This Week in Universal News: A Hovercraft Crosses the English Channel, 1959

On July 25, 1909, Louis Bleriot became the first man to fly over the English Channel. In 1959, the flight was commemorated with the first crossing by hovercraft. Taking a hovercraft between England and France was a reality for commercial passengers between 1968 and 2000, when a commercial hovercraft service offered transportation across the English Channel.

From the release sheet: 

HOVERCRAFT SKIMS CHANNEL: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the first flight across the English Channel, Britain’s saucer-shaped “Hovercraft” skims from Calais to Dover, only inches above the surface.

hovercraft-1

A hovercraft is prepared for its first flight across the English Channel.

You may view the complete reel, including stories about President Nixon’s visit to the U.S.S.R., elections in the new state of Hawaii, the annual wild horse round-up on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, and others, 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 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.

Learn more about the Universal Newsreel Collection in this post and in this Prologue article. Watch other Universal Newsreels in our research room, in OPA, and on this playlist.

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