Today, one of our clients graciously granted us permission to share this extraordinary color film we just digitized and restored for his family: An excerpt of the 1941 Inaugural Parade of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had just been elected to an unprecedented third term in office.
The clip includes a brief glimpse of the presidential car, where we see FDR and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt smiling and waving to the crowds (At the end, we have slowed down and enlarged this portion of the clip so you can see the Roosevelts better.)
Although the United States was still 11 months away from entering World War II, we see evidence of how the nation was steeling itself for battle with all the military paraphernalia on display – including planes, soldiers and speeding (!) tanks.
If you’ve been watching Ken Burns latest documentary “The Roosevelts” on PBS this week, this film is a real treat.
This week, we are all about animals once again.
But this time we’re delving into the personal collection of Rob Hoffman, PPP’s founding partner.
Rob grew up in Greenwich Village, a neighborhood of New York City that has become associated with everything chic – from Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City” to the ultra-hip Meatpacking District.
About 45 years ago, however, it wasn’t all fashion boutiques and five-star restaurants.
Back in the 50s, an army war veteran named Barney started rehabilitating dogs in a storefront on Christopher Street. Shortly afterwards, at some undetermined date, he took over a nearby vacant plot of land and opened a pony stable designed to teach city kids how to ride horses.
Only it wasn’t just a pony stable. Barney would often house other animals. Such as goats. Monkeys. And in 1968, a lion cub named Lulubelle.
Filmed by Rob’s father in June 1968, the Super 8 conversion displayed below shows a visit to Barney’s stable by Rob, Rob’s mother and his little sister Alex. Among the highlights: The screaming monkey. The goat eating trash. Barney throwing day-old bagels into the corral to feed the horses. And of course Lulubelle, who in the course of the film is petted by Rob, gets bottle-fed by her handler and wanders around on her own in the corral and on the sidewalk.
Just a short time after this movie was made, Barney was forced to close his stable and move it up to the adjacent borough of the Bronx. His efforts at bringing the country to the big city did not go unrecognized, however. In 1971, Hollywood released a movie starring Jack Klugman (The Odd Couple, Quincy) called “Who Says I Can’t Ride A Rainbow?” . Though long forgotten and apparently unavailable, the film is notable as the big-screen debut of Morgan Freeman.
Barney is said to have died shortly after the movie was released. And we don’t know what happened to Lulubelle. But we have the memories, captured on celluloid and in some of the Kodachrome slides we scanned of Rob and Lulubelle and posted below.
You might have heard that this week marks the 70th birthday of one of the most iconic symbols in American culture: Smokey Bear.
In celebration, we at Priceless Photo Preservation in Ann Arbor, Michigan are posting an older Super 8 film conversion. It is a c. 1972 film clip of the actual bear named Smokey who was the living symbol of the anti-wildfire campaign for many years.
An American black bear cub who in the spring of 1950 was caught in a New Mexico forest fire, Smokey lived at Washington D.C,’s National Zoo for 26 years until his death in 1976.
Some other facts about Smokey:
- The Smokey campaign was founded in response to a Wartime threat from the Japanese, who used to send balloons to start wildfires.
- Bambi was the original cartoon character used for the campaign, but Walt Disney only granted the government permission for one year of use.
- It’s “Smokey Bear,” not “Smokey the Bear.” The latter term entered the American vocabulary after a 1952 hit song. The songwriters added “the” to preserve the song’s cadence.
- Smokey shares the same birthday (Aug. 9) as actor Sam Elliott, who coincidentally has been the voice of Smokey for many years.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the New York World’s Fair. And some publications, such as the New York Times, have done a wonderful job of commemorating the occasion with some unique feature stories.
Three years later, an event took place closer to Michigan’s borders that was equally momentous. Today, on Throwback Thursday, we’d like to commemorate it.
The 1967 International and Universal Exposition, more commonly known as Expo 67, took place in Montreal, Canada, April 27 to October 29, 1967. More than 500,000 visitors showed up for its third day, which is still an all-time record for such an event.
It took place after four years of stormy political drama and ceaseless construction that included the formation of man-made islands in the St. Lawrence River. Given the theme “Man and His World,” it was a fair dotted with country pavilions – something Disney’s Epcot Center would attempt to duplicare several years later.
One of the fair’s most unique contributions was Habitat 67 (in the postcard at right), or simply Habitat, a new style of apartment construction pioneered by Israel-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, who originally came up with the idea as part of a thesis project at Montreal’s McGill University. Now an internationally known architect whose work has included the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, Safdie is still widely credited for pioneering a new concept in pre-fabricated and modular housing that – surprisingly, to some – never was fully embraced. “CBS Sunday Morning” recently did an interesting profile of Safdie.
So why are we highlighting Expo 67? Because in the course of our work over the last few years, we’ve come across slides, photos, postcards and even films of the event. So we thought it might be time to spotlight them.
First, let’s take a look at a few Kodachrome slides we scanned of the pavilions and other highlights.
Finally, here are two movies that we converted: The first is the official 8mm Expo film, which could be purchased at the fair as a souvenir. Like many educational films of the day, it was made with cheap chemicals. Hence, the garish red tint to the print.
More interesting (at least to our eyes) is a Super 8 home movie filmed by a local family who happens to be one of our clients. It really captures the essence of Expo 67, we think. Enjoy!
Pop culture is a wonderful guide when it comes to figuring out generational divides.
For example, ask someone with whom they most closely associate the character Tarzan.
If they grew up in the 50s or before, they probably think of Johnny Weismuller.
If they grew up in the 80s. chances are it’s Christopher Lambert – or even Bo Derek, who played Jane in an awful Tarzan remake back then.
The 90s? Probably Disney or Phil Collins.
But the biggest group – the Baby Boomers of the 60s and 70s – probably associate the classic character the most with the 1960s TV show starring Ron Ely.
On the air between 1966 and 1968, the show was one of the few adaptations of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ famous character to do away with Tarzan’s mate Jane. Instead, according to IMDB, “Tarzan (Lord Greystoke), already well-educated and fed up with civilization, returns to the jungle and, more-or-less assisted by chimpanzee Cheetah and orphan boy Jai, wages war against poachers and other bad guys.”
Which brings us to today’s post.
The in-laws of one of our most recent clients were vacationing in Mexico during that time period – and happened to come across the show’s set. Not missing an opportunity to play paparazzi for the day, they shot photos of the unfolding action.
We definitely see Ely, who later gained fame as the man who replaced Bert Parks as the MC of the Miss America pageant. Plus child actor Manuel Padilla Jr. (Jai) and the chimpanzee who played Cheetah.
We don’t know who the woman sitting next to Ely on the set is. Most intriguingly, it could be legendary Broadway actress Julie Harris, who had a recurring role on the series as a Christian missionary.
To the right is a still from “Tarzan,” featuring Julie Harris as Charity Jones.Compare them to the woman in the slides that we scanned, which you can see below. Special thanks to our client, who kindly gave us permission to share these scanned vacation mementoes with you.
Just to complete this nostalgic trip to the past, here’s what the show’s intro looked like:
Well, that didn’t take long.
Thanks to the good folks at UMGOBLUE,com, one of the top news sites and gathering places for Michigan football, we now can identify the Wolverine football film excerpt from nearly 60 years ago that we posted yesterday.
We guessed the year was 1956. We were right.
We guessed the opponent was Army. We were wrong.
You can read the thread here. But we think the uncanny detective work of a poster named Uferfan deserves to be spotlighted. His sleuthing led to the game’s identification as the Sept. 29, 1956 clash between UCLA and Michigan, which the home team won 42-13. Here’s what he had to say.
- The Quarterback (#24) is Jim Van Pelt; who played from 1955-1957. He was the only quarterback to wear this number in the decade.
- The receiver (#87) is, in fact, Ron Kramer. He played with Van Pelt for two of those seasons: 1955 and 1956; so we’re down to two possible seasons.
- There were only three games that Michigan played at home in those years where the opposing team wore gold helmets: 1955 against Army, and 1956 against UCLA and Army.
I’m going to venture a guess to say that the film is against UCLA in 1956. The reasons are as follows:
- Van Pelt did not throw a pass in either Army game in 1955 or 1956, but he can clearly be seen throwing a pass in this game – here is a link to the box scores for the Michigan games, showing no passes thrown by Van Pelt against Army in either 1955 or 1956): http://www.umich.edu/~bhlumrec/athdept/fbstats/
- The attendance for the UCLA game was 70,159 and for the Army game was 93,402. The capacity of Michigan Stadium in 1956 was 101,001. If you look at the video at 0:45, the end zone seats are clearly empty (see right). The Army game was only 7,500 short of capacity; while the UCLA game was over 30,000 short of capacity. Given the large amount of empty seats, it is more likely this is the UCLA game.
- Lastly, Army’s helmets during this time period had black numbers on them. It does not appear that the opposing team helmets had these numbers. UCLA’s numbers were solid gold with no markings.
All signs point to this footage being of the September 29, 1956 game against UCLA; which Michigan won 42-13.
Absolutely brilliant is all we can say to you, Uferfan. Well done!
As a reminder, this comes from a privately owned 8mm film we converted for a client, who generously gave us permission to post it on this blog. At Priceless Photo Preservation, we are Ann Arbor archivists wo specialize in converting, restoring and digitizing 8mm, Super 8 and 16mm film for local families who want to bring their history back to life. Stop by with a few film reels that you can watch us convert while you are there!
Calling all University of Michigan football fans who bleed maize and blue.
Today, on Throwback Thursday, we have a real treat for you – and a mystery you could potentially help solve.
Recently, we converted a reel of 8mm home movies for an Ann Arbor client that were labeled “1956-1959. “Near the beginning, we discovered a short segment of a University of Michigan football game. Based on the labeling of the reel, we are inclined to believe that this game excerpt is from the 1956 Michigan football season, where the Wolverines (coached by Bennie Oosterbaan) finished with a 7-2 record, second in the Big Ten and No. 7 in the final AP poll.
Based on the gold helmets of the opponent, we think that the game is the Oct. 13 clash between Michigan and Army, which the home team won 48-14. We were also able to decipher crucial uniform numbers: The quarterback is No. 24 (James Van Pelt?), the running back is No. 41 (Terry Barr?) and – most intriguingly of all – the end is possibly No. 87: All-American Ron Kramer, one of the all-time Wolverine greats.
However, not all the information matches up with the facts so we might need some diehards to a little more digging. For example, although the box score (PDF) lists Van Pelt behind center during that game, the box score does not reflect any pass attempts by him. Yet we see several passes – none of them complete – directed to the player who might be Kramer. So our guess could be completely wrong.
Also, of note: Towards the end, we see the University of Michigan Marching Band in action. Based on their formations and their uniforms, someone might be able to definitively guess the year – and potentially the game itself.
Something completely unrelated to know: The segment spotlights our newest process for converting 8mm and Super 8 films. This conversion, in particular, is outstanding in terms of the level of detail, the color and the complete absence of distracting flickering. Just compare it to other 1956 conversions on the net like this one and that one.
So do we have any guesses out there?