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Hearst Metrotone News 100th Anniversary

Hearst Metrotone News
December 6, 2014 - 7:30 pm
Blaine Bartell, Senior Newsreel Preservationist, and Jeffrey Bickel, Newsreel Preservationist.

With this special Archive Treasures screening we celebrate and reflect on the centennial anniversary of the first theatrically released newsreel, which was produced as part of the media empire overseen by William Randolph Hearst.  From 1914 to 1967 Hearst produced newsreels, often times in partnership with other companies, and under a number of different names, the most famous being Hearst Metrotone News, later renamed News of the Day in 1936.  These short films brought American moviegoers twice weekly images of the events and people that shaped the 20th century, from war fronts to marble championships, international summits to Hollywood premieres.  In turn, Hearst newsreels helped shape the world they were documenting, not always without controversy.  Since 1981, the Archive has been home to the Hearst Metrotone News collection, one of the largest such collections in the world containing over 27 million feet of distributed newsreels, unreleased stories and outtakes.  Preserving and protecting this significant cultural and historical legacy for researchers, filmmakers and audiences is at the heart of the Archive’s mission.

Among the films to be shown are the oldest surviving Hearst produced newsreel story: coverage of a German saboteur bombing a bridge between the U.S. and Canada in 1915. A 1937 newsreel containing the famous scene of a lone baby crying in the bombed out ruins of the Shanghai train station (filmed by Hai Sheng “Newsreel” Wong) will also be shown, arguably the single most influential newsreel in history. Coverage of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, Marian Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial, the Hindenburg disaster, the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, the atomic bomb, U.S. presidential inaugurations and the Civil Rights Movement will also be shown.

Live musical accompaniment for the silent portion of the program provided by Cliff Retallick.