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As April 15 approaches, Americans across the country are filled with dread as they file their taxes and watch money disappear from their pockets. If history provides any relief, we are not the first to feel the burden. In 1789, Ben Franklin famously wrote, “In this world nothing can said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Albert Einstein reportedly said, “This [filing taxes] is too difficult for a mathematician, it takes a philosopher.” At the 1988 Republican National Convention, George H.W. Bush memorably preached, “Read my lips: No new taxes.”

Yet from Ben Franklin’s quips to George H.W.’s lips, American tax policy has gone through some dramatic changes. The first income tax was imposed in 1861 to fund Union troops during the Civil War. In 1913, the 16th amendment to the Constitution established a regular federal income tax. It was not until WWII that the government began taking money directly from employees’ paychecks. Then, in 1961, tax collecting fundamentally changed again when the Internal Revenue Service began using computers.

Right on the Button (Local ID: 58-2)

The film above was created in the late 1960s. It is part of a small collection of films that was produced by the IRS, and now preserved at the National Archives. This particular film, Right on the Button, showcases the “new tax tool” known as Automatic Data Processing (ADP) at the National Computer Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The film follows tax returns as they are transferred, processed, and fed into the ADP system. Viewers today are more likely captivated by the refrigerator-size computers and 1960s hairdos (see 6:27). But, the IRS created this film with a purpose: convince citizens that computers were beneficial.

When the IRS began using computers in 1961, many people were horrified. An article in Harper’s Magazine titled, “The Martinsburg Monster: A True Horror Story for Taxpayers,” described how computers limited the possibilities for refunds. A tax expert then envisioned a scenario in which erroneous notices forced people to overpay, or $100 million dollars in unwarranted refund checks were issued.

The shift towards computer technology also made Internal Revenue Commissioner, Mortimer Caplin, a well-known and controversial figure. One reporter accused Caplin of “bringing Big Brother into everyone’s life in the form of the Martinsburg Monster.” In February 1963, Caplin was the cover story of Time magazine, in which he supported the changes made under his administration. Controversy surrounding the IRS computers was not limited to water cooler conversations, it was reflected in the mass media.

Right on the Button attempts to combat these technology driven fears. The film highlights the benefits of a computerized system: Computers could speed up processing times, discover errors taxpayers make against themselves, and verify that all citizens pay a fair amount. Additionally, the film emphasizes the IRS employees who maintain and check the ADP system. This was likely an attempt to quell fears that computers would replace human jobs.

IRS GIRLS

The shift towards computerized tax processing was revolutionary in catching tax evaders. ADP was used to compare an individual’s tax return with records from their employer; any discrepancies were then flagged for further investigation. Soon after implementation, the ADP system caught people filing duplicate returns and attempting other refund schemes.  Many refund checks were also withheld until taxpayers paid their dues from previous years. Fewer people got away with cheating, and many more were afraid to even attempt it.

In 2012, the IRS reported that 120 million people filed their taxes electronically. It seems that people no longer view computers as monsters. Then again, monsters are much less scary when they can fit on your lap.


Charles B. Seib, “The Martinsburg Monster: A True Horror Story for Taxpayers,” Harper’s Magazine, April 1962.

“Enter Balance Due Here,” Time, February 1963.

 



This week in 1966, Boeing introduced the world to the 747, the first jumbo jet. Today, production of the 747 is winding down, but when it first debuted with commercial airlines in 1970, the double-decker represented both scale of economy and the lap of luxury for those fortunate enough to travel in first class. Even if you have never have flown on a 747, you probably frequently see one on the news: Air Force One, the plane used to transport the President of the United States, is a twenty-five year old 747. You can see the first 747 at The Museum of Flight in Seattle. This week, the museum announced their plan to restore the historic plane.

From the release sheet:

NEW 490-SEAT JETS: The largest jet airliner in the history of commercial aviation will be in the air sometime in 1969. It will accommodate 490 passengers, over twice as many as are now carried by any commercial craft. The ship is the jetliner 747, and an order for 25 at a cost of $525 million has been placed with Boeing by Pan American.

You may view the complete newsreel, including stories about a Budapest fashion show, opening day for the Braves for their inaugural season in Atlanta, and Jack Niklaus winning his third Masters tournament, among others, here.

747-1

This Universal News story features a mock-up of the 747 interior.

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.



In an effort to provide information on recently declassified motion pictures and sound recordings the Motion Picture, Sound and Video Branch will publish a quarterly list of newly declassified records.

This quarter’s list consists of films from a series of Army records (Local Identifier 319-IDF/National Archives Identifier 7851390)*. They are intelligence reports that were obtained from citizens, or newsreels produced by Eastern Bloc countries. They show the pomp and circumstance of military parades and the production capabilities of factories in countries under Soviet control during the Cold War. The majority of the films have textual documentation associated with them, including some Russian pamphlets, and a few even have slides and photographs. This type of documentation is uncommon in our holdings, which makes this series very interesting. The films are in a variety of languages, although the majority seem to be Russian and Polish. If you would like to help translate any of these films check out our dashboard on Amara for films that need to be subtitled.

Here are two examples from the 208 films declassified in this series.

 

Topolnitza Dam, August 1958 (Local Identifier 319-IDF-94/National Archives Identifier 7868635)*

 

Odrzutowce i medycyna [Jets and Medicine], December 1958 (Local Identifier 319-IDF-98/National Archives Identifier 7868636)*

*These catalog entries are not currently live in our catalog, OPA. We apologize for the inconvenience and will provide links to these entries in the catalog as soon as possible.

 

From January 1, 2014 through March 31, 2014 the following records were declassified.

Motion Pictures:

Local Identifier           Title

 

319-IDF-4 Newsreel of Power Plant, HydroCentral, Stalingrad,  January 1959
319-IDF-5 Moscow Overhead Tramway Line, January 1959
319-IDF-6 Rumanian Newsreel; Moon Rocket, January 1959
319-IDF-7 Romanian Newsreel, January 1959
319-IDF-8 Cotton Mill, January 1959
319-IDF-9 Transmission Lines, January 1959
319-IDF-10 Piston Fabrication, January 1959
319-IDF-11 Romanian Newsreel, Construction of Factory (Medical), January 1959
319-IDF-12 Romanian Newsreel, New Housing, January 1959
319-IDF-13 China, January 1959
319-IDF-14 Factory in PILA Poland, January 1959
319-IDF-17 Bulgarian Newsreel, Machine Tooling, February 1959
319-IDF-18 Bulgarian Newsreel, Dam Construction, February 1959
319-IDF-19 Czechoslovakian Newsreel, Medical Research, February 1959
319-IDF-20 Romanian Newsreel, Chemical Plant,  February 1959
319-IDF-21 Polish Newsreel,  Automotive Plant, February 1959
319-IDF-22 Mining, February 1959
319-IDF-23 Poland: Warsaw Foundry, February 1959
319-IDF-24 Glider, February 1959
319-IDF-25 Romanian Newsreel, Metallurgical Plant, January 1959
319-IDF-26 Romanian Newsreel, Mining  Operations,  February 1959
319-IDF-27 Romanian Newsreel, February 1959
319-IDF-28 Construction Projects, February 1959
319-IDF-29 People’s Army, February 1959
319-IDF-30 Ball Bearing Plant, March 1959
319-IDF-31 Diesel Locomotive, March 1959
319-IDF-32 Welding Machines, March 1959
319-IDF-33 Poldina Steel Plant in Kladno District, July 10, 1958
319-IDF-34 Romanian Newsreel, April 1959
319-IDF-36 Romanian Newsreel, April 1959
319-IDF-37 Operations in the Ostrava Region, April 1959
319-IDF-38 Newsreel, July 1959
319-IDF-39 Czechoslovakian News, July 1959
319-IDF-40 Czechoslovakian Newsreel, April 1959
319-IDF-44 Mining, May 1959
319-IDF-46 Romanian Newsreel, May 1959
319-IDF-47 Romanian Newsreel, May 1959
319-IDF-48 Hunedoara Iron Works, May 1959
319-IDF-49 Germany, June 1959
319-IDF-50 Polish Newsreel Story, May 1959
319-IDF-51 Czechoslovakian Newsreel, July 1959
319-IDF-52 City of Borzesti, July 1959
319-IDF-53 Excavating Combine, July 1959
319-IDF-54 Electric Station, July 1959
319-IDF-55 Advanced Experience Day, July 1959
319-IDF-56 Thermocentral, July 1959
319-IDF-57 Czechoslovakian Newsreel, August 1959
319-IDF-58 Shipyard, August 1959
319-IDF-59 Czechoslovakia News, August 1959
319-IDF-60 Romanian Newsreel, August 1959
319-IDF-61 Romanian Newsreel, August 1959
319-IDF-62 Romanian Newsreel, August 1959
319-IDF-63 Romanian Newsreel, August 1959
319-IDF-64 Czechoslovakian Newsreel, August 1959
319-IDF-65 Bulgarian Newsreel, August 1959
319-IDF-66 Romanian Newsreel, August 1959
319-IDF-67 Romanian Newsreel, August 1959
319-IDF-68 Romanian Newsreel, August 1959
319-IDF-69 Rumanian People’s Republic, August, 1959
319-IDF-71 Soviet Heavy Bridging, June 1956
319-IDF-74 Ball Bearing Research Institute in BRNO, July 1959
319-IDF-75 Czechoslovak Newsreel, August 1959
319-IDF-76 Military Parade, May 9, 1956
319-IDF-77 Camoflauge Training
319-IDF-78 Grain Harvest, August 1958
319-IDF-79 Hydro Electric Power, August 1958
319-IDF-80 Heavy Machinery, April 1959
319-IDF-81 Czechoslovakia: Klement Gottwald Works [Romanian Newsreel], April 1959
319-IDF-82 Imagini Din Regiunea Tinisoara [Czechoslovakian Newsreel], April 1959
319-IDF-83 Romanian Newsreel, May 1959
319-IDF-84 Czechoslovakian Newsreel, June 1959
319-IDF-85 Romanian Newsreel, June 1959
319-IDF-87 Road Conditions, Laos, January 1956
319-IDF-89 Polish Parade, July 1957
319-IDF-91 Transmittal of Film, November 1957
319-IDF-92 Poland Air Show, November 29, 1957
319-IDF-93 Oil Drilling, July 1958
319-IDF-94 Topolnitza Dam, August 1958
319-IDF-95 Bulgaria Thermo Hydraulic Plant, August 1958
319-IDF-96 China, October 1958
319-IDF-97 Leipzig Military Meet, September 1958
319-IDF-98 Odrzutowce i medycyna (Poland), December 1958
319-IDF-99 Ship Instructions, December 1958
319-IDF-100 Iron Work (Czech), November 1958
319-IDF-101 Czech Electric, November 1958
319-IDF-102 Czech Chems, November 1958
319-IDF-103 Textile Plant, December 1958
319-IDF-104 Czech Medicine, December 1958
319-IDF-105 Chalk, November 1958
319-IDF-106 Czechoslovakian, December 1958
319-IDF-107 USSR Mining, December 1958
319-IDF-108 Steel Works, December 1958
319-IDF-110 Telephone Central, December 1958
319-IDF-111 Hungarian Delegation, December 1958
319-IDF-112 Beach No. 333, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, October 1957
319-IDF-113 Railroad Bridge on the Yangtze River, 1957
319-IDF-121 Equipment, December 1957
319-IDF-122 Romanian News Reels, February 1958
319-IDF-123 News Reels, 1957
319-IDF-125 Rocket Experiment, January 1958
319-IDF-126 Waterworks and Dam, April 1958
319-IDF-127 Construction of Oil Works, March 1958
319-IDF-129 Surgical Instrument, February 1958
319-IDF-130 Steel Works/ Leather Works, April 1958
319-IDF-131 New Crane / New Method of Stiffening Foundry Sand, March 1958
319-IDF-132 Klement Gottwald Foundry, April 1958
319-IDF-133 Welding Automation, May 1958
319-IDF-134 Factory Construction / Soda Works / Bicycle Factory / Metallurgical Works, 1958
319-IDF-135 Transmittal of Film, 1958
319-IDF-136 Bridge Construction CSR, January 1958
319-IDF-137 Rectifiers (Solenium), April 1958
319-IDF-139 Aluminum Production / Iron Works / Red Steel Works, April 1958
319-IDF-140 Transmittal of Film, June 1958
319-IDF-143 Hydro-Electric Station, April 1958
319-IDF-144 Electro Porcelaine, May 1958
319-IDF-146 May Day Parade, 1958
319-IDF-147 Czech Army Corps Engineer, November 1957
319-IDF-148 Material Handling, March 1958
319-IDF-149 High Tension Electric, April 1958
319-IDF-150 Tracking Calculator, February 1958
319-IDF-151 Hydro-Electric Station, April 1958
319-IDF-153 BLOC Parades, Czech newsreel, May 1958
319-IDF-154 Photography, May 1958
319-IDF-155 Production of Natural Gas, 1958
319-IDF-156 Bulgarian Newsreel, March 1958
319-IDF-157 Hungarian TV, April 1958
319-IDF-159 Explosives used in mining, March 1958
319-IDF-160 Cement Plant/ Military Parade, July 1958
319-IDF-161 Parade/Transmittal Film Publication, June 1958
319-IDF-163 Steel Works Factory / Textile Mill / Pump Station / Cement Factory / Synthetic Materials / Hydro-electric Construction / Production of Trucks / Trolley Bus / Mao Works, May-June 1958
319-IDF-165 Regulators, May 1958
319-IDF-166 Helicopters, July 1958
319-IDF-167 Newsreels on Bus Chassis Production / Military Parades, Feb.-April 1958
319-IDF-168 Limestone, September 1959
319-IDF-169 News Reel – House Construction September 1959
319-IDF-170 Ammo Factory, October 1959
319-IDF-171 News Reel, September 1959
319-IDF-172 Steel Works, September 1959
319-IDF-173 Parade, October 1959
319-IDF-174 Chemicals, October 1959
319-IDF-175 Czech News Reel, October 1959
319-IDF-176 News Reel, October 1959
319-IDF-177 Bulgarian News Reel, October 1959
319-IDF-178 Construction, October 1959
319-IDF-179 Industry, October 1959
319-IDF-180 News Reel, October 1959
319-IDF-181 Laboratory, October 1959
319-IDF-182 News Reel, October 1959
319-IDF-183 Steel Industry, October 1959
319-IDF-184 News Reel, October 1959
319-IDF-185 Newsreel, October 1959
319-IDF-186 News Reel, October 1959
319-IDF-188 Navy Yard, October 1959
319-IDF-189 Industry, November 1959
319-IDF-190 Czechoslovakian Newsreel, November 1959
319-IDF-191 Machinery, November 1959
319-IDF-197 New GAZ 62 Truck Road Test, December 1959
319-IDF-198 Film Extract from a Russian Newsreel GAZ 62 Truck, December 1959
319-IDF-200 Machinery, January 1960
319-IDF-201 Polish Newsreel Film Story, January 1960
319-IDF-202 Czechoslovakian Newsreel, January 1960
319-IDF-203 Czechoslovakian Newsreel, January 1960
319-IDF-204 Czechoslovakian Newsreel, January 1960
319-IDF-205 Czechoslovakian Newsreel, January 1960
319-IDF-206 Semanatoarea, January 1960
319-IDF-207 Romanian Newsreel, January 1960
319-IDF-208 USSR: Ship Industry, January 1960
319-IDF-209 Bulgaria (Ivan Dimitrov Shipyard), January 1960
319-IDF-210 Czechoslovakian Newsreel, January 1960
319-IDF-211 Hungarian Newsreel, January 1960
319-IDF-212 Czech Newsreel, January 1960
319-IDF-213 Martin Furnaces Installed at Cherepovets, Russia, January 1960
319-IDF-214 Romanian Newsreel, February 1960
319-IDF-216 Czech Newsreel, December 1959
319-IDF-217 Czech Newsreel, December 1959
319-IDF-218 Czech Newsreel, December 1959
319-IDF-219 Building Material, March 28, 1960
319-IDF-220 Steel Works, May 1960
319-IDF-221 Desert, May 1960
319-IDF-222 Romanian Newsreel, May 1960
319-IDF-223 Czechoslovakian Newsreel, May 1960
319-IDF-224 Radotin Valley, May 1960
319-IDF-225 Cement Works, May 1960
319-IDF-226 Rumania Combinate, May 1960
319-IDF-227 Steel Plant, May 1960
319-IDF-228 Czechoslovakian Newsreel, May 1960
319-IDF-229 Research Institute, May 1960
319-IDF-230 Czech Newsreel, May 1960
319-IDF-231 Research Institute of Communications, May 1960
319-IDF-233 Clement Gottwald Plant, June 1960
319-IDF-234 Various Operations, June 1960
319-IDF-235 Romanian, June 1960
319-IDF-237 Czechoslovakian Parachute Jumping Exhibition, June 29, 1956
319-IDF-241 Air Activities, September 1, 1960
319-IDF-243 Nepalese Festival, October 1960
319-IDF-246 Motor Production, January 27, 1961
319-IDF-247 Tractor Production, January 21, 1961
319-IDF-249 Soviet Rocket (Ice Breaker)
319-IDF-253 Inauguration of the “Third Congress”, July 1960
319-IDF-254 Construction, July 1960
319-IDF-255 Construction Site, August 1960
319-IDF-256 Czech Newsreel, August 1960
319-IDF-257 Romanian Newsreel, August 1960
319-IDF-258 Romanian Newsreel, August 1960
319-IDF-259 Rolling Mill, September 1960
319-IDF-260 Bulgarian Newsreel, September 1960
319-IDF-261 Czech Newsreel, September 1960
319-IDF-265 May Day Parade, 5/1/51

 

Sound Recordings:

Local Identifier           Title

No sound recordings were declassified during this quarter.

 

Descriptive information for declassified records can be accessed by searching for the item number, ex. “341-IR-38-56”, in NARA’s Catalog (OPA). You may also search on the Declassification Project Number (NND), if you know one. For example, searching on the declassification number “NND 64803” returns entries that are part of Declassification Project 64803. A list of declassified textual records can be found on the National Declassification Center’s web page.

Check out the post “From Top Secret Vault to Open Stacks: Declassification of Moving Images” to learn more about the declassification process. Lists of other recently declassified moving images and sound recordings can be located by clicking on the Declassification Quarterly Reports category on the left side of the blog.



Although this year’s Oscars broadcast was a full two months ago, the ceremony honoring My Fair Lady, Julie Andrews, and Rex Harrison was held this week in 1965. If that seems late to you, consider that the very first Oscars were handed out May 16, 1929.

From the release sheet:

HOLLYWOOD’S NIGHT OF GLAMOUR: It’s Hollywood’s night to hold the world spotlight…the annual Academy Awards. Coveted Oscars go to “My Fair Lady” and its star, REX HARRISON – BEST PICTURE and BEST ACTOR. Best Actress Award is bestowed upon JULIE ANDREWS for her role in Disney’s “Mary Poppins” – a part she accepted after being bypassed for the movie version lead in “MY FAIR LADY,” in which she created the original Liza Doolittle on the stage….and which rolled up theatrical history.

You may view the complete newsreel, which also features President Lyndon Johnson giving a speech about Vietnam policy, and “red harassment” in West Berlin, here.

Oscars2Sidney Poitier escorts Julie Andrews off the stage after her Best Actress win for Mary Poppins.

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.



The photographs featured this week come from digital photographic series (born-digital and scans) that are now available or will be available in our Online Public Access (OPA) catalog. They are series 434-LB,  406-NSB and 311-MAD. The photos used for 311-MAD are accretions to an already existing digital series and these additions will appear in OPA soon.

434-LB-2-XBD9706-02410tif

Local Identifier: 434-LB-2-XBD9706-02410tif.jpg, “Ansel Adams photographing Director Edwin McMillan for the forth-coming book, “Fiat Lux,” a collection of pictures and text that will be published by the University of California in celebration of its Centennial in 1968. Photo taken November 18, 1966. Morgue 1966-136 (P-7) [Photographer: Donald Cooksey], 11/18/1966″

 

406-NSB-003-Perdido_Bay_671

Local Identifier: 406-NSB-003-Perdido_Bay_671.jpg, “Wild bottlenose dolphins are a frequent but always thrilling sight on a sunset cruise from an Orange Beach marina”; Alabama’s Coastal Connection; Orange Beach, Alabama; Photograph by Joanne McDonough

 

406-NSB-075-nighttimevegas

Local Identifier: 406-NSB-075-nighttimevegas.jpg,  “A variety of colors light up the city in this exemplary picture of Las Vegas at night”; Las Vegas Strip; Nevada

 

311-MAD-44984

Local Identifier: 311-MAD-44984.jpg, “Ames, Iowa, August 11, 2010 — A lone remaining car sits in a parking area outside Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa. The stadium itself was spared any water damage. Central Iowa has been inundated with back-to-back-to-back storms resulting in record flooding in Ames.  Jace Anderson/FEMA”

 

311-MAD-47788

Local Identifier: 311-MAD-47788.jpg, “Joplin, Mo. , May 26, 2011 — U. S. Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute (left) tours tornado damage with Kathy Sullivan, Assistant Secretary of the Department of commerce/National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, in a neighborhood near St. John’s Regional Medical Center. Jace Anderson/FEMA”

 

311-MAD-51068

Local Identifier: 311-MAD-51068.jpg, “Windham, N. Y. , September 1, 2011 — A shop on Main Street in Windham proclaims their victory over the destruction from Hurricane Irene.  The town suffered damage to homes and businesses and was included in the disaster declaration by President Obama on 9/3/11.  FEMA Photo/Judith Grafe”

 

 

 

 

 

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