THE WORLD OF YESTERDAY SEEN THROUGH NEWSREELS
- Newsreels were the first moving imagages news format. They were shown in France from 1908 and soon in many other countries as an accompanying programme in cinemas. Despite competition from the television after the Second World War, newsreels survived in many countries until the 1970s and 1980s.
- HistoricalMedia is looking back on important, interesting, and exciting events reported by newsreels all over the world. Brief explanations present them in their historical context.
- The linked reports come from online collections of public archives, media companies and commercial vendors.
Marian Anderson’s legendary easter concert at the Lincoln Memorial
Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939. 75’000 visitors come to Marian Anderson’s recital at the Lincoln Memorial. The memorable event makes the contralto a symbol of the demand for equal rights for all US citizens.
- Marian Anderson’s Easter Sunday Lincoln Memorial Concert
- April 9, 1939
- UCLA Film & Television Archive
- Copyright UCLA
Never before has there been an event of this size at this location. Millions of people are following the event on the radio. Marian Anderson begins her recital with “My Country, ‘This of Thee”. Through her interpretation, the patriotic hymn becomes unequivocally an appeal that freedom and the constitution have to apply to all Americans, regardless of skin color.
Marian Andersen (1897-1993) grows up in humble circumstances in Philadelphia. Her talent as a singer already shows as a girl in the church choir. After first successes, she continues her musical education in Europe. In the thirties, she performs in many of Europe’s renowned concert halls where she thrills the audience. Back in the USA, she becomes also here a star. Her broad repertoire includes aria and leader recitals as well as spirituals. A highlight of her career is in 1955 her appearance at the Metropolitan Opera. In the 1950s, she becomes an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. © ff December 2018
Tragic Alpine disaster – “white death” claims immense toll of death
In the winter of 1950/51, the worst avalanche disasters of the 20th century cause immense suffering and destruction in many villages in the Alps. More than 270 people are killed by masses of snow and debris that are hitting villages and traffic routes.
- Swiss Newsreel:
- Die Lawinennot. Nr. 463, 27.01.1951
- Lawinen im Tessin! Nr. 466, 16.02.1951
- Copyright: Cinémathèque Suisse/Swiss National Library
- Platform: MEMOBASE
In Switzerland, disasters caused by the forces of nature occur in two waves. Between the 19th and 21st of January, in the cantons of Grisons, Valais, Uri and Glarus, innumerable avalanches crash down on from the mountains. Swiss Newsreel covers the event in a special edition (Video 1). The devastating effects are worst in the village of Vals in the canton of Grisons. On the night of January 20, just before 10 pm, avalanches hit several houses. 19 people, including 8 children, die in the debris and snow. In Andermatt, canton of Uri, 13 people get killed.
On February 11th and 12th, 1951, Switzerland again suffers disastrous avalanches, this time in the southern canton of Ticino. In some valleys, over 4 meters of fresh snow have fallen within 10 days (Video 2). Avalanches bury the Gotthard Railway over long distances. Once again, the “the winter of avalanches” takes a heavy toll: 16 people are recovered dead, including 10 in the village of Airolo alone, where an avalanche destroys an entire quarter.
The avalanche disaster in the Alps gets worldwide attention in the media. The legendary US magazine Life publishes 8 pages on the event (p. 19-25). © ff December 2018