Hundreds of newsreel and publicity films from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s -- the golden era of instructional, scientific, government, and industry films -- are now available on YouTube via users like Ella's Archive
(focusing on transport and technology), Val73TV4
(British Council portraits of English towns & more), NuclearVault
(war and diplomacy) and others.
How about starting with The Big Delivery Wagon
(1951) a Heinz-sponsored spot about nationwide food distribution? Or Native Foods: Commandments For Health
(1945), a U.S. Navy animated training film featuring Private McGillicuddy, who neither likes Vienna sausage nor seems to know that local foods are full of "poison more treacherous than a Jap warlord." Maybe Choosing For Happiness
(1950) has some choice dating tips for even today's women? Or show your kid Defense Against Invasion
(1943) in which a doctor explains to a fearful child exactly why he ought to get immunized.
posted by spamandkimchi
on Feb 15, 2014 -
Painters on Painting
- 1972 documentary on the New York Art Scene 1940-1970, directed by Emile de Antonio. It spans American art movements from abstract expressionism to pop art via conversations with artists in their studios. Including Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Frank Stella, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell and others. (via Bibliokept) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive
on Sep 2, 2013 -
A Logic Named Joe
is a short science-fiction story by Murray Leinster. Published in 1946, the story depicts data-mining, massively networked computers, search engines, privacy/censorship filters and internet porn. Read it here.
posted by The Whelk
on May 13, 2013 -
Nicholas Victor Artamonoff
was a talented Russian amateur photographer who lived, studied and worked in Istanbul from the 1920s to the 1940s. He took many photos, mainly black-and-white, of architecture, archaeology, and street scenes, in Istanbul and also elsewhere in Turkey. A collection of images has now been made available by the Dumbarton Oaks Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives. [more inside]
posted by carter
on Mar 7, 2013 -
In the telling it has the contours of a creation myth: At a time of great evil and great terror, a small group of scientists, among the world’s greatest minds, secluded themselves in the desert. In secrecy and silence they toiled at their Promethean task. They sought the ultimate weapon, one of such great power as to end not just their war, but all war. They hoped their work would salvage the future. They feared it could end everything.
- Prometheus in the desert: from atom bombs to radio astronomy, New Mexico's scientific legacy
posted by Artw
on Nov 24, 2012 -
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films
were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating
, preparing for being drafted
, and shyness
, as well as to children on following the law
, the value of quietness in school
, and appreciating our parents
. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health
, what kind of people live in America
, how to keep a job
, supervising women workers
, the nature of capitalism
, and the plantation System in Southern life
. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives
as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Nov 1, 2012 -
During the Golden Age of Hollywood and until 1967, mainstream movie studios were banned by the Production Code
from depicting taboo topics like drug addiction, explicit murder and venereal disease, or even showing explicit nudity. But in the 1930's and 1940's, films marketed as "educational" could and did fly under the radar, and three of the best known 'educational' propaganda exploitation films are: Sex Madness
(1935), Reefer Madness
(1936) and The Cocaine Fiends
(1938). [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Oct 15, 2012 -
"A maverick theater and industrial designer, Norman Bel Geddes
is best remembered for creating the undisputed hit of the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Mounted in the midst of the Great Depression, the Fair focused on America’s promise of a utopian tomorrow. Geddes’s Futurama
, a piece of “immersion theater,” took six hundred visitors at a time on a swooping, simulated airplane ride across America circa 1960."
"The City of Tomorrow, a model of Manhattan that Geddes created, in 1937, to promote Shell Oil Company’s new “motor-digestible” gasoline, is often cited as [Futurama
's inspiration.] But Futurama’s beginnings actually harken back much further, to the meticulous, insanely detailed private games he created in the 1920s and early ’30s for the amusement of his friends.
" [more inside]
posted by zamboni
on May 6, 2012 -
The Ropes at Disney's
- 1943 Employee Handbook. The good old days when women got twice as much sick leave, the Penthouse club was accessible by "men only! - sorry gals...", and a violation of the U.S. Espionage Act could get you fired.
posted by madamjujujive
on Sep 26, 2011 -
Leonard Michaels' "The Zipper"
: Rita Hayworth is never seen disrobed in the movie, though it is threatened more than once. The atmosphere of dark repression and mysterious forces – the mood or feeling of the movie – might be destroyed by the revelation of her body. It scared me as she began her striptease dance in the nightclub. I didn’t want everybody to see her body, or even to see that Rita Hayworth had a body. [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Sep 5, 2011 -
From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time
: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeing
— foreign affairs
, social trends
, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.)
By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues,
) America’s entry to WWII
. Video samples are available at Time.com,
the March of Time Facebook page
and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required)
at HBO Archives. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 22, 2011 -
Home Kinks, part 1
and part 2
- for years, Popular Mechanics Press published a series of tips, many from readers, in a special edition format they called "Household Kinks." Scanning Around With Gene
has posted a collection from 1940s and '50s editions.
posted by madamjujujive
on Feb 20, 2011 -
Robert F. Gallagher served in the United States Army's 815th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Third Army) in the European Theater during WWII. He has posted his memoir online: "Scratch One Messerschmitt,"
told from numerous photos he took during the war and the detailed notes he made shortly afterwards. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Nov 23, 2010 -
The entirety of the Fleischer/Famous Studios Superman Film Series.
In the early 1940s, this series raised the bar for theatrical shorts with its fluid animation and action-packed storylines. It remains a classic series thanks to its high production values and historical significance not only as the first comic-to-film adaptation, but also as an occasional vehicle for American propaganda during the war.
posted by cthuljew
on Nov 25, 2008 -