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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 includes sound recordings relating to former Marine Sergeant Jon M. Sweeney who was a prisoner of war (POW) in Southeast Asia from February 19, 1969 to August 31, 1970. The catalog entry for this series (National Archives Identifier: 12005668) is not currently live in our catalog, OPA. We apologize for the inconvenience and will provide a link to this entry as soon as possible.

From April 1, 2014 through June 30, 2014 the following records were declassified.

Motion Pictures:

Local Identifier                       Title

72-GENERAL-6 CORVUS LAUNCH 1954 (N-1930)
72-GENERAL-14 CORVUS (LAW MP77-119, E PRINT) A-7209
72-GENERAL-15 CORVUS (LAW MP BID 113D – 114D) A-7209
72-GENERAL-21 LARK INTERCEPT, 1951
72-GENERAL-22 S-7284 SPARROW I  STAGE #5
72-GENERAL-29 S-3329  XAAM-N-2  SPARROW 1, 1953
72-GENERAL-30 Preliminary Evaluation Test of AN/URQ-5 (XN-1)
72-GENERAL-34 SEA SPARROW FILM REPORT (T-4850)
72-GENERAL-35 OPERATION BULLPUP EVAL. REPORT (CA. 1959) J-33412
72-GENERAL-39 CORVUS (ENC #3) T-8872
72-GENERAL-40 CORVUS (ENC #2) 1955
74-G-2 Flares 4/29/59
74-G-4 [No Title]
74-G-5 Mine Drops 6/15/56
74-G-13 BOAR [J12] 2/20/53
74-G-18 THE TRITON MISSLE, 1957 [J12]  07/06/59
74-G-20 SUBROC REPORT #1, NOL [X5/2-3]  04/10/59
74-G-23 HAWK GUIDANCE FLIGHTS [X11/2]  1956-57
74-G-24 HAWK [X11/2]  10/02/56
74-G-26 HIGHLIGHTS OF SIDEWINDER TEST PROGRAM 9/53-7/54 [S78-1 (126)-1]  11/16/54
74-G-27 HIGHLIGHTS OF SIDEWINDER TEST PROGRAM 9/53-2/54 [S78-1 (126)-2]
74-G-28 SIDEWINDER, HIGHLIGHTS OF TESTS [X11]  11/01/55
74-G-29 PROJECT X-55, SIDEWINDER, US NAVAL ORDNANCE TEST STATION [S78-1 (126)]  07/09/54
111-SFR-174 The Korean Situation: November 1951
342-FR-949 HALF A LOAF:  EVALUATION OF AN ANTICROP WEAPON
342-USAF-76341 SAC Command and Control  11/16/76
343-GENERAL-2 F-14 FIRST FLIGHT 12/21/1970
343-GENERAL-3 F-14 TV CLIP
343-GENERAL-4 Aircraft Accident on USS Ranger, C-2A
343-GENERAL-5 E2A-1 INGRESS AND EGRESS, 1963
343-GENERAL-6 LAMPS Mark III TEST PROGRAM
343-GENERAL-11 E2C FIRST FLIGHT
343-GENERAL-12 E2A REFUELING C-130
343-GENERAL-15 Light Airborne Multipurpose System
343-GENERAL-16 LAMPS TEST BED DEVELOPMENT
343-GENERAL-17 LAMPS Mark III 1981
343-GENERAL-23 TF30-P412A
343-GENERAL-25 LAMPS Test Bed Project
343-GENERAL-26 NARAD Briefing Report: LAMPS [Light Airborne Multipurpose System]
343-GENERAL-27 LAMPS DV-98 AT SEA
343-GENERAL-30 LAMPS
343-GENERAL-32 LAMPS DV/98 AT SEA
343-GENERAL-36 E2C PROGRAM STATUS 1973
343-GENERAL-38 F-14 PROGRESS REPORT #3, Fall 1972
343-GENERAL-39 F-14 REEL
343-GENERAL-41 FRONT F-14
343-GENERAL-42 F-14 DROP 1977
343-GENERAL-43 F-14 Gun Camera
343-GENERAL-45 #23 TF-30 P412 CONTAINMENT
343-GENERAL-46 F-14 Engine Vulnerability Testing
343-GENERAL-47 F-14 PROGRESS REPORT – FALL 1971
343-GENERAL-48 F-14 Armament Suitability Test Nav Air Systems Technical Film Report
343-GENERAL-49 AIR COMBAT MANEUVERING ca. 1970s
343-GENERAL-53 F-14 PROGRESS REPORT #5: The Operational Tomcat
343-GENERAL-58 F-14 FORRESTALL DECK – HANDLING & LAUNCH JUNE, 1972
343-GENERAL-59 F-14 ON-BOARD CAMERAS (?) – “MIKE GUENTHER” MAR 74 SIGHT EVAL
343-GENERAL-60 NAVAL UNDERSEA R&D TEST CENTER, SAN DIEGO PART TWO
343-GENERAL-61 ACTIVE TV FILM FOR PM 15
343-GENERAL-62 AN E-2A HAWKEYE MISSION
343-GENERAL-63 Multi-Frequency Hi Range Resolution Radar: Swimmer Detection [4/10/68]
343-GENERAL-64 Walleye  [March 11, 1967]
343-GENERAL-65 Seadart Hydrodynamics Demonstration Report [March 1956]
343-GENERAL-66 XV-3 Summary Report
428-AER-13-57 Bullpup Technical Film Report
428-MN-8215 OPERATION AESOP/(SPARROW ONE) (MN-8215/A-6159), 1955
428-MN-9179 ANNUAL GUIDED MISSLE PROGRESS REPORT (N-2002)
428-MN-9161C GUIDED MISSILES OF THE ARMED FORCES

 

Sound Recordings:

Local Identifier           Title

127-IIFa-5 TAPE # 159 22 FEB 69 SWEENEY (HAVANA IN ENG)
127-IIFa-6 TAPE -SWEENEY 5 DEC 69
127-IIFa-7 TAPE -SWEENEY 5 DEC 69
127-IIFa-8 TAPE -SWEENEY 9 DEC 69
127-IIFa-9 TAPE # 194 – SWEENEY, J.M. PFC USMC HANOI 29 DEC 69
127-IIFa-10 TAPE # 195 – SWEENEY, J.M. PFC USMC LIBERATION RADIO 22, 28, 30 DEC 69
127-IIFa-11 TAPE # 195 – SWEENEY, J.M. PFC USMC LIBERATION RADIO 22, 28, 30 DEC 69
127-IIFa-12 TAPE # 196 – SWEENEY, J.M. PFC USMC LIBERATION RADIO 22 DEC 69 1430
127-IIFa-13 TAPE # 196 – SWEENEY, J.M. PFC USMC LIBERATION RADIO 22 DEC 69 1430
127-IIFa-14 TAPE SWEENEY, 26 MAR 1969
127-IIFa-15 TAPE SWEENEY, 26 MAR 1969
127-IIFa-16 TAPE SWEENEY/BROWN XMAS 1969 MSG.
127-IIFa-17 TAPE SWEENEY USMC MOSCOW 2200 GMT 17 JAN 70
127-IIFa-18 TAPE SWEENEY # 233 USMC MOSCOW 2200 GMT 17 JAN 70
127-IIFa-19 TAPE SWEENEY MOSCOW 2200 GMT 17 JAN 70
127-IIFa-20 TAPE # 234 SWEENEY, PFC JON M. USMC HANOI 2300 GMT 19 JAN 70
127-IIFa-21 TAPE # 235 SWEENEY, PFC JON M. USMC MOSCOW P&P 1030 GMT 21 JAN 70
127-IIFa-22 TAPE # SWEENEY, PFC JON M. USMC MOSCOW 1030 GMT 21 JAN 70
127-IIFa-23 TAPE SWEENEY, JON M. USMC MOSCOW 1030 GMT 21 JAN 70
127-IIFa-24 TAPE # 305 SWEENEY, JON M. PFC, USMC HANOI 1300 GMT 30 APR 70
127-IIFa-25 TAPE # 314 SWEENEY, JON M. PFC, USMC HANOI 2300 GMT 14 MAY 70 (MALE VOICE W/AMERICAN ACCENT)
127-IIFa-26 TAPE # 323 SWEENEY H – 6 JUL 70
127-IIFa-27 TAPE # 323 SWEENEY H – 6 JUL 70
127-IIFa-28 TAPE # 323 SWEENEY H – 6 JUL 70
127-IIFa-29 TAPE SWEENEY, 8 JUL 70, HAVANA RADIO LTR PFC SWEENEY, 8 JUL 70 (READING)
127-IIFa-30 TAPE # 335 SWEENEY 11 JUL 70
127-IIFa-31 TAPE # 335 SWEENEY 11 JUL 70
127-IIFa-32 TAPE # 335 SWEENEY 11 JUL 70
127-IIFa-33 TAPE # 665, SWEENEY 13 JUL 70 (ADDRESS TO VIETNAMESE PEOPLE BEFORE HIS DEPARTURE FOR SWEDEN)
127-IIFa-34 TAPE SWEENEY, 13 JUL 70
127-IIFa-35 TAPE SWEENEY, 13 JUL 70
127-IIFa-36 TAPE SWEENEY, 13 JUL 70
127-IIFa-37 TAPE # 1 SWEENEY, HANOI 1300 GMT 17 JUL 70
127-IIFa-38 TAPE # 2 SWEENEY, HANOI
127-IIFa-39 TAPE # 3 SWEENEY, INTERVIEW # 3, HANOI 17 JUL 70
127-IIFa-40 TAPE # 4 SWEENEY, INTERVIEW # 3 (CONT’D and # 4, 17 JUL 70)
127-IIFa-41 TAPE # 339 SWEENEY, HANOI, 17 JUL 70
127-IIFa-42 TAPE # 339 SWEENEY, HANOI, 17 JUL 70
127-IIFa-43 TAPE # 339 SWEENEY, HANOI, 17 JUL 70
127-IIFa-44 TAPE # 339 SWEENEY, HANOI, 17 JUL 70
127-IIFa-45 TAPE # 6 SWEENEY, INT # 6 HANOI, 17 JUL 70
127-IIFa-46 TAPE # 7 SWEENEY, INT # 7 HANOI, 17 JUL 70
127-IIFa-47 TAPE # 8 SWEENEY, INT # 8  & PART OF INT # 9, HANOI, 17 JUL 70
127-IIFa-48 TAPE # 9 SWEENEY, CONTINUATION OF INTERVIEW # 9 TO END OF TAPE, HANOI, 17 JUL 70
127-IIFa-49 TAPE # 10 SWEENEY, BEGINNING OF INTERVIEW # 10 TO END OF TAPE, HANOI, 17 JUL 70
127-IIFa-50 TAPE # 11 SWEENEY, BEGINNING OF INTERVIEW # 6 TO END OF TAPE HANOI, 17 JUL 70
127-IIFa-51 TAPE # 352 SWEENEY, STATEMENT, 1 SEP 70

 

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.



This week, we’re featuring a speech President Harry S. Truman made June 28, 1947, at the closing of the annual conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Truman called for the government to protect not just civil liberties, but civil rights. The “recent events” Truman references in the speech included horrific acts of violence against African-American veterans. In December, the President’s Committee on Civil Rights presented their report outlining the current state of civil rights and the role the federal government should take to achieve greater equality. In January of 1948, President Truman issued executive orders to end segregation in the federal work force and the military.

From the release sheet:

TRUMAN ASKS EQUALITY. Washington: Pres. Truman, speaking at the Lincoln Memorial before the vast throng of Americans, demands that we fight harder to provide equality for all our citizens.  He calls for end of racial barriers.

Truman1

Truman’s speech marked the first time that the President of the United States addressed the NAACP.

You may view the complete newsreel, which also includes stories of political unrest in France, senior citizens descending on Washington to support the Townsend Plan, and a plan for universal military training here.

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.



Films from the National Archives can be found all over the world. Clips from our collection end up in documentaries, television shows, museums, classrooms, and living rooms. But sometimes, they end up in places you would not expect.  When dealing with archival film, you never know what you’re going to get…

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Forrest Gump, I have scoured NARA’s holdings to find a few examples of archival footage that made its way into the movie. The actual historical significance of each clip is paired with its “Gumpized” version.

 

1.      George Wallace Speaks at the University of Alabama

On June 11, 1963 George Wallace blocked the doors of the University of Alabama to protest the school’s first African American students. In his “School House Door” speech, Wallace argued that the federal government had no authority to intervene in statewide education. President Kennedy eventually federalized the Alabama National Guard  and Wallace acquiesced. The event did, however, bolster Wallace’s popularity. This clip comes from Universal Newsreels, one of the most widely used collections in the Motion Picture department.

In Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks is inserted next to Wallace’s podium. Forrest curiously watches as the chaotic day unfolds. Forrest then rushes to the aid to one of the new students, Vivian Malone, when she drops her book.  Forrest picks up the book, smiles for the camera, and goes to class like any other day.

Forrest-Wallace

 

2.       Medal of Honor Recipient

In the original footage, President Johnson awards five men with the Congressional Medal of Honor.  The third man to receive the award, Sgt. Sammy Lee Davis, is replaced by Forrest in the film. In reality, Sgt. Davis received his award on November 19, 1968. A year earlier, Davis saved the lives of three fellow soldiers amidst heavy fire from Viet Cong forces. He now goes by “the real Forrest Gump.” The clip below comes from the Army Library Copy Collection, 1964 – 1980 (Local ID: 111-LC-56387).

Forrest Gump loosely reflects Davis’ story. Forrest receives his Medal of Honor after saving his fellow soldiers in Vietnam. Upon receiving the award, LBJ asks Forrest where he was shot. Forrest then pulls down his pants to show the president his “buttocks.”

Forrest-LBJ

 

3.      Ping Pong Diplomacy with Richard Nixon

The original archival footage features a young man named Pelton Stewart. Stewart met Nixon in 1971 to be recognized as the Boys Club of America, “Boy of the Year.” The archival footage seen here comes from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California. It is part of the Naval Photographic Center Film collection.

In the movie, Forrest is recognized as the U.S. Ping Pong team’s “Player of the Year”. After receiving the award, the president recommends that Forrest stay at the Watergate hotel. Unfortunately for Forrest, people in the office building across the street are looking for “a fuse box or somethin’” and their flashlights keep him awake. He suggests that maintenance man check it out.

Forrest-Nixon

 

4.       Birth of a Nation

When Birth of a Nation debuted in 1915, most films were about 10-15 minutes in length and cost $200-300 to produce. Birth of a Nation was a staggering 3 hours long and cost over $100,000 to film. Although the film was a prolific piece of cinema, the deeply racist plot line led to the revitalization of the Ku Klux Klan. A copy of D.W. Griffith’s classic film is preserved at the National Archives.

Forrest-Birth of a Nation

Forrest Gump is named after Confederate Army general, Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest claims that the general started a club called the Ku Klux Klan and rode around wearing his bedsheets. In the image above, Tom Hanks is seen donning Klan regalia. As Hanks rides off to join other Klan members, he is superimposed onto footage from Birth of a Nation.  

___________________________________

Special thanks to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum for providing footage for this blog.

All still images were taken from:  Forrest Gump (1994), Paramount Pictures.



This week, we return to the 1964 World’s Fair, where a special exhibit for children touted the wonders of atomic energy. Among other activities, the children learned how to use mechanical hands to safely handle uranium, searched for ore on a light-up map, and rode a stationary bike to discover that it would take thirty years of pedaling to equal the energy in one pound of uranium.

From the release sheet:

CHILDREN CORNER, WORLD’S FAIR CATERS TO THE SMALL FRY It can be estimated that half of the admissions to the New York World’s Fair will be children- so why not an exhibit for them alone, it’s Atomsville, USA, and only children are admitted to operate nuclear displays. The lost children’s bureau is also a busy place as fifty parents a day become mislaid.

atomsville2

Children line up to check out the Atomsville, U.S.A. exhibit at the 1964 World’s Fair.

You may view the complete reel, which also includes a story about Henry Cabot Lodge resigning as ambassador to Vietnam and coverage of the 24 hour auto race in Le Mans, France, here.

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.



This week we celebrate the National Archives’ 80th birthday. For the motion picture lab, this anniversary was an opportunity to look back to the beginnings of the organization, when the Archives was still in its teen years and William T. Cooper, Jr. posed for photographs with the Depue optical reduction film printer. The photos, taken in 1952, have graced the walls of the film lab for several years and have particular interest for us. Believe it or not, we not only still have that printer, we occasionally use it! You can click through the pictures in this post to see our re-creations of the 1952 photographs.

 

Of course, a lot has changed since 1952. These photos were taken in the basement of the National Archives in Washington, D.C., back when no one called it Archives I because there was no Archives II. In 1994, after spending a decade in a warehouse in Alexandria, Virginia referred to simply as “Pickett Street,” the film lab moved to our current location at Archives II in College Park, Maryland. We’re still in the basement, but we get sunlight from the atriums on either side of our lab.

The printer has also undergone some changes over the years. You can see that some of the plates are a different shape, and the volt meter on the front was replaced with a much larger, rectangular meter (in person, it’s a really obvious replacement given that the meter is outlined in black tape).

 

The biggest difference for this Depue printer is in how we use it for preservation. In 1952, the printer was used solely to create 16mm access copies from 35mm originals. The printer works by projecting a smaller image onto the 16mm stock to make new prints, thus reducing the overall image. This also reduces the amount of costly film stock needed and makes copies that would have been much easier to transport for any necessary purpose.

Creating access copies of film is an essential part of any film preservation program. In addition to the simple issue of so many originals being negatives and thus not suitable for a researcher to view, we would never allow originals to be handled in the research room because they are so easily damaged on the equipment that is used to view them. This is especially true as a film ages and inevitably deteriorates, when shrinkage and brittleness make a run on any type of equipment dangerous. Our goal has always been to minimize handling of originals in order to prolong their useful life.

 

By the late 1970s and through the 2000s, the labs created video copies for access in the research room. Today, we digitize films so that they can be seen both in the research rooms and online.

So, if we no longer make 16mm prints for access, how is it that this out-dated film printer still contributes to preservation at the National Archives? It’s mainly because of its slow speed and minimal contact with the film. Unlike continuous contact printers, which have sprocket wheels that pull at every perforation in the film, the Depue optical step printer advances one frame at a time, pulling down the film with a single claw. We occasionally use the Depue to make new copies of films that are so shrunken that we cannot use our usual printers to make preservation copies–not often, but probably a handful of times in the years that I have been here. In those cases, having kept the Depue for all these years meant the difference between being able to preserve and then provide access to a film and being forced to stick it in the freezer to wait for a day when we are able to digitally preserve the film with our gentle film scanner.

If you can’t get enough of machinery talk, here‘s the link to the patent for the lightboard you see in all of the photos.  Oscar B. Depue was granted a patent for his invention in 1923. We still regularly use one of the Depue lightboards for making 35mm black and white preservation copies on a Bell & Howell printer from the 1930s.

All re-creation photos taken by Richard Schneider. From top to bottom, you see lab staff Audrey Amidon, Harry Snodgrass, and Heidi Holmstrom in the re-creation photos. 

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