Gobble Gobble: America’s Thanksgiving Turkey Tradition

While it is generally understood that venison graced the table of the first Thanksgiving celebration, the idea of Pilgrims chowing down on turkey is solidly enshrined in the American imagination. The 1930 film The Turkey Business shows how the "early explorers" of America hunted and prepared wild turkeys. The Turkey Business (33.364) begins by establishing the … Continue reading Gobble Gobble: America’s Thanksgiving Turkey Tradition

With Strings Attached: Rice, Murder, and Awkward Communist Puppets

Let’s suppose you have a child, and that child loves puppet shows. You might decide to introduce your child to The Muppets Take Manhattan or the Thunderbirds television series. Or, you could introduce them to something much darker: a 1952 United States Information Agency (USIA) production titled Tomas and the Huks. Marionettes were fairly popular … Continue reading With Strings Attached: Rice, Murder, and Awkward Communist Puppets

The U.S. Military Goes Hollywood: Behind the Scenes with the First Motion Picture Unit

I have to admit, I didn’t know about the U.S. Army Air Forces First Motion Picture Unit until 2007, when the Motion Picture Preservation Lab was tasked with making theater prints for a special program at the Pacific Film Archive. I may not have heard of the unit, but I certainly recognized its stars: “Hey, … Continue reading The U.S. Military Goes Hollywood: Behind the Scenes with the First Motion Picture Unit

The Curious Case of Curious Alice

Even before the DVIC accession brought How to Succeed with Brunettes to light, I had a special place in my heart for quirky government film productions. When I first saw a beat-up, faded print of Curious Alice, it was clear that whatever anti-drug sentiment the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) was trying to convey, … Continue reading The Curious Case of Curious Alice