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Ken Kesey, 1976

5 Feb

“I’d rather be a skinny dog with no fleas than be a fat dog scratching all the time.”

Ken Kesey spins a metaphor about the importance of keeping it local. The footage was shot in 1976 at his farm in Pleasant Hill, Oregon, on KEZI-TV, the local ABC affiliate in Eugene, Oregon. The University of Oregon Libraries holds Kesey’s manuscript collection, but a wealth of Kesey film can be found in the local TV news collection, as well.

MLK Memorial News Clips (1968)

19 Jan

Archival TV news collections can give a glimpse into past events as well as how those events were covered. When Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in April 1968, the ABC affiliate in Eugene, Oregon, sent a cameraman to document the memorial activities sponsored by the Black Student Union at the University of Oregon. Over 5,000 people attended the service at McArthur Court. BSU leaders gave speeches along with UO President Arthur S. Flemming (only Flemming’s speech made it on film), and student Charles Warfield led the group in singing “We Shall Overcome.” The clips also include a televised speech by Governor Tom McCall and footage of a march through downtown Eugene.

All clips are from the Chambers Communications Corp. collection (Coll 427) in Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries.

Family Counseling (1960) revisited

24 May

This film is now online, thanks to another request from a person in Chicago [watch it here]. From the early years of public television, “Family Counseling” features a live counseling session with Rudolf Dreikurs, M.D., and a set of parents and their three children, all in front of a studio audience in Corvallis, Oregon. Dreikurs followed the methods of Alfred Adler, which in this case focuses on changing children’s behavior without reward or punishment.

Nepal Royalty Visit University of Oregon, 1960

20 May

I’ve discovered another hidden pocket of film in the library’s basement, and in the process of documenting it I found another piece of film to add to the Nepal trove. It is a short newsfilm, likely produced by KGW TV in Portland, of the Nepal king and queen’s visit to Oregon in 1960 [watch it here].

Mahendra of Nepal and his wife Lady Ratna Rajya Lakshmi Devi came to Oregon in part to recognize the American Nepal Education Foundation’s work to establish an education system in Nepal in the 1950s.

The transfer is low-res and greenish, unfortunately, but such is the state of our film chain.


TV News Gift, Part I

15 May

The local ABC affiliate has offered us their archive of 50 years of TV news (1961-2011) from Eugene, Oregon. A team of folks recently went out to the production company’s sound stage to do a field appraisal of the materials to get a better sense of what we’ll be dealing with. The beauty of the gift is the scope and comprehensiveness, and that fact that they are giving over the rights to the library. Even if there are gaps in the 50 years, it is still a great deal of content from a mid-size TV market covering some pretty interesting times.


A lovely relic, unfortunately not part of the gift.

In a nutshell: 355 boxes of mostly U-matic videotape, much 16mm film wound on cores, fat binders of dot matrix printouts of broadcast and segment contents.

Some cool people like video, but I kind of hate it. Too many formats, too fragile, the way it hides itself on seemingly blank tape inside a box–where is the mystique? But hopefully this project will improve my relationship to video, if only because the content is so compelling.

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Family Counseling (1960)

7 Jun
Director  Brooks Leffler
Producer  Corvallis, OR : KOAC-TV
Contributors Filmed as part of a summer workshop at the School of Education, Oregon State University.Coordinator- Maurice Bullard.
Length  59 min
B&W/Color  Black & White
UO Library Catalog description: Rudolf Dreikurs conducts a family counseling session in front of a television audience. A couple with some previous counseling continues work on how to deal with one of their children
Call # Md12
Genre  Television
Rare  YES
Online  Yes
Copyright status  Public Domain
Physical condition Fair
Oregon-related  YES


The film starts abruptly without a title sequence, I’m not sure if it was cut off or simply that the reel we own is the raw material from the filming.  The first reel also had one very noticeable splice at the very beginning that, during initial assessment, I figured would be problematic.  It ended up running through the projector quite smoothly with no problems.

Also during the intial condition assessment (before screening through the projector) the beginning of the second reel was also found to be physically damaged.  There were gold spots all over the images during the first minute or two of the reel.  When screened they also were apparent on the film.

Other than these minor problems, the film is in pretty fair condition for a reel from 1960.  The image is clear and the sound as well.  The emulsion scratches ended up not affecting the screening quality too badly either.

Rudolf Dreikurs, the man conducting the counseling session, was an American psychiatrist and educator that worked within the realm of family and child rearing.

I found information on a Brooks Leffler, director, that invented aerial kite photography.  He is said to have worked in public television before leaving the industry in 1982.  He is the appropriate age and could very well be the same Brooks Leffler that directed this film.

Sixteen in Webster Groves (1966)

16 Mar
Producer  Arthur Barron, Carousel Films
Contributors  Charles Kuralt
Length  47 Minutes
B&W/Color  B&W
UO Library Catalog description:
In addition to presenting the opinions, attitudes and goals of teenagers in an affluent suburban community, the results of which shocked the nation, this CBS News survey relates the source of these values.
Call #  Film Md21
Genre  Documentary
Rare  Yes
Online  Yes,
Copyright status  Protected
Physical condition  Fair (faded, some acid)
Oregon-related  No


“16 In Webster Groves was a 1966 award-winning documentary one-hour TV special produced by CBS News focusing on the experiences of adolescents growing up and living in Webster Groves, Missouri, United States.

Produced by Arthur Barron and narrated by Charles Kuralt, the program was inspired by a survey conducted by the University of Chicago. It showed the middle-American, middle-class town to be a superficially friendly, prosperous, progressive, religious, charitable, arts-and-education oriented bedroom community whose adolescent culture, with the complicity (and, by inference, example and encouragement) of the adult population, was in fact clique-ridden, status-oriented, hypercompetitive, hypocritical, prejudiced, and materialistic. In stark contrast to the popular view in the mid-1960s that young people were rebelling against the values of their parents, the program depicted the Webster Groves teenagers as unimaginative and conformist. One sixteen year old girl, for example, declares that her dream is to live in a house down the street from the one she lives in now. That interview, and others with a cross section of sixteen-year-olds in the community, including minorities and exchange students, and consensual filming of their normal activities, both in school and at recreation, provided the content of the program.”

Above text and online streaming available at:

Interview regarding Arthur Barron and the circumstances surrounding this documentary:

We have a black and white print.

She’s Nobody’s Baby (1981)

16 Mar
Director Ana Carrigan
Producer Ms. Magazine, Ana Carrigan
Contributors Narrators: Alan Alda & Marlo Thomas, editor: Mili Bonsignori
Length 56 minutes
B&W/Color Color
UO Library Catalog description: Uses archival film clips and still photographs to document the changing image of the American woman from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Discusses key historical events which altered the role of women in American society, and shows important feminist leaders of the century
Call # Film Mc309
Genre Television
Rare No
Online No
Copyright status Protected
Physical condition Good
Oregon-related No


This HBO television special won a Peabody Award in 1981, it was interestingly HBO’s first Peabody winner. It was created in partnership with Ms. Magazine, a feminist publication, that at the time was under the direction of Suzanne Braun. Braun helped produce the film and also edited the book that was written on the film. She’s Nobody’s Baby uses a lot of old archival footage and photographs that are very interesting to see.
The director, Ana Carrigan, went on to become a journalist and cinematographer, focusing on human right’s issues in Latin America.

Amos ‘n’ Andy TV Show Pilot (1951)

12 Mar
Director  Charles Barton
Producer  CBS Productions
Contributors  Created by Freeman F. Gosden and Charles J. Correll
Length  25 minutes
B&W/Color  Black and White
UO Library Catalog description:   The first Amos and Andy television show
Call # Film Md62
Genre  Television
Rare  Yes
Online  Yes
Copyright status  Copyrighted
Physical condition  Fair
Oregon-related  No


Our catalog description and title for this film is right and wrong.  Yes, it is Amos ‘n’ Andy.  Our catalog’s adjoining title, “Check and Double Check” refers to the duo’s catch phrase.  It is also the title of the Amos ‘n’ Andy feature film, Check and Double Check (1930) in which creators of the TV show and original voice actors of the radio show, Freeman F. Gosden and Charles J. Correll, played their title roles in blackface.  This feature film was produced by RKO before their famed King Kong.  Our catalog was wrong in detailing the credits to contributors to the feature film, Check and Double Check, instead of those from the television show.  Gosden and Correl are listed as playing Amos and Andy (the television show hired African American actors to play the roles and despite its racist portrayal of black Americans, was the first prime time show with an all African American cast).  Duke Ellington and the Cotton Club Orchestra are listed as being the musical performance as they were in the feature film, but did not appear on the television program.

Our catalog’s description details the film as being the first Amos ‘n’ Andy television show.  The episode we own is titled “The Rare Coin” and is the pilot episode of the series which ran from 1951 to 1953.  In this episode, the Kingfish (Tim Moore) discovers that Andy (Spencer Williams) possesses a nickel worth $250, and tricks him into giving it to him. In his excitement he uses it to call a coin dealer. He then tricks Andy into helping him pry open the coin box, but they are caught by a policeman and taken to court. Luckily, Amos (Alvin Childress) recovers the coin and explains the situation to the judge, who lets them off with a warning. The Kingfish still insists on profit sharing, but Andy manages to trick him.

Interestingly, our copy of this film cannot be found on WorldCat while the same episode on film can be found in its data base at Emerson University.

Bulimia (1982)

8 Mar
Director None Listed
Producer Hugh Downs, Danny Schecter
Contributors ABC Wide World of News
Length 12 minutes
B&W/Color Color
UO Library Catalog description: Host Hugh Downs examines the danger of the binge-eating disorder, bulimia, and its effects on victims through interviews with experts; recovered bulimics, including actress Jane Fonda; and parents of bulimics. Shows scenes of group therapy for eating problems.
Call # Mc333
Genre Educational Films, Short Films United States
Rare No
Online No
Copyright status Copyright 1982
Physical condition Very Poor
Oregon-related No

Notes: Bulimia is a short documentary style film presented by ABC warning against the risks and dangers of bulimia. It originally aired in 1983 as part of an episode of 20/20. The program was intended for Junior High School through college students, but also served as a supplemental piece for parents in order to identify warning signs of the disorder. It features various interviews with experts, recovered bulimics, parents of bulimics, and most notably the actress Jane Fonda, who revealed her condition for the first time ever on air for the program.

The film was hosted by Hugh Downs, a prominent American broadcaster, television host, news anchor, TV producer, author, game show host and music composer. Downs was very active in public service and politics, bringing attention to many serious issues through PSA’s on television and radio. He was also known for his pronounced libertarian views. Downs was particularly involved in raising awareness about eating disorders. Bulimia was not the only film that downs was a part of that addressed the disorder. In 1996 another film, Eating Disorders: The Hunger Within was aired on 20/20 as a collaboration with Barbara Walters.

Unfortunately the condition of the film reel is extremely poor. Upon evaluating it I found that it is so warped that it can barely be run from reel to reel and some of the perforated edges are so damaged that I cannot imagine it being able to run through a projector properly. Another thing I should add is that it has a very blue/green tint, suggesting again that it was shot on Ektachrome X film. The production date of the Bulimia in 1982 would correspond with the dates that this type of film was being used (1963-1984).

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