Virtual Moving History XX – Analog Animals
** Introduction by Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa (author of upcoming book The Celluloid Specimen: Moving Image Research into Animal Life) **
Back before you could brighten your day by tuning in to a 24/7 cam of adorable puppies and kittens, people all over the world created their own cute animal films and videos. (More on the history of the cat video here.) This week’s Virtual Moving History will provide a cuteness overload with historical videotape documentation of pets and wildlife in the Pacific Northwest, as well as art inspired by animals.
The House That Cats Built (1938)
This black and white home movie shot at the Matsushitas’ house in Seattle is a testament to the fact that “cat videos” are nothing new! Curl up with your own feline friend and enjoy this cute montage!
About the filmmaker:
Iwao Matsushita was born January 10, 1892 in Japan. On January 22, 1919 he married Hanaye Tamura, a fellow Japanese citizen born March 9, 1898. In September 1919, Hanaye and Iwao emigrated to Seattle, Washington to further Matsushita’s academic studies. Eventually, Matsushita did pursue some of his academic aspirations, but prior to doing so he worked as a cook, a hotel manager and then in various positions for Mitsui and Company, a major Tokyo-based trading firm. Matsushita’s work for Mitsui and Company paid very well, and during his time of employment at Mitsui, the Matsushitas lived a comfortable middle class lifestyle. Matsushita was a member of the Seattle Camera Club.
Unimak and Bogoslof (1930s)
Special Guest Archive: Oregon State University
Original format: 16mm
Created by William L. and Irene Finley of Nature Magazine. The film depicts the Finleys and their family on a camping adventure with local critters on a remote Alaskan island! From the William L. Finley Papers.
Music: “Supermoon,” by Ikebe Shakedown. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.
Flying with Queenie (1960s film, 2000s narration)
Special Guest Archive: Oregon State University
Original format: 16mm film with DVD narration added
Alaskan pilot and jack-of-all-trades, “Trapper John” Baker (1933–2018), prepares his 1958 Piper Super Cub airplane to fly in cold weather in Southcentral Alaska. He briefly mentions Queenie-the-dog’s story of having survived a 500 to 800-foot fall from another Super Cub piloted by Cliff Hudson of Talkeetna. This clip from AAF-16367 includes aerial scenes of the Alaska landscape, moose, and a remote airplane landing strip. From the John Baker collection held by the Alaska Film Archives, a unit of the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archives in the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Zoo Parade (1955)
An episode of Zoo Parade showcasing animals from the Pacific Northwest and the Woodland Park Zoo. Zoo Parade was an American television program broadcast on NBC from 1950 to 1957 that featured animals from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.
The program’s host was Marlin Perkins, the Zoo’s director. Perkins went on to host the program Wild Kingdom. Jim Wehmeyer has described the show: “A precursor of sorts to the regularly featured animal segments on The Tonight Show and other late-night talk shows, Zoo Parade was a location-bound production (filmed in the reptile house basement) during which Perkins would present and describe the life and peculiarities of Lincoln Park Zoo animals.”
Marcel LaFollette has written, “Production approaches that are now standard practice on NOVA and the Discovery Channel derive, in fact, from experimentation by television pioneers like Lynn Poole and Don Herbert and such programs as Adventure, Zoo Parade, Science in Action, and the Bell Telephone System’s science specials. These early efforts were also influenced by television’s love of the dramatic, refined during its first decade and continuing to shape news and public affairs programming, as well as fiction and fantasy, today.”
The show won a Peabody Award in 1951, and was nominated for Emmy Awards four times.
Salmon Homecoming (1995)
Seattle Municipal Archives
TV segment about celebration of salmon returning to the Seattle area. Includes footage of local elected officials and community members including Vi Hilbert, Bill Frank, Jr., Mike Lowry and others. There is also footage of a Pow-wow at the event near the Seattle Aquarium.
Carnival of Animals (October 18, 1986)
Seattle Mime Theatre
Footage of the Seattle Mime Theatre performance “The Carnival of the Animals,” at the Lee Theatre at Forest Ridge School in Bellevue, Washington. The program includes short, amusing characterizations of various animals using special movements, masks and costumes. The performance includes an adaptation of the fairy tale, The Story of Troung-Chi. Choreographed and performed by Seattle Mime Theatre Bellevue, Washington. Performers include Richard Davidson, Bruce Wylie, Mik Kulman, and Elizabeth Roth.
Still Life with Animals (2003)
An animated short by Karl Krogstad presenting a montage of stills, featuring animalistic cork sculptures.
Interview with Hazel Wolf (1990)
An interview with Hazel Wolf on KCTS Channel 9. Hazel Wolf (March 10, 1898 – January 19, 2000) was an activist and environmentalist who lived in the Seattle area for most of her life. She played a prominent role in environmental efforts on local, national and international levels. Wolf not only co-founded of the Seattle Audubon Society, she worked as their secretary for 37 years. She organized 21 of the 26 Audubon chapters in the Pacific Northwest region.
About [Virtual] Moving History
Sundays, 4:30–5:30pm PDT
MIPoPS is a nonprofit whose mission is to assist archives, libraries, and other organizations with the conversion of analog video recordings to digital formats according to archival best practices.
In order to adhere to social distancing best practices, MIPoPS is proud to partner with the Northwest Film Forum to bring you a weekly series of archival videotape documenting a diverse history in Seattle. Featuring a variety of material and topics, this series will curate a set of clips each Sunday to provide comic relief, historically relevant medical and public health documentation, performance recordings, and much more.
MIPoPS hopes this series will educate and entertain viewers during this time of uncertainty and isolation.