Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center, 1937

This week, we’re excited to provide a sneak peek of a new series on our Media Matters blog. Starting in January, we’ll launch “This Week in Universal News”. Every Monday, archives technician Jim Konicek will feature a story from the National Archives’ Universal Newsreel Collection released that week in history.

Today’s post features the iconic Rockefeller Center ice skating rink in a story released November 24th, 1937. The soundtrack from this newsreel was disposed of by Universal, but we think the footage speaks for itself.

The ice rink at Rockefeller Center had high end shops and was known as the Sunken Plaza.  In 1936 a temporary ice rink was built to encourage people to patronize the shops. The footage from this Universal Newsreel shows ice skaters in 1937, when the rink became a permanent holiday tradition.

This original program, (complete with ticket prices!), is part of the production file held at NARA.

The complete Universal newsreel from November 24th, 1937 can be seen here.

About the Universal Newsreel Collection at NARA:

The Universal Newsreel Collection is one of the most used motion picture collections at the National Archives and Records Administration. Universal Newsreels were shown in movie theaters twice a week, from 1929 until 1967, and covered a wide range of American life and history during that time period. Each release usually contained five to seven stories averaging two minutes in length.

In 1974, Universal Newsreel deeded its edited newsreel and outtake collection to the United States through the National Archives (NARA), and did not place any copyright restrictions on its use (some stories may contain other underlying intellectual property or proprietary use rights).

While Universal disposed of many of the soundtracks, leaving the newsreels incomplete, supplementary material like scripts, shot lists, and event programs can be found in the production files, available for research at Archives II in College Park, Maryland.

Join us next week for a more detailed post about the Universal Newsreel collection and our first official post in the series!