vast Irvine Ranch in Southern California, Jimmy Stewart pauses to explain that Irvine will be the location of the 1953 Boy Scout Jamboree and that scouts from all over the United States as well as many foreign countries will be attending. An off-screen narrator then takes over to describe the extensive planning involved in creating a temporary city of tents, which for a week will be home to more than fifty thousand boys: Eight miles of roads are graded, a temporary bridge is borrowed from the Army and a huge electrical plant is installed. Eighty-five miles of pipes are laid to supply three million gallons of water a day. To further serve the city, which is larger than Tucson, Arizona, a complete telephone exchange, medical complex, fire department, post office and a mammoth outdoor theater, capable of holding seventy-five thousand people, are created. Meanwhile, across the country in towns like Wheeling, West Virginia, Dayton, Ohio, and Grand Junction, Colorado, as well as around the world in Japan, Mexico, the Philippines and many other countries, scouts and scoutmasters are setting off for the Jamboree by plane, train, bus and ship. Eventually all arrive at the destination and settle in, making new friends immediately. The first day's official schedule begins with a patrol leaders council, followed by breakfast, which the boys must prepare themselves. During the opening ceremony, flags representing every attending nation are raised. Thereafter, many traditional scouting activities begin: marksmanship with rifle and bow and arrow, fire making, leather crafts, uni-cycling, fishing, knot making and the study of American Indian lore. A swapping tent is opened where boys can exchange items they have brought from their homes. At night, many Hollywood celebrities come to perform in the outdoor theater. The boys themselves prepare an elaborate pageant depicting three hundred years of American history and join in song and fellowship around campfires. Other activities include transporting four thousand boys in school buses to a beach. On Sunday morning, there are religious services for scouts of numerous faiths, including Catholics, Buddhists, Protestants, Jews, Christian Scientists, and Latter-Day Saints. After the services, a scout from East Germany tells several others about scouting in Communist countries. That evening, at convocation ceremonies, the chief scout introduces several religious leaders, who praise the merits of scouting. American vice-president Richard Nixon is also on hand to greet the assembly, and the evening concludes with a candlelight service praying for peace in the world. The following day, after catching up with their laundry in improvised washing machines, some of the boys discuss the wonders of the U.S. and, at night, all attend a massive show hosted by Bob Hope. The show opens with Jane Powell singing "The Star Spangled Banner," after which numerous Hollywood stars appear briefly. The climax is a big fireworks show. The next day, numerous groups go sight-seeing to the San Juan Capistrano Mission, Catalina Island, the Santa Ana Naval Air Base, oilfields and Lockheed Aircraft. In the late afternoon, the scouts attend a rodeo show in the arena. The week passes very quickly and on the final evening, thirty thousand visitors join the boys as they present their pageant, accompanied by an all scout band. The evening closes with a filmed message from President Dwight D. Eisenhower in which he praises the Jamboree and stresses the need for all peoples to work together.