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Prelinger Archives: On Guard! the Story of SAGE (C. 1956) [electronic resource]

Prelinger Archives
Video; Computer Resource; Online Video; Online
This Prelinger Archives film introduces SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment), a computerized early warning system designed to guard against enemy aircraft. State-of-the-art in 1956, the system was composed of room-sized computers and giant "Displayscopes." The film represents an effort to describe the system without alienating a technologically unsophisticated public. "You are listening to the heartbeat of the SAGE computer," says the narrator. "Every instrument in this room is constantly monitoring, testing, pulse-taking, controlling." With images of children playing and a little girl sleeping, the film asks, "What better reason for an electronic defense?" and tells us that "the future of America is secure." Glimpses of huge mainframes maintained by well-tailored men and women are a far cry from the casual sensibility we associate with Microsoft and Silicon Valley.
Release Date
Run Time
12 min.
  • Encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on August 21, 2010.
  • Films on Demand is distributed by Films Media Group for Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware.
Variant Title
On Guard! The Story of SAGE (c. 1956)
On Guard! The Story of SAGE (c. 1956) (12:00)
Produced by the IBM Corporation, Military Products Division.
New York, N.Y. : Films Media Group, [2010], c1956.
Publisher no.
41787 Films Media Group
Access Restriction
Access requires authentication through Films on Demand.
1 streaming video file (12 min.) : sd., col.
Mode of access: Internet.
System requirements: FOD playback platform.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic
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