An “outtake” for a reason

Universal Newsreel outtake footage of a Harry S Truman re-election campaign speech at Charleston, West Virginia from October 1, 1948

Today’s feature is especially topical while those of us in the United States are in the heat of the Campaign 2020. This film, an outtake, is part of the Universal Newsreel film collection, which was donated in its entirety to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in 1977. The deed-of-gift included Universal’s copyrights to this unique (and voluminous!) collection.

This film illustrates perfectly why some outtake content remains just that: outtakes. The image bounces slowly, probably due to a poor transfer, a camera malfunction, or film misthread. The speech itself is classic Truman populism, an excellent illustration of how he came from behind to win re-election in 1948. In normal times, a film copy would likely be available in the research room, but thanks to the COVID19 pandemic, those research rooms have been closed for six months. In the meanwhile, this copy represents this particular newsreel assignment.

This content is not described or identified in the National Archives On-line Catalog. It was not identifiable to anyone not able to physically access a card catalog in the National Archives Research Room in College Park, MD. “Searching” is not researching; don’t depend on a Google search conducted by an intern or production assistant to find you the exact images and sounds you need to add impact and polish to your production. Hire a professional archival media researcher!

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