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The Bootleg Files: Halloween Safety

BOOTLEG FILES 611: “Halloween Safety” (1977 educational film).

LAST SEEN: A copy can be found on several online video sites.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It fell through the cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely as a standalone work.

It’s a little easy to dump on the old-time educational films. These works were shot on shoestring budgets and aimed at school children in a less sophisticated era, so the financial and intellectual poverty of these productions immediately disqualifies them from being taken seriously as cinematic art.

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When the World’s Fair Changed the Movies

Many of the most significant changes in film technology and presentation did not occur in a commercial theater, but in the specialized venues of World’s Fair exhibitions. On this episode, historian Charles Pappas, author of the new book “Flying Cars, Zombie Dogs, and Robot Overlords: How World’s Fairs and Trade Expos Changed the World,” discusses how World’s Fair audiences came to experience a very different approach to film – as well as learning how live TV broadcasting got its foothold in the 1939 New York’s World’s Fair.

The episode can be heard here. Please note: There is a very brief technical glitch in the beginning of the episode. We apologize for that audio oops.

“The Online Movie Show” is produced at the Platinum Wolfe Studios.

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The Bootleg Files: Hello London

BOOTLEG FILES 610: “Hello London” (1958 British feature starring Sonja Henie).

LAST SEEN: A copy can be found on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO:
None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
Never released in the United States.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.

During the late 1930 and early 1940s, the Norwegian ice skating champion Sonja Henie became an unlikely star in Hollywood movies. While she was no rival to Bette Davis or Barbara Stanwyck in terms of acting ability, she had a pert and bouncy personality that appealed to audiences, and her elaborate ice skating numbers helped to inspire the sport’s popularity among Americans. Her films, most notably “Second Fiddle” (1939) and “Sun Valley Serenade” (1941), were usually packed with musical and comedy co-stars that helped distract the audience from the stretches when Henie was not on the ice.

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There is a Place (2017)

Tania Ku’s documentary short focuses on Lior Tsarfaty, an Israeli-born singer/songwriter who offers music therapy sessions for Alzheimer’s patients at San Francisco-area memory care facilities. Arriving with a guitar and a suitcase full of instruments, he quickly brings his audience into a circle of music-minded participants, with exercises ranging from Native American-style tribal drumming to a sing-along of old favorites like “You Are My Sunshine.”

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The Bootleg Files: Angel Puss

BOOTLEG FILES 609: “Angel Puss” (1944 Looney Tunes cartoon directed by Chuck Jones).

LAST SEEN: The cartoon can be found on DailyMotion.com and Vimeo.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It has been removed from all commercial channels.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.

When you think of family-friendly entertainment, it is not likely that you would consider productions full of attempted murder, emotional torture and racial intolerance. Back in 1944, the cartoon “Angel Puss” incorporated those unfortunate elements into its story – and even in that distant era, its excessive unpleasantness created controversy.

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The Bootleg Files: Spree for All

BOOTLEG FILES 608: “Spree for All” (1946 animated short featuring Snuffy Smith).

LAST SEEN: A French black-and-white print can be found on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It was lost for decades due to intentional destruction of all copies.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.

When considering the subject of lost films, most people fixate on productions made during the silent movie era. However, a surprisingly large volume of sound era films is considered lost, including Hollywood films made as late as the 1940s.

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Susannah (2017)

Carlisle Floyd’s 1955 opera has long been a staple of regional opera companies, but it has only rarely been staged by the major urban companies – and, incredibly, this release marks the first time that has ever been presented on DVD. In this new release from the Naxos label, a 2014 version by Florida’s St. Petersburg Opera offers an intelligent interpretation that captures the raw emotional power of Floyd’s imaginative updating of the apocryphal Biblical tale of Susannah and the Elders into an early 20th century Appalachian setting.

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