VJ-Day 75th Anniversary

Friday, August 14th, marks the 75th anniversary of the surrender of the Empire of Japan, ending the Second World War. To commemorate this event, the National Archives Moving Image and Sound Branch would like to present films from our holdings documenting the tremendous moment in world history. After the surrender of German forces on the … Continue reading VJ-Day 75th Anniversary

The Draggin’ Wagon: An All American Soap Box Derby

This week’s blog post covers the U.S. Information Agency (USIA)’s film The Draggin’ Wagon, (Local Identifier: 306.6618).  The film offers a unique look into the life of a young African American boy, Clarence Carter Jr., and his journey to create a homemade Soap Box car for the 1963 Soap Box Derby in Washington, D.C. The … Continue reading The Draggin’ Wagon: An All American Soap Box Derby

Summer Theater in The March of Time

The October 18, 1935 release of the The March of Time newsreel serial contains a segment on "Summer Theatres." The outtakes from this segment shine a light on a time when summer stock theater was an important way for emerging actors and other artists to be seen by film studio representatives. Often taking place outdoors, sometimes in a mere tent, … Continue reading Summer Theater in The March of Time

The Big Picture: Nurses in the Army

In 1951, the United States Army created a television series called The Big Picture, which they would describe as “the official television report by the U. S. Army to its members and to the American people.” Episodes were made available at U. S. Army facilities around the world, as well as television stations across the … Continue reading The Big Picture: Nurses in the Army

Covert Cartoons: Animated Anti-Communism in Mexico and Beyond

Still image from "Viaje Interplanetario." (306.6296) In the 1950s, the United States and its allies were deep in the throes of the Cold War. To face and fight the spread of communism, the United States Information Agency (USIA) unleashed anti-communist film campaigns across the globe. Although laden with serious political messages, some films took the … Continue reading Covert Cartoons: Animated Anti-Communism in Mexico and Beyond

Film Preservation 101: Why does this film smell like vinegar?

Film Preservation 101 is an occasional series in which we answer our most frequently asked questions.  You may have heard that old films can be dangerous, and potentially even explosive (we covered this topic in Film Preservation 101: Is Nitrate Film Really Dangerous?) and you’re worried about your grandfather’s home movies that you keep in … Continue reading Film Preservation 101: Why does this film smell like vinegar?

Spotlight: Happy Birthday, West Virginia

West Virginia officially became a state on June 20, 1863 and will celebrate its 157th birthday this year. The state was created when several northern Virginia counties were admitted to the Union during the Civil War after several years of petitioning the United States Government. Economic and social differences between southern and northern Virginia lead … Continue reading Spotlight: Happy Birthday, West Virginia

A Trip to the Hawaiian Islands

The Hawaiian Islands (FC-FC-484) is a silent, black and white film from 1924, part of the Ford Motor Company Collection.  At the time this film was made, Hawaii was a territory to the United States and would remain that way until it achieved statehood on August 21, 1959.  The film consists of unique footage of … Continue reading A Trip to the Hawaiian Islands

VE Day in Color

Still from 18-SFP-9148 Meeting at Torgau The Germany city of Torgau is located on the banks of the Elbe River just 100 miles from the county's capital of Berlin. It is there that American and Soviet forces met on April 25, 1945 marking the end of World War II in Germany. Twelve days later, on … Continue reading VE Day in Color

The Land of the Morning Calm: U.S. Army Films from the Korean War

Korea has long been known as the “Land of the Morning Calm”, a reference to the region’s natural beauty and tranquility. This tranquility has been belied by some seven decades of conflict, from the Korean War through to the present day. Today we will take a look at two different eras of that conflict from … Continue reading The Land of the Morning Calm: U.S. Army Films from the Korean War