June 29, 2011

Lost and Found films return: Can you help place the footage?

News and Information

Its a hot, sunny day in 1948 and a mustachioed man in a tan double-breasted suit is seeing the campus sights. He stops at a signpost — should he head off to the “city center,” the University, the stadium, or to Sandpoint?

Welcome to our first Lost and Found Film of the summer, Campus Color, circa 1940-1948.

Film archivist Hannah Palin.

Mary Levin

Film archivist Hannah Palin.

Hannah Palin, film archives specialist with UW Libraries Special Collections, has hundreds of reels of film from the late 1940s through the 1970s that shes looking to identify for archiving purposes. Some are from research projects, others from campus events, commercial films or original productions.

“We have run into an awful lot of material that would be called ‘orphan film, meaning films that are outside the commercial mainstream, have been neglected or that lack documentation,” Palin said.

UW Today presented films from Palins archives in 2009 and 2010 and readers spoke up in the comments field, guessing at what was going on in each bit of footage. In a follow-up article, Palin pronounced the series a success and thanked readers for their help.

Now, Palin is back with another set of unidentified films from the Special Collections vaults, and were pleased to show them at UW Today. Only this time, the films may not all be UW-related.

Can you help Palin figure out whats going on in these forgotten campus clips?

Now back to the film: After the signpost, the man shakes hands warmly with a uniformed policeman and gets elaborate directions from his car. Apparently now at his destination, he eyes a tall smokestack. This gives way to cherry-blossom-laden footage of Thomson Hall.

Soon, two uniformed men (more likely doormen than cops, given the piping on their shoulders) are seen perusing a copy of the gentlemans magazine Esquire. This gives way to unshaven campus types who look like theyve grown beards for a special occasion. And then were done.

Your ongoing mission is to help Palin figure out why this footage was shot and what its all about.

And while youre at it, look past the people at the backgrounds as well — at the lush UW campus areas that predated the buildings we now have. In what way will the campus change in another 60 years?

And check back at UW Today for more Lost and Found Films this summer.

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