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Luther Cressman’s Fieldwork Footage (c1938)

9 Dec

Luther S. Cressman (1897-1994) was an anthropology professor at the University of Oregon whose discoveries in eastern Oregon changed many of the long-held beliefs about human civilization in North America. He is best known for his discovery of the 10,000-year-old sagebrush bark sandals at Fort Rock in 1938, aka “the world’s oldest surviving shoes.” We recently digitized the films of his excavations in Fort Rock Cave and Paisley Cave in 1938-39. You can see him uncover a pair of children’s sandals at 04:52.

“The New Willamette” (1974)

28 Jul

“Here in Oregon we listen to water all the time.”

umbrella

Homer Groening (1919-1996) was an ad man, cartoonist, and industrial filmmaker in Portland, Oregon (also father to Matt, creator of The Simpsons). The Army Corps of Engineers sponsored Groening’s 1974 film The New Willamette, which looks at environmental clean-up efforts on the mighty Willamette River.

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Oregon Governor Tom McCall (1967-1975)

The film features environmentalist Governor Tom McCall, who led multiple efforts to protect Oregon beaches, waterways, and forests. He famously encouraged people to visit Oregon, “but for heaven’s sake, don’t come here to live.”

The film won the Golden Eagle Award for outstanding non-theatrical films in the United States in 1975, and the U.S. Information Agency entered it in several international film festivals.

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Fisherman Jim Conway

Thanks to an inquiry from a retired Lane County teacher who used to show the film to her students, I was able to track down what is likely the sole surviving print, which resides in the Indiana University Libraries Film Archive. The staff graciously digitized it and put it online.

Skip Elsheimer of A/V Geeks has compiled a Homer Groening filmography.

The Exploding Whale on Film

1 Nov

In 1970 a 45-foot sperm whale washed ashore on the Oregon coast. It became pretty stinky as it started to decompose, so the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), which had jurisdiction over the beaches at that time, decided on a foolproof way to remove the whale: by blowing it up. Fifty pounds of dynamite later, rancid whale chunks were scattered over more than a quarter mile around the blast site, along with some smashed cars and bruised bystanders.

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The ODOT engineer who masterminded this plan died this week, so the story was in the news again. TV news stations recorded the event, but I prefer the film shot by a local man who was a young, independent filmmaker at the time, and who grew up in the Oregon landscape. He was very attuned to the growing urgency of environmental problems, and he explored these issues in a number of films, including Natural Timber Country and Tamanawis Illahee: Rituals and Acts in a Landscape.

Tamanawis Illahee (1983)

9 Jun
Director  Ron Finne
Producer  Ron Finne
Contributors Consultant in history, Edwin Bingham; Consultant in literature, Glen A. LoveCast: Robert Barton

Includes readings by William Stafford, Don Berry and others

Includes George Venn’s poem, “Directions for Visitors” among many others

Length 60 min
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description:  N/A
Call # Mc299
Genre  Documentary
Rare  YES
Online  NO
Copyright status  Public Domain
Physical condition  Good
Oregon-related  YES

Notes:

A film of the Pacific Northwest, the native people, poetry, history and the forces of change.  This was an homage to the Indian heritage of the Pacific Northwest and a study in the contrast of how native people used the land, as opposed to European settlers who gradually took it over.

It is experimental in style, combining time-lapse photography, archive footage, classic photographs by documentarist Edward Curtis, museum artifacts and other image sources. The poetry read throughout the film explores the ways in which literature might encourage a sacred appreciation of landscape.

This film was made possible in part by a grant from the Oregon Committee for the Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Ron Finne is an Oregon native and independent filmmaker.  In our archives at the University of Oregon we also own his films, The Whale and Natural Timber Country.

Undermining the Great Depression: backyard gold in Jacksonville, Oregon (1980)

7 Jun
Director Jim Likowski [i.e. James B. Likowski] and Bonnie Thompson
Producer Rainlight Films (Milwaukie, OR)
Contributors Music by David J. Duncan
Length 25 min
B&W/Color Color
UO Library Catalog description: Five Jacksonville, Or., “oldtimers” offer an oral history of their small town’s unique life-style during the Depression, when jobless townspeople mined for gold in their backyards and beneath houses and streets
Call # Mc313
Genre  Documentary
Rare  YES
Online  NO
Copyright status  Copyrighted
Physical condition  Good
Oregon-related  YES

Notes:

While researching Rainlight Films I found that they produced a film for Forest Grove Community Hospital called Shared Labor about childbirth which was also made in 1980.  There is another film on WorldCat listed as being made by Rainlight Films, Sophie’s Search For a Cure, but it was made in 2007 and in Coloma, CA which lead me to think that it is a different production company under the same name.  I ended up cross-searching the creator’s, Jim Likowski, name and the production company.  I found a company profile on a professional networking website and found that it is the same Jim Likowski from this film.  So we can assume Rainlight Films moved to California at some point during the past two decades. Rainlight Films now offers services such as Sheet Film Development, Online Film Development, Feature Film Development, Cheap Film Development and B&W Film Development.

Nepal: Experiment in Education (1962)

31 May
Director  Hugh Bernard Wood
Producer  American Nepal Education Foundation
Contributors
Length  40 min
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description:  N/A
Call # Mc59
Genre  Documentary
Rare YES
Online YES
Copyright status  Public Domain
Physical condition  Fair
Oregon-related  YES

Notes:

The American Nepal Education Foundation was charted by the State of Oregon in 1955. In cooperation with the University of Oregon, the United State Operation Mission contracted to provide professional training over a period of six years for about fifty Nepalese scholars.

Hugh Bernard Wood (1909-1995) was a Professor Emeritus of the College of Education at the University of Oregon and founded the American Nepal Education Foundation.  He spent six years as the chief of the Education Division of U.S. Operations Mission in Nepal, and helped form its national education system from 1953-1959.

This film is extremely rare and valuable as it displays Nepal’s educational system at its very beginning.  The Nepalese government was searching in vain for it until, through a chance encounter, our lovely Elizabeth Peterson here at the UO libraries reached them, painstakingly got the film digitized, and sent it over.  Now we also have a copy of the film on our library’s website here.

Natural Timber Country (1972)

20 Mar
Director  Ron Finne
Producer  Teknifilm
Contributors
Length  53 minutes
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description:  Tells the story of the logging industry in Oregon, with emphasis on older logging techniques.
Call #  FILM MD24
Genre  Documentary
Rare  No
Online  No
Copyright status  Public Domain
Physical condition  Fair
Oregon-related  Yes

Notes:

Natural Timber Country was filmed by Oregon native Ron Finne and is the story of old-time logging in the forests of the Northwest. The film was originally available only by mail order from the director’s home in Springfield.

The film lacks a traditional narrator, instead giving us interviews with loggers taped in the field or their homes. To help us visualize the words of the loggers, Finne edits them together with shots of the Northwestern wilderness, both in Oregon and Washington. Also featured is old footage and photographs of loggers stump-rigging trees, skidding felled logs down greased tracks, and one of the first mechanical improvements in the logging business, a steam powered engine for moving larger timber. Also recalled are stunts and jokes of the loggers, such as standing at the very tip top of a limbed and topped tree, or jumping from one log to another as they rolled down a hill.

Above all, the message of the Natural Timber Country is an environmental one. As one man says at the outset of the film. “Timber all around you, you just never figure you’d use it up.”

We have multiple films in the University of Oregon archives made by Ron Finne, a Eugene/Springfield, OR local.  We own films of his including The Whale (1971) and Tamanawis Illahee Rituals and Acts in a Landscape (1983)

Growing Up Japanese (1975)

20 Mar
Director  Michael Berger
Producer  Gordon Newsfilms Inc., The U.S. – Japan Trade Council
Contributors  Released by Modern Talking Picture Service, Inc.
Length  25 minutes
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description:  Helps promote an understanding of the Japanese people and way of life by examining Japanese ways of learning to get along together
Call #  FILM MC228
Genre  Documentary
Rare  Yes
Online  No
Copyright status  Public Domain
Physical condition  Fair
Oregon-related  No

Notes:

Growing Up Japanese was released by the U.S. – Japan Trade Council (now known as the U.S. – Japan Business Council) to promote good relations between Japan and the United States.

The film is prefaced with this announcement, as required by the Counterespionage Section of the National Security Division of the U.S. Government:

“This material is prepared, edited, issued, or circulated by Charles Von Lowenfeldt, inc., San Francisco, which is registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) as an  agent of the Japanese government through the U.S.-Japan Trade Council, which is also registered under the FARA. The Japanese Government provides almost all funding for the council. Dissemination reports on this film are filed with the Department of Justice. This statement is made in compliance with the FARA.”

This sort of statement was common, at the time, for films produced by foreign governments but released in the United States. However, it’s requirement by the National Security Division and its mention of dissemination reports provide a sour and suspicious note at the beginning of an otherwise pleasant documentary.

An American woman narrates the film with an even voice as we see many facets of the young Japanese students life in Japan. We watch them study, play baseball, and perform morning aerobic exercises (a daily ritual which carries through to adult life in the workplace).  Students engage in a balloon popping relay and other activities, not unlike spirit-weeks of students in the United States. Later, students take difficult tests and decide which advanced schools to enter based on their grades. Schools are very competitive in Japan, and some students develop phobias and aversions to the rigorous testing regimen.

The film emphasizes a particular focus on the sense of community shared by the Japanese. Although very different countries, the viewer is encouraged to draw positive parallels between Japan and the United States.

The Springtime of Autumn (1971)

16 Mar
Director Bruce Bittle and Bud Lawrence
Producer Oregon Center for Gerontology
Contributors Oregon State Program on Aging, Administration on Aging (Washington, D.C.)
Length  20 minutes
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description: Follows volunteers from the Foster Grandparents Program as they work with and teach developmentally disabled children from Fairview Hospital and Training Center in Salem, OR
Call # FILM MB221
Genre  Documentary
Rare  Yes
Online  No
Copyright status Protected
Physical condition  Fair
Oregon-related  yes

Notes:

This film documents the Foster Grandparents Program set up by the Oregon Center for Gerontology. The program is designed to couple senior citizens with mentally challenged youth in a one-on-one setting. This serves not only as a learning aid for the children, but also as therapy for the older generation.

In a review published in The Gerontologist magazine, University of Oregon’s own Professors Carl Carmichael and Larry Wittnebert had this to say about the film:

“Seeing a ‘Grandmother’ teach a retarded child how to thread a wire through a spool or a ‘Grandfather’ prepare a physically handicapped child for swimming therapy causes the viewer to transcend the specific material at hand, and consider such things as the appropriateness of some of the normal characteristics of aging in dealing with the special problems of these children. The film subtly but clearly leads the viewer to consider how the elderly are especially well equipped to fill some of the gaps in our present medical assistance systems with a little extra patience, compassion, child-rearing experience, and time.”

Soft guitar music accompanies the film, provided by musician Dick Cooley.

The film was primarily shot at Fairview Hospital in Salem, and includes scenes from a visit to the Portland Zoological Gardens.

Meditation Crystallized (1973)

16 Mar
Director  Elda Hartley
Producer  Elda Hartley
Contributors  Hartley Productions
Length  13 minutes
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description:  Explores the connection between Tibetan meditation and art, as told by Lama Govinda.
Call # FILM MB206
Genre  Documentary
Rare  Yes
Online  No
Copyright status Unknown
Physical condition  Fair
Oregon-related  No

Notes:

This film is an attempt to connect the mesmerizing art of Tibetan monks and the underlying meditative philosophy, as explained by Lama Anagarika Govinda (1898-1985). Govinda was an artist, author, and one of the western world’s foremost expositors on the traditions and expressions of Tibetan Buddhism. As Lama Govinda puts it, this art is the result of centuries of meditation crystallized.

The film is constructed primarily of candid interviews with Govinda in the Tibetan Nyingmapa Meditation Center in Berkeley, CA., and also detail shots of lavish Tibetan art pieces from the Hammond Museum, North Salem, NY.

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