From 1929 to 1967, Universal City Studios produced newsreels twice a week to be shown at movie theatres before the feature film. Each newsreel was a collection of six or seven short segments, usually just a minute or two in length, covering news, sports, the arts, fashion and more. The whole Universal Newsreel collection was given to the National Archive and placed in the public domain in 1976, and the National Archives is working with CreateSpace, an Amazon subsidiary, to digitize these and other public domain movies and make them available on DVD.
But around 600 of these newsreel clips are available now on the Internet Archive. Some of these have also made their way to YouTube, but the Internet Archive site has better cataloging, higher quality and more file formats. There’s some really amazing stuff here, especially from the Depression and World War II era.
This whole collection could be really interesting for students and others studying the history of the twentieth century, and since it’s all in the public domain, you can do whatever you want with them.
Universal Newsreels — This is the collection page on the Internet Archive website
- Satchmo Swings in Congo — Louis Armstrong arrives in the Congo on his historic Africa tour, October, 1960.
- FDR Urges National Unity — “”Hyde Park, NY: President Roosevelt, in a vigorous speech on the eve of elections, warns the nation that in these troubled times, democracy must be a positive force in order to maintain liberty against military aggression abroad.”
- Wakefield, Mass. — “Support Our Men in Vietnam” rally organized by a high school student draws a crowd of 25,000