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PPP’s Top Ten Archival Finds 2011-2012: Part 2

December 31, 2012

As promised, here are the remaining five historical discoveries from 2011-2012 as we at Priceless Photo Preservation continue to celebrate a highly successful first year that saw us scan thousands of photographs and slides and convert hundreds of hours of home movies and videos for residents of southeast Michigan. Contact us any time if you have any preservation needs at PricelessPhotoPreservation@gmail.com.

As we noted yesterday, we do not own these materials or have any of the rights to them, so please do not contact us asking for copies, etc. We are showing these discoveries only after receiving permission from our clients, who retain all rights to the material when we convert and digitize their items.

Here’s the rest of the countdown, which concludes with a rare historical snippet from 50 years ago that hardly anyone has seen.

No. 5 – Michigan Football game footage, likely from the 1930s.

This is one of our first jobs. And it comes at the beginning of a lengthy 16mm reel filmed by a Michigan alumnus, Ovid Weldon. For a U-M football game during an unknown year, though we believe we have narrowed it down to the early 30s, Weldon somehow was allowed to film a game from field level. And we see about a minute of action that includes not only game footage, but two Michigan marching bands in action. This video received extensive coverage on Ann Arbor.com, which resulted in yielding some useful clues from observant readers as to when it took place. This is some of the earliest known film of the Wolverines playing at Michigan Stadium (which is quite empty, as you will see).

No. 4 – Opening Ceremonies of the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway.

One thing we keep telling our clients about film is that it doesn’t matter how old the footage is, the color and the picture itself is likely to be fine. Nothing typifies this more than this wonderful 8mm film clip that shows the highlights of the 1952 Winter Olympic opening ceremonies. Filmed by the father-in-law of a PPP client, who was the coach of the US Speedskating team, the film is incredibly vivid and full of great details. We’ve embedded two clips below: One of the opening ceremonies, the other of figure skating practice after the games got underway. It is possible that the pair skaters are Karol and Peter Kennedy, who won the silver medal. The female skater — whom we see more of up close, practicing her figures — could be silver medalist Tenley Albright, who went on to win gold at the 1956 Winter Games in Italy.

 

 

 

No. 3 – The Tet Offensive from a Saigon balcony in January, 1968

Unquestionably the most chilling footage we converted  in 2012, this was shot by Air America pilot Alex P. Goodkin from the balcony of his Saigon apartment in January 1968 when the North Vietnamese engaged in a series of surprise attacks in the city on the day of Vietnam’s biggest holiday. Though the Communist forces were defeated, it is considered a major turning point in the war because it contradicted what a lot of US officials were saying: That the North Vietnamese were on the ropes and were incapable of any major offensives against US and South Vietnamese forces. Though the film does not show any combat, we see smoke from explosions, the wounded being carted to a hospital next door to the apartment complex and one particularly stomach-churning scene when a South Vietnamese soldier assaults a civilian whom he probably suspects of  being Viet Cong. Some of Goodkin’s other films are at University of Texas-Dallas, which has the definitive Air America archive. Air America, by the way, was an airline that the CIA operated in southeast Asia that was accused of funneling money, arms and drugs to the anti-communist forces. It was also the subject of a much-despised 1990 movie starring Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. Please note that this conversion was completed before PPP upgraded its equipment to include specially modified flicker-free projectors and is not in HD to allow the full 23 minutes to be uploaded to YouTube. .

No. 2: Color movie of 1939 Downtown Ann Arbor

PPP’s most popular conversion project, this 60+minute is a movie put together by a Ohio production company to promote businesses in Ann Arbor. Though it is silent, it is in full color – and very little fading has taken place in the last 70 years. Rather than embed all the different YouTube videos, we figured you’d get more of a kick out of this great article written about it on AnnArbor.com and all the comments from people enthralled by this rare glimpse of the way things used to be in Tree Town before World War II.

No. 1: JFK and Jackie in Hyannis, Mass., c. 1962

As promised, we’ve saved our newest and most remarkable discovery for last. This was film shot by the father of a PPP client. The family was from New England and used to spend its summers in the beach communities of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Apparently, one of those communities was Hyannisport, where the Kennedy family has its compound. This 19-second snippet shows John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie emerging from a car to attend Sunday mass at the community’s local church. We have edited the footage so that you can see the footage slowed down and close up.

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