Wonderful film from other places, times
April 14, 2018 8:58 PM   Subscribe

I don't know who this Guy is but his channel is wonderful. I was first drawn in by New York in 1911 with glimpses of the elevated railway, Chinese American shopkeepers and an African American chauffeur driving a white family around.

After that film I enjoyed street scenes in Killarney 1929, and then early sound footage in Kyoto. I'm planning to watch more, thought some of you might like it too.
posted by Cuke (29 comments total) 75 users marked this as a favorite
This article on the invention of jaywalking is a good accompaniment to the urban street videos. Wide streets remain human scale if they are treated as multipurpose landscapes, rather than canyon-like conduits for getting away from wherever you are. Thanks for sharing, Cuke.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 10:52 PM on April 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

So. Many. Hats.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:46 AM on April 15, 2018 [5 favorites]

The thing I love most about these is streets dominated by pedestrians and operating entirely at pedestrian speed, or a little faster, even the cars and the streetcars and the horses. It feels civilized in a way that car-centric streets never do.
posted by bracems at 6:12 AM on April 15, 2018 [6 favorites]

>>So. Many. Hats.
And all the women seem to be 36-24-36.
posted by falsedmitri at 6:40 AM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Another rabbit hole! I could get lost here for ages. What I noticed is how physical a group from the turn of the century was. They kept physically helping each other. It seemed like a huge cultural shift between then and now.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:48 AM on April 15, 2018

Neat stuff. It's kind of wild how mostly contemporary the 1967 London footage looks to me now even though it's half a century old. Except for some of the few far out mod outfits, most of the peoples clothes would fit in fine in 2018. Compared to the differences between 1967 and fifty years before that, the changes in the last fifty seem much less. The one big difference seems to be the lack of any logo-wear and no baseball caps.
posted by octothorpe at 8:06 AM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

So. Many. Hats --> The decline of men's hats.

And all the women seem to be 36-24-36 --> Considerably aided by corsets and girdles (the first girdle was in 1911).
posted by gudrun at 10:34 AM on April 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

The thing I love most about these is streets dominated by pedestrians and operating entirely at pedestrian speed...

That’s the first thing I noticed, too. Crowds of people on foot everywhere, criss-crossing streets wherever they please. It’s especially striking given how enormously wide the streets are.

I’m going to lose myself in this channel. Thanks!
posted by Thorzdad at 10:36 AM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Some nice clear footage of social dancing at a nightclub for Army servicemen. Very very nice to see, the dancing is nothing particularly special but it's still interesting to see and hear.
posted by BungaDunga at 10:41 AM on April 15, 2018

Wow. This is just an incredible channel. Thanks so much for sharing it!

May 10, 1933 - 250,000 demonstrate against Hitler in New York City
posted by ceejaytee at 11:29 AM on April 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

This is amazing.

I love the sound. The film resolution is quite good.

The women all have waists (due to corsets) , that's what make it seem like they're 36-24-36. Most of them are not.

It is interesting to me that as per usual kids get the idea of technology more than the adults. The kids are hamming it up and the adults look quizzical or confused.
posted by sio42 at 11:33 AM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hot damn! What fun!
posted by MovableBookLady at 11:43 AM on April 15, 2018

Almost all of the films are from the Uof South Carolina’s collections.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:02 PM on April 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

Note that octothorpe's 1967 London footage link has a time stamp beginning about five minutes in; here is the 1967 London from the beginning.
posted by Rash at 12:07 PM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

The things that struck me about the Killarney footage was the number of women wearing their shawls over their heads, and how poor rural Ireland still looked in the '20s. It's interesting that in the US, after WWII, there was a lot of music and entertainment. much of it targeted towards 2nd and 3rd generation Irish-Americans, which romanticized an older version of Ireland. Things like Finian's Rainbow, and "How Are Things In Glocca Morra."

Then you see that footage, and think "This is why we left Glocca Morra."

The film of pre-war Kyoto is marvelous, but naturally, you should not read the comments.

I'm amazed that Ann Miller appeared at a serviceman's dance in '42, and no one managed to get footage of her dancing.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:19 PM on April 15, 2018

I agree with octothorpe about the London '67 footage. It's kind of weird to see the sorts of fashions you'd expect from that time and place (mod haircuts, a few proto-hippies, lots of Mary Quant), as well as older people in suits and hats and such, but then to see "regular dude with bad haircut" who you might run across in your neighborhood tomorrow, or someone who could be a barista in your local cafe.

Whoever was filming that needs to lay off with the jump cuts, though. Seriously, Stephen- speed kills.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:36 PM on April 15, 2018

Not a single bicycle in 1911 New York? Where they still too expensive for everyday use?
posted by monotreme at 1:15 PM on April 15, 2018

The mix of horses, horse-drawn vehicles and motorized vehicles is mind-boggling. Just a big giant free-for-all, at from what I could see. No lanes, no organization, no priority given to any particular type of vehicle. There's a family being driven by their chauffeur, and next to him is a young girl who looks like she's about to pass out. I can totally relate.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 1:55 PM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

That young girl in the car has "can't even" written all over her. The driver is definitely having fun and possibly dad looks a bit chuffed now and then.
posted by sio42 at 4:10 PM on April 15, 2018

Everyone was wearing summer hats! Custom dictated you stopped wearing them on sept 15th which lead to one of the weirdest crime waves ever
posted by The Whelk at 5:15 PM on April 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

More from the folks behind the London '67 footage.
posted by Tiny Bungalow at 9:54 PM on April 15, 2018

i can't tell if the cameras were fogged or if the air was polluted, but it seems like the air was much more polluted. in new york city.
posted by eustatic at 11:07 PM on April 15, 2018

I always love it when someone speed-corrects old film. We got so used to tinny comedy ragtime piano being played behind too-fast footage of this era that I had a hard time in the 90s convincing people that we were just playing those old films wrong.

And definitely love these examples of a pedestrian-scale city. Note the striking difference to the 1940s examples that follow.

The underground-third-rail trams are also fun to see. Those didn't last very long!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:23 AM on April 16, 2018

Silent films were nominally shot at 16 fps so showing them at a sound film speed of 24 fps is going to make them faster and jerky looking. I say nominally because they were hand-cranked so speeds varied according to how good the cameraperson was at keeping a steady rhythm.

I don't know how I feel about this YouTube poster adding sound effects to these.
posted by octothorpe at 4:49 AM on April 16, 2018

A few things stand out to me:

1. Today almost every single street in every town and city is lined with parked cars. In this film you can see the sidewalks and buildings from the street, and easily walk between them.

2. Everyone is dressed similarly. Was this the way it was across classes, or is just one class or kind of person out and about in this particular neighborhood at this particular time of day? There are many more men out on the street than women.

3. There are actually fewer horses and carts and carriages (and automobiles), then I would have expected. (Lots of streetcars though). Is this unique to the time of day or day of the week or were there just less than I thought there were?
posted by thefool at 5:21 AM on April 16, 2018

it seems like the air was much more polluted. in new york city.

It really really was.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:06 AM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

My grandfather used to walk the streets and ride the subways of New York City in the 1930s. He was not too nostalgic about those times. He said one of the most striking urban advancements of the 20th century, one that that doesn't show up so well on film, is the control of odors.

You might not be surprised at the smell of horses everywhere, or to discover that motor vehicles of the 1930s were just astonishingly noxious. (White clouds of smoke billowing from a cold engine today are almost entirely steam; that's not the case with that car in the film. )

But it was the smell of the crush of humanity that my grandfather mentioned specifically. Tobacco smoke everywhere. The alcohol breath of a thousand hung-over commuters on the subway. The crush of August pedestrians before effective antiperspirants. And of course, with all that going on, laundry standards were (rationally enough) pretty different.

Which is not to say I don't enjoy seeing films like this. I just don't have any desire to step into that scene. I do like the pedestrian focus; today we should be able to have cities that both don't smell like a horse-powered oil-rig's locker room and pedestrian-friendly streets.
posted by Western Infidels at 7:22 AM on April 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

don't know how I feel about this YouTube poster adding sound effects to these.

Yeah that was weird. But cool footage.
posted by spitbull at 6:30 PM on April 17, 2018

For those who missed it, there's also Eighty Years of New York, showing split screen views of the same locations in NYC from the 1930s and the 2010s (posted to mefi last year).
posted by fings at 9:14 AM on April 24, 2018

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