Filming the Screen
Chad and Jeremy on the Patty Duke Show , Ellen Galt Collection – Chicago Film Archives
Before DVRs, before VHS, before Betamax, the only way that most people could re-live and re-watch the television programs they were watching was to point their 8mm or super 8 cameras at the screen. While television professionals had been creating kinescopes for years by doing the same thing, it was an exact science for do-it-yourself home movie makers, resulting in distorted and strobing images. There was also a homemade art to compressing a television program or news event to fit into the few minutes of a home movie reel.
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Looking at Television
It’s understandable that home movie makers would want to documents some of the most important television news stories of the time. This home movie by the Camp Family of Dallas shows scenes of the city following the assassination of President Kennedy. In addition to shots of Dealey Plaza and the Texas School Book Depository Building, there are also brief scenes [at 1:40] of the family’s television set showing Lee Harvey Oswald’s mug shot on the news.
The Cecil Camp Family Collection, no. 1 – Dealey Plaza and JFK Assassination News Coverage (1963) – Texas Archive of the Moving Image
This home movie maker filmed extensive highlights of the Apollo 11 trip to the moon, from takeoff to the walk on the moon. One sequence shows that he also had audio equipment recording the sounds of the broadcast, as well. Following the television scenes the filmmaker also shot live footage of the returning astronauts with Air Force One on a tarmac during their post-flight goodwill tour.
HOME MOVIE: 97173: APOLLO 11 – Prelinger Archives
In addition to home movies of a train trip from St. Louis to Chicago to see the Beatles, the Ellen Galt Collection from the Chicago Film Archive includes several reels that two teenage girls shot off of the screen when their favorite pop musicians appeared on television shows. The films managed to encapsulate a girl pop fan’s perspective of the British Invasion of 1964-1965, showing bands like Herman’s Hermits, Gerry & the Pacemakers and Freddy & the Dreamers on shows such as Shindig, American Bandstand, and the Patty Duke Show. This reel includes the Dave Clark 5, Chad & Jeremy, and John Lennon, as he was interviewed by Merv Griffin at the Cannes Film Festival in 1965.
Dave Clark 5 – Chad & Jeremy – John Lennon – Chicago Film Archives