This Week in Universal News: The Invasion of Poland, 1939

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, marking the official start of the Second World War. Sixteen days later, Russia invaded Poland from the east. By the end of September, Poland had succumbed to the dual attacks. The nation was divided between Russia and Germany according to boundaries established in a secret clause of a nonaggression … Continue reading This Week in Universal News: The Invasion of Poland, 1939

This Week in Universal News: Video Phone Demonstration, 1955

This week's story features a demonstration of the "often-forecast" videophone. Today, numerous devices and programs enable video calling, but the videophone as a separate appliance never quite took off. One reason why 1955 was not the year for the video phone is the price tag: According to the Universal news story, the videophone cost $5000.00, or about $43,000.00 in today's dollars. … Continue reading This Week in Universal News: Video Phone Demonstration, 1955

This Week in Universal News: The 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin

This week's story is from the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in Berlin, Germany. The games are most well-known for the controversy surrounding them; there was strong support in the United States and around the world for a boycott because of the Nazi regime's racist ideology and discriminatory actions against Jews. The United States' team attended the games, but several Jewish … Continue reading This Week in Universal News: The 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin

Supporting Troops on the Homefront: The North Platte, Nebraska Canteen

The story of the North Platte, Nebraska canteen reads more like a Frank Capra movie rather than an Army film production. As the story goes, a rumor had started that a train carrying troops from Nebraska would be arriving at North Platte on Christmas Day 1941. About five hundred townspeople came to greet the train bearing food and … Continue reading Supporting Troops on the Homefront: The North Platte, Nebraska Canteen

This Week in Universal News: A Pie-Baking Contest at the Beach, 1936

In this story from Universal News, swimsuit-clad women participate in a pie-baking contest on the beach. While there is not much more to be said about the story itself, it is a classic example of the "Bathing Beauties" that appear in the Universal newsreels throughout the 1930s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VepP0WU8j94 The original release sheet reads: Bathing Beauties … Continue reading This Week in Universal News: A Pie-Baking Contest at the Beach, 1936

A Superfly Shambles: Weekend with a Superman

Sometimes we come across government films that are so well-produced and visually appealing that it stands to reason that they must also have an effective message. Sometimes that's just not the case. Curious Alice is one such film. Weekend with a Superman is another. http://youtu.be/OBaZNBxIlHk Produced in 1975, “Weekend with a Superman” was part of the Army’s … Continue reading A Superfly Shambles: Weekend with a Superman

This Week in Universal News: The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, 1964

Fifty years ago, in what came to be known as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, North Vietnamese patrol boats attacked the U.S.S. Maddox. The events led to Congress passing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which allowed the president to increase U.S. involvement in Vietnam without Congressional approval. In this week's Universal newsreel, the story, including … Continue reading This Week in Universal News: The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, 1964

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. … Continue reading This Week in Universal News: A Hovercraft Crosses the English Channel, 1959

Looking to the Future: Space Culture on Film

The launch of Sputnik and the space race led to an era of optimism which influenced pop-culture in America and overseas. We imagined where we might live, the clothes we might wear and the cars we might drive. Words and phrases such as astro and space age entered our vocabulary as a way to describe … Continue reading Looking to the Future: Space Culture on Film

This Week in Universal News: The First Parking Meter, 1935

The world's first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City on July 16th, 1935. Today, advanced parking meters allow a driver to pay by mobile phone, but the first parking meters required a nickel to operate. This story from Universal News demonstrates the novelty of the new invention. http://youtu.be/gJiMa0aKNgU From the release sheet: Town Clocks … Continue reading This Week in Universal News: The First Parking Meter, 1935