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61.

Prelinger Archives: The Dynamic American City (Part I) (C. 1956) [electronic resource]

This Prelinger Archives film advocates urban redevelopment and renewal, 1950s-style. Beginning with an extended conversation between business and city-planning experts, the film supports strategies which are often criticized today, such as auto-centric planning and construction and the encouragement of suburban sprawl. However, as a socio-historical document, the film is a valuable look at the trends that created much of today's American suburban landscape. Topics include pre-automobile reasons for urban density and narrow-lot residences as well as the creation of suburban office complexes and shopping centers, relatively new ideas in the mid-1950s.
Online
1956
62.

Prelinger Archives: The Dynamic American City (Part II) (C. 1956) [electronic resource]

This Prelinger Archives film advocates urban redevelopment and renewal, 1950s-style. It supports strategies which are often criticized today, such as the leveling of run-down or historic neighborhoods in the name of progress as well as auto-centric city planning and suburban sprawl. However, as a socio-historical document, the film is a valuable look at the trends that created much of today's American landscape. Topics include the introduction of steel and other metals into skyscraper architecture, multi-level and underground parking garages, co-op apartment design, and other innovations of the period.
Online
1956
63.

Prelinger Archives: Mainline U.S.A. (1957) [electronic resource]

This Prelinger Archives film shows the important role of rail transportation in the mid-20th-century American economy. Outlining the development of steam and diesel trains, the film depicts railroad technology in action--hauling passengers, farm products, manufactured goods, and raw materials. Recreational uses are shown, too. Glamorous music accompanies lush footage of natural wonders and glittering cities, among which restless trains move as they crisscross the American continent and help to expand the U.S. economy. Innovations in rail technology are explored at length, portraying trains as "marvels of science" as well as essential vehicles in the search for new and ever-improving ways to develop commerce.
Online
1957
64.

Prelinger Archives: Our Changing Family Life (1957) [electronic resource]

This Prelinger Archives film presents a mid-20th-century look at how patterns of family living changed from the 1880s to the 1950s. Using dramatized sequences, the film contrasts the closely integrated family of the late 19th century with the family of the Eisenhower era. The discussion explores how industrialization, urbanization, and other political and economic factors--including the advent of the automobile, factory employment, and the increased freedom of women--altered the traditional pattern of family life. Rural and urban lifestyles are both examined, as is the decline of inter-generational relationships (grandparents were important on the old family farm but are portrayed as less integral to the "modern" household).
Online
1957
65.

Prelinger Archives: 6 1/2 Magic Hours (1958) [electronic resource]

This Prelinger Archives film depicts the comfort and delight of transatlantic air travel at the beginning of the Jet Age. The story begins with a scale model of the "futuristic" Pan Am terminal at Idlewild Airport (later renamed JFK), designed to allow passengers movement from terminal to jet under covered awnings. Next, Pan Am initiates Flight 1000, a so-called "paper flight"--a hypothetical experiment taking place between New York and London, collecting scientific and logistical data in preparation for the milestone jet voyage. Then the film shows the real thing, offered in an upscale Boeing 707 Clipper with a spacious cabin and luxurious amenities. Finally, viewers see activities to be enjoyed in Europe, made possible with "extra hours to do what you want" thanks to the new swift [...]
Online
1958
66.

Prelinger Archives: American Look (Part I) (1958) [electronic resource]

This Prelinger Archives film celebrates the elegance and diversity of 1950s design, illustrating the work of skilled designers as its presents a wide range of objects. A young woman lounges on the floor while dialing and talking on an Ericofon telephone; two children watch TV in collapsible furniture; a child dives into a streamlined backyard swimming pool; a man shoots movies with an 8mm camera; a hand retrieves mail from a stylized mailbox; a hanging light is turned on; various dishes, platters, and drinking glasses are shown; a woman enjoying her modernized kitchen walks over to the stove; poultry broils on an electric chrome rotisserie; an electric can opener opens a can of Campbell's tomato soup; and a mother tends to her child in a playpen while her husband loads logs into a f [...]
Online
1958
67.

Prelinger Archives: American Look (Part II) (1958) [electronic resource]

This Prelinger Archives film celebrates the splendor and diversity of 1950s design and architecture, illustrating the work of aesthetic visionaries as its presents a wide range of objects, vehicles, and structures. An executive and secretary enjoy furniture designed by Herman Miller; a finger pushes the "record" button on a Wollensak tape recorder; a Soundscriber and other dictation machines are shown, along with a Thermo-Fax photocopier and an IBM Executive electric typewriter; a heavy duty truck moves on massive balloon wheels; a lawn sprinkler operates while a homeowner rides on a tractor lawn mower; a woman and boy sit in a clear-hulled rowboat while a man in a diving mask waves from underneath; golfers enjoy stylish clubs and drive a cart; a house with glass walls and other str [...]
Online
1958
68.

Prelinger Archives: American Look (Part III) (1958) [electronic resource]

This Prelinger Archives film celebrates the beauty and diversity of 1950s design, illustrating the work of skilled designers or design teams as its presents a wide range of objects and automotive styles. A detailed visit to the General Motors Technical Design Center in Warren, Michigan, reveals the fascinating activities of GM car design as it takes shape in drawings, paintings, clay sculpture, fiberglass molds, and metal. Other futuristic subjects, including appliances and utensils from the "Kitchen of Tomorrow" as well as selected houses and cars, adorn the screen. Wrap-up narration declares that "wherever we go...we can all depend on the stylist to beautify everything we need. From the eye appeal and swift effectiveness of the smallest utensils...to the serene grandeur of our gli [...]
Online
1958
69.

Prelinger Archives: Various Television Commercials (C. 1964) [electronic resource]

This Prelinger Archives film is a revealing compilation of 1950s and 1960s TV commercials. It includes the following: an ad featuring several "Marlboro men" (cowboys) enjoying cigarettes "where the flavor is," in Marlboro Country; an invitation to "Send your sinuses to Arizona" for Dristan with remarkably well-executed mechanical effects; a public service announcement for the Television Code with voice-over by Dick Cavett; an ad showing how Coca-Cola helps a TWA flight attendant stay alert; two Colt 45 beer ads starring a suave, stoic businessman waiting for his Colt 45 Malt Liquor to arrive at his table in chaotic surroundings; a Volkswagen Beetle ad celebrating the diligence of VW's quality inspectors; a live-action Alka Seltzer ad about peoples' varying waist sizes and an animated [...]
Online
1964
70.

Prelinger Archives: American Thrift (Part I) (1962) [electronic resource]

This Prelinger Archives film casts itself as "a tribute to the American housewife" and sings the praises of "the woman American," telling us that her primary function in life is "the romance and adventure of choosing." In the consumerist world depicted here, those who produce goods have a responsibility to "bid for [the housewife's] fancy" and "charm her with choice offerings calculated to please." Twenty-first century viewers will easily come to the conclusion that this film isn't about saving, it's about spending--but it's also clearly about the beautiful Corvairs, BelAirs, and Impalas that gave 1960s homemakers quick access to shopping malls and supermarkets.
Online
1962
71.

Prelinger Archives: American Thrift (Part II) (1962) [electronic resource]

This Prelinger Archives film casts itself as "a tribute to the American housewife" and sings the praises of "the woman American," telling us that her primary function in life is "the romance and adventure of choosing." In the consumerist world depicted here, those who produce goods have a responsibility to "bid for [the housewife's] fancy" and "charm her with choice offerings calculated to please." Twenty-first century viewers will easily come to the conclusion that this film isn't about saving, it's about spending--but it's also clearly about the beautiful Corvairs, BelAirs, and Impalas that gave 1960s homemakers quick access to shopping malls and supermarkets.
Online
1962
72.

Prelinger Archives: Poverty in Rural America (Part I) (1965) [electronic resource]

This Prelinger Archives film visits poor areas of the United States, particularly hard-hit agricultural areas, and discusses social and economic programs encompassed by the "War on Poverty." Viewers encounter struggling farmers who share their perspectives on how and why poverty is so common among their communities, what they can and can't do about it, and what their hopes for the future are. The film also includes commentary from community activists and economic development experts, with a brief case study of a cooperative sorghum mill that provides supplemental income. The plight of hungry school children is explored through moving images and discussions of the importance of school meal programs.
Online
1965
73.

Prelinger Archives: Poverty in Rural America (Part II) (1965) [electronic resource]

This Prelinger Archives film visits poor areas of the United States, particularly hard-hit agricultural areas, and discusses social and economic programs encompassed by the "War on Poverty." This second part continues to focus on information about school and daycare programs helping to give poor children greater advancement. Viewers visit a school program helping teenagers who are working on a third- or fourth-grade level and a parent who has more-or-less given up on helping her oldest son stay in school. Also featured: a textile mill start-up introduced into a poor community in an effort to create much-needed jobs and stimulate the local economy, and the dire lack of proper housing and utilities affecting many areas of the country.
Online
1965
74.

Prelinger Archives: In Our Hands Part 2. What We Have [electronic resource]

Strengths of the American free enterprise system and how it meets the needs of its citizens.
Online
1950
75.

Prelinger Archives In Our Hands Part4 How to Keep What We Have [electronic resource]: In Our Hands, Part 4-How to Keep What We Have

How a limited government and private control over labor, resources and tools can stave off a Communist takeover of the U.S.
Online
1950
76.

Prelinger Archives: According to Plan-the Story of Modern Sidewalls for the Homes of America [electronic resource]

The beauty and functionality of asbestos sidewalls. With a visit to Levittown, NY and an interview with Norman Denny, vice president of materials for Levitt & Sons, builders. An excellent film on 1950s standardized house-building processes during the growth of postwar suburbia.
Online
1952
77.

Prelinger Archives: 1955 Chevrolet Screen Ads [electronic resource]

Ten short theatrical "screen ads" promoting the 1955 Chevrolet models.
Online
1955
78.

Prelinger Archives: A Day of Living [electronic resource]

Sponsored by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (and a promo for life insurance), this film is a celebration of daily life in the United States.
Online
1960
79.

Prelinger Archives: Achievement USA [electronic resource]

General Motors celebrates production of 50 millionth automobile with a parade through Flint, Michigan in 1954.
Online
1955
80.

Prelinger Archives: Adelante Cubanos (Part 1) [electronic resource]

Exhorts the Cuban people to support industrialization on the island and the production of consumer goods.
Online
1959