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December 2004, Week 2


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Jennifer Bean <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 10 Dec 2004 18:22:01 -0800
text/plain (50 lines)
Yes indeed, its a true story, although the location is not Alaska, but
Canada--and the extreme northern latitude of the story's setting is crucial,
since the artic temperature of the area allowed the films to be "naturally"
preserved.  To be more specific, the films were found in 1979 in Dawson
City, Canada, when a backhoe "hit gold," as the headlines at the time
announced.   All told there were 510 reels, almost all American imports, the
majority of which (once thawed and cleaned) were transferred to safety stock
viewing prints.  Often referred to as the "Dawson City Collection," these
titles (including, for instance, a number of Pearl White serial episodes)
are now held at the LOC in D.C. and at the National Archives in Ottawa,
Canada.  None of the prints survived in pristine condition, but all are
legible and aesthetically/historically "rich" in the best sense of that


Jennifer M. Bean
Assistant Professor
Cinema Studies Program
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-4338

On 12/9/04 2:35 PM, "Scott Hutchins" <[log in to unmask]>

> I keep hearing about a stash of films from the teens that were preserved in a
> swimming pool in Alaska, since the studios considered the expense of return
> from Alaska too much to bother with for outdated films.  Is this true, or is
> this a film conoisseur's urban legend, like the uncut version of _Greed_
> existing in a dump somewhere?
> Scott
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