Everything we ate, drank, wore, touched was on TV, is there for all time
January 11, 2014 9:18 PM   Subscribe

Ira Gallen calls himself "the unofficial Baby-Boomer Guru of my Television Collecting Generation," and has spent a significant part of his life finding and restoring films, specifically televised media. In the past, he shared his collected materials on a public access show (NYT) on Manhattan and Paragon cable television seven times a week, but he changed his focus and has been sharing those varied and various collections on a handful of different YouTube accounts, where he has uploaded everything from oddly scored family home videos, a restoration of a lost Thurgood Marshall interview with Mike Wallace from 1956, an uncut 1992 interview with Richard Attenborough about the 1992 biographical film Chaplin and other topics, a montage on Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit on Broadway (IBDB), Little King in Prison (full Jolly Good Fellons clip; more information), and a collection of air conditioner screening videos from years past, to name a (very) few.

TV Days is Gallen's site where he sells DVDs of his various restored video collections, so you'll see him promoting this site on various videos, including this one where he describes some of his video archiving efforts. TV Days is also his main YouTube account, with a broad range of clips, from a 50 minute long Levittown test reel, an hour of classic 1950s and 1960s commercials (with an introduction by Gallen), and JFK's funeral, plus modern/ recent clips from Gallen like film of recent toy fairs and film-related product reviews.

The Secret Movies account is another weird mix of things, from The Rambling Reporter: Wildman's Land (one episode of the early Columbia travelogue series), raw footage from the 1980s to serve as an introduction to his program Biograph Days, Biograph Nights (Google books preview), his "affectionate glance at the television programs and commercials of the 50's and 60's" and toys from that era, too.

Gallen Movies is another varied collection, with various commercials, including a couple different Frosted Flakes Superman ads, a clip about the Air Force's investigations into UFOs, and declassified US promotional war film bloopers and outtakes.

Newsreels or News Reel Archives is a smaller collection of historic footage, unfortunately posted with little information on the clips, even lacking proper titles, as seen in the unhelpfully titled "ee", which is a clip about President Lyndon Johnson's first address to the nation, or "rtt," a short clip about Yogi Berra.

Cartoon Studio is pretty much what you'd expect at this point, like old ads for Salada Tea, the short cartoon Gabby Goes Fishing, and the uncut Gulliver's Travels (1939).

Then there's D.W. Griffith Movies, clips from films by David Wark Griffith posted in support of Gallen's play about Griffith. Clips include The Country Doctor (Wikipedia), The Black Viper (Wikipedia), and In Search of D.W. Griffith featuring Art Lennig, Griffith expert.

Directors Series is a real gem, featuring Jim Henson talking on the future of video and cable, Ron Cobb talking about Conan the Barbarian, and Sam Raimi on Evil Dead and style of shooting, plus Evil Dead screen tests.
posted by filthy light thief (7 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
TV Days was posted before, but those links are dead. As you might have noticed, Gallen re-posts material on different YouTube accounts, so those dead YouTube and Google Video links are alive elsewhere. If nothing else, here is an hour of Captain Video and a ton of Rootie Kazootie.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:32 PM on January 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

You know, I love archivists of ephemerata like Rick Prelinger, or cultural appropriators like Craig Baldwin, or outsider archivists like Marion Stokes, and I recently paused for a moment of silence for Something Weird's Mike Vraney (who inexplicably didn't warrant a Metafilter post at the time of his death)... and boy, all of the above just gets to a point where it all just seems like a mighty random pile of stuff, and weirdly self-aggrandizing, too.

Perhaps it's just the horrific title tag on his web site: "Productivity Sold Here - The Next Level Of osCommerce". Well OK, then. I sure hope that's ironic. I'm not sure.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 10:15 PM on January 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Not sure where to even begin to tackle this, except I watched the Yogi Berra short clip and that alone makes this a great post. Great to see Jackie Robinson talking in that clip. Oh, and the oddly scored home videos one is oddly fascinating.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:18 PM on January 11, 2014

If there were someone doing this for the mid- to late 1970s, I probably would've spent $1,000 on that site by now, legal or not.
posted by mykescipark at 2:22 AM on January 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

The oddly scored home videos are just like my family's. My mother got a Super 8 camera through S & H Greenstamps in 1962. It was about three years before my parents had enough money to buy a projector, so for three years my mother was "Beatrice DeMille" at every family gathering with no learning curve of how the end product should look. There's lots of people standing outside weddings blinking in the sun, waving at the camera, people awkwardly walking around in the woods or at the beach 'acting natural' and kids mugging.

We watched them a lot as kids and the sprockets had about had it when home video became ubiquitous, so someone took them to a storefront guy that had set up a business converting Super 8 to video and he added the same kind of weird soundtrack. We found it oddly enjoyable and often played it the background on Mother's Day or other holidays watching the parade of now dead relatives showing off their new Corvair or bridesmaids' dresses to some weird public domain ragtime rapidly switching to carousel music. AND WE NEVER WATCHED WITHOUT THE SOUND. So much so that they are now digitized with the same soundtrack.
posted by readery at 9:50 AM on January 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not sure where to even begin to tackle this

To be honest, I wasn't either. I really wish he had done a better job splitting up the content to different accounts and/or labeling the videos better. As it is, I'm tempted to catalog the collections, because there is a ton of really interesting material up.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:24 AM on January 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Great post. Vraney could warrant another post all on his own as well.
posted by destro at 11:16 AM on January 12, 2014

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