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This Week in Universal News: A London Smog Helmet, 1959

by on February 17, 2014


This week in Universal News, a woman sports a space-age helmet to protect herself from the London smog. Really, what more is there to say?

From the release sheet:

SMOG HELMET IS SNUG: A Martian-type head gear startles Londoners. A pretty girl demonstrates and tests the new anti-smog device. A plastic bubble that supplies air-conditioning to the wearer. The inventor was thoughtful in the matter of osculation [kissing] and perhaps a sip-of-a-sodas. Made room for both.

SmogHelmet

A woman drinks tea while wearing her smog helmet.

You may view the complete newsreel, including stories about the launch of a weather satellite, an early version of parasailing, and the 1959 World Bobsledding Championships, among others, here. (Please note that this reel is not quite the version that audiences would have seen in a theater. The most original copy in the holdings duplicates the footage of the weather satellite launch. Skip to about 1:50 to see the newsreel with narration.)

 

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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