Today we celebrate National Popcorn Day with NBC 5/KXAS footage celebrating a beloved Dallas popcorn seller. Marvin (Pete) Colgrove volunteered selling popcorn at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, from 1984 through his last year of life in 1994. The money earned from the sales went to the Volunteer’s Auxiliary which purchased equipment for the hospital and provided activities for the children.
Archival footage from the NBC 5/KXAS Television News Archive was recently featured prominently in several television productions. These uses of archival news footage highlight the diverse and creative uses for footage, as well as the significance of preserving historical footage for future use. In November 2017, Sundance TV aired a two-part documentary series on the 1959 Clutter family murders that inspired Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Although the murders took place in Kansas, 1950’s archival footage from the north Texas NBC affiliate was used generically to illustrate various events in the film.“Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders” was part of an entire weekend of true crime programming on the Sundance channel.
True crime programming continues to be a steady source of licensing activity in NBC 5/KXAS Television News Archive. In last half of 2017 footage from the archive was used in support of True Conviction and 1980’s: The Deadliest Decade (both airing on the Investigation Discovery channel).
Footage form the archive was also featured on Vice News, a documentary news program airing weekly on HBO. News programming schedules are often on tight deadlines, which can make the use of archival footage difficult. In the case of the Vice News request we had only a 24 hour turn around time to deliver the master files to producers in New York. A turn around time like that is usually impossible for us as it takes significant time to locate the physical media, digitize it and produce digital files for producers. In this instance the footage requested (coverage of the 1980 church shooting in Daingerfield, Texas) was already digitized and accessible through the digital library.
We are also continuing work on several other major documentary projects which will be completed in 2018.
Today we share a two part news story that provides a snapshot of how Dallas perceived the threat of AIDS in November 1985. The logbook title given to this story is “AIDS/Lifestyle,” which references the belief that the gay community, one of the first populations hit by the AIDS epidemic, caused the disease with their “alternate lifestyle.” In the 1980s and 1990s, those afflicted with HIV and AIDS experienced extreme ostracization, due to fear that they could easily spread the disease through casual contact. Reporter Bob Siegel’s story attempts to dispel these fears by putting a human face on the AIDS epidemic. As a doctor interviewed for the piece states, “The question is whether we choose to compound the epidemic of illness with an epidemic of fear and of ignorance and repression.”
Our current exhibit, Threads of Remembrance, further explores Dallas’s response to the AIDS crisis. It can be viewed Monday – Saturday (excepting Thanksgiving weekend) from 9 AM – 5 PM through December 15, 2017. Or you can browse our online exhibit.
You’ll notice a few visual flaws in the footage presented here. These flaws result from the recording medium, 3/4 tape, also called “U-matic” tape, which is prone to significant degradation. Luckily we were able to save this important story before a total loss.
Producers for the ESPN “30 for 30” series contacted UNT Special Collections this year for help in locating footage of the 1988 Dallas Carter Cowboys football team. Archivists working with the collection provided extensive archival footage which was eventually incorporated into the film, “What Carter Lost,” which aired on ESPN on August 24. The story of the 1988 Carter Cowboy’s is both fascinating and tragic– and perfect example of the way sports can be a reflection of social and cultural values. Much of the footage which was digitized in preparation for use in the documentary is now available online in its original format. Footage for this production was primarily from the years 1988-1989, and was still on the original Beta SP cassettes. Footage research in this time period relies on the use of video log books. The log books preserve a record of every segment that aired each day during multiple daily news broadcasts. Although the log books are digitized, they can be difficult to use and navigate, as this example shows. Stories are often only identified with one or two word “slug lines” which in this example was “Carter Parents.”
The “Year in Review” compilation is a tradition of many news organizations, created as a way to look back on the top stories of the previous year. The earliest “Year in Review” in the WBAP/KXAS archives was compiled from 16mm footage recorded throughout the year 1952.
The “Year in Review” compilations present some challenges to archivists working with this collection. One challenge is description— the majority of early film footage is silent, and we have not been able to locate scripts associated with most “Year in Review” reels. Many of the segments in the reel are then difficult if not impossible to identify. Another challenge is how to best present this content online for researchers. While most news segments are less than three minutes long, the “Year in Review” reel can be well over 10 minutes in length, making it more difficult to locate relevant footage.
We will continue to experiment with different ways to describe and present this content online, and welcome your feedback and questions.
It’s France’s la Fête nationale (“national holiday,” otherwise known as “Bastille Day” to English speakers) and in celebration of our nation’s longtime ally, we’re sharing two scripts that document when Dallas and the eastern-central French city of Dijon became sister cities in October 1957. Notice the news anchor’s pronunciation notes handwritten in pencil on the script. We haven’t yet digitized this footage but we will update this entry once we have! If you’d like to support the on-going digitization of the NBC 5/KXAS news archive, please consider donating.
The visiting French dignitary mentioned in the script, Félix Kir, was mayor of Dijon from 1945 to his death in 1968. Kir was a parish priest who became involved with the French Resistance during World War II. He was arrested and sentenced to death by the Gestapo for helping 5,000 prisoners of war escape the Langvic camp but was eventually released because of his position. After the war and his election to mayor, Kir became an advocate of the “twinning” movement wherein geographically distant cities formed a social bond in order to promote peace and encourage trade. A local Burgundy drink traditionally known as blanc-cassis was renamed in honor of Kir, who was fond of serving it to visitors. A glass of kir consists of white burgundy wine (traditionally aligoté) mixed with crème de cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur.
Dallas is also “twinned” with five other cities: Brno (Czech Republic), Monterrey (Mexico), Riga (Latvia), Saratov (Russia), and Taipei (Taiwan).
On October 13, 1957, KXAS was on hand to witness the many French celebrities arriving in Dallas to attend Neiman-Marcus’s lavish “French Fortnight” and the twinning ceremony:
Today, as Senate Republicans unveil the latest draft of their proposed health care legislation, we are taking a look back at stories about health care. Two news stories reported by Doug Adams in 1979 echo many of the nation’s current debates and concerns over access to health care.
A news story from April 23, 1979 describes efforts by community members to set up additional health care centers in poverty stricken areas of east and south Dallas, to ameliorate the “poor health statistics” in the area. In the story, a resident describes overcrowding at Parkland Memorial, the nearest hospital. Those advocating for better health care in Dallas appear to be associated with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
In this news story from February 5, 1979, Joseph A. Califano, Jr., the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Jimmy Carter, spoke to the Dallas County Democratic Forum about the need to curb inefficient hospital spending. The legislation Califano mentions in the story is H.R.2626, part of the Carter administration’s larger war on inflation. The bill failed in the House on November 15, 1979, with the Senate Finance Committee approving a revision of solely Medicare and Medicaid payments. White House Press Secretary Jody Powell described the House action as “victory for the highly financed special interest [hospital] lobby and a defeat for the common good.”
We hope you are having a wonderful Independence Day!
Today we go back to July 4, 1983, when reporter Cindy Kuykendall shared a story on the 10 PM news that featured interviews with locals about their opinions on politicians that prove today’s political tensions are nothing new. The Cotton Bowl festivities and a rocking outdoor concert are also shown.
On April 7, 1985 children at an Easter egg hunt at the Mandalay Hotel in Irving, Texas were surprised to see the Easter bunny arriving by helicopter! The bunny caught a ride with the KXAS-TV crew on “Chopper 5” to surprise the many children in attendance. This short segment, featuring reporter Janet Wallheim, aired during the 5 pm news.
On this day in 1917 the United States Congress approved a declaration of war against Germany, thereby officially entering World War I. There are no longer any living veterans of WWI, however, in 1957 reporters with WBAP attended a VFW convention in Dallas where they met L.J. Smith, a 66 year old WWI veteran who was displaying a rather unique souvenir from WWI — a doughnut.
During WWI doughnuts and coffee were distributed along the front lines to soldiers by the Salvation Army, giving rise to the nickname “doughboy” for American soldiers overseas. During one of these coffee breaks Mr. Smith decided to save one of the doughnuts, and miraculously it survived for over 38 years! In this brief film clip he displays the doughnut-artifact under a glass dome.