In an earlier post I introduced you to Bunty Brennan, she was the creator of a collection of 16 mm films and photographs. The Eileen ‘Bunty’ Brennan (nee Noble) collection is a orphaned collection currently being ‘fostered’ at the CBC Media Archives in Vancouver.
What is an orphaned film? According to Howard Besser (Director of the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation masters degree program), an orphaned film is “a film without a parent…. [usually film is] taken care of by people who own the rights, claim ownership or parentage…there are a lot of films where no one takes ownership”. Basically, an orphaned film is abandoned (intentionally or unintentionally) by its owner or creator.
The term can also refer to all types of non-commercial, neglected or little-known films like public domain materials, documentaries, silent-era films, newsreels, home movies, avant-garde works, industrials, independent films, small-gauge films, educational films, outtakes, etc. These films or “ephemeral cinematic artifacts” are most at risk due to the fact that few nonprofit and public institutions/archives have the support (financial and infrastructural) and know-how to care for the films (in a variety of formats). Orphan films generally fall out of the collection mandates or collection policies of most traditional institutions/archives, therefore making them even more at risk to be neglected.
Do you remember the ritual of hauling out the family film projector to watch recently shot home movies – from the latest vacation, family event or special occasion – and then rarely, if ever, watching the films again?
Many people have boxes of old family films squirreled away in their attics or basements that they have saved over the years (or recently inherited) that they’ve never seen for lack of a (working) projector, or the knowledge of how to handle and assess their films. Many of these same people may have decided to have their films transferred to DVD or [horror!] videotape, mistakenly believing that this new copy would last forever and the original films (thought now to be obsolete) could be thrown away. Well, we all know now how far into the future VHS videotape took us.
Historical walking tours are a great way to learn more about local history in a fun, immersive and engaging way – and the lazy, hazy days of summer are the perfect time to partake.
Last Friday, I did exactly that. I joined 7 others for an engaging historical walking tour of the Burrard Dry Dock Shipyard site beside the Lonsdale Quay Market. Led by our tour guides, Shipyard Sal and Sam, we were transported back in time to the 1940s when North Vancouver’s Burrard Dry Dock and Shipyards was hopping with war-time shipbuilding action.
The history and culture of food fascinates me – especially when it is represented visually. This is probably why I started collecting vintage cook books and pamphlets. I am especially drawn to the delightfully illustrated recipe and entertaining pamphlets, or booklets, published by companies for homemakers in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s.
In the 20th century advancements in the way people stored and cooked food at home changed dramatically. Food and appliance manufacturers published recipe pamphlets to encourage homemakers to use their products in their own home kitchens. Through the use of these materials, companies achieved brand name exposure while providing consumers with new and exciting ways to use their products. These beautifully illustrated recipe pamphlets were selling more than just products, they were selling a lifestyle – a lifestyle to which homemakers could aspire.
Reading and using vintage cooking pamphlets is a great way to discover unknown recipes and a variety of foods and dishes that were at one time commonplace – gelatin salads, jelly braid, floating islands, noodle oyster loaf and boiled tongue.
Happy Canada Day! Vancouver’s art deco style Burrard Bridge opened on Canada Day (or Dominion Day, as it was known then) July 1, 1932.
The History of Metropolitan Vancouver has a great history of the Burrard Bridge, you can find here.
Amateur film maker Sid Groberman shot this fantastic film while he was driving over the Burrard Bridge a few years after it was built. What is even more impressive is that he stops mid span and continues filming – a move not recommended today. There is a bonus at the end of the film where he visits Vancouver’s English Bay. All in all, a great way to celebrate Canada Day. Enjoy.