A Short Drive

These films were taken, fully or in part, within a couple hundred miles of Palm Springs, California. The captions in [brackets], whenever possible, include labels from the original item in “quotation marks.” We add estimated dates and other details. For best viewing experience, choose the 720p setting or higher setting on the player.

#51. [“California (Calico) Ghost Town, Lake”, 1950s.] 8mm. Color. Description forthcoming.
#164. [“Southern Calif. and Mexico,” ca. 1950s.] 8mm. Color. Description forthcoming.
#116. [“Farmers’ Market, Universal Studios, Part I”, ca.1974.] Super 8mm. Color. Description forthcoming.
#87. [“Memorial Day,” — San Diego to Tijuana, ca.1960s.] 8mm. Color. Description forthcoming.
#139. [“Laguna Vacation, Disneyland, 1960.”] 8mm. Color. Description forthcoming.
#108. [Deaf Vacationers on Catalina, etc., 1949-1950.] 8mm. Color. Description forthcoming.
#81. [“Kodachrome Color, California,” — Santa’s Village, ca.1960s.] 8mm. Color. Includes great footage of Santa’s Village near Lake Arrowhead.
#80. [“Big Bear Lake,” ca.1940s-50s.] 8mm. B/W. Description forthcoming.
#261. [“Vacation in California, Colorado, and Family, July 1952.”] 8mm. Color. Includes some footage of Joshua Trees and at the end small girls in cute Halloween costumes. More description forthcoming.
#238. [“Mt. Laguna, CA. San Juan Capistrano,” 1960s.] Super 8mm. Color. Description forthcoming.
#233. [“Owl, Picnic, Tahoe 1946 — Death Valley.”] 8mm. Color. Older children and teenagers with great 1940s outfits playing baseball, views of Lake Tahoe, group posing on Fanny Bridge in Tahoe City, scenes around Furnace Creek Inn (now The Inn at Death Valley), including the mule-drawn wagon train used in 1885 to haul borax from Death Valley to the Mojave desert, and folks relaxing around its huge swimming pool, plus POV shots from a wooden speed boat.
#222. [“KLAC Ranch Party,” Sunday, October 29, 1978.] 8mm. Color. Silent (sadly.) Country music radio station KLAC hosted its first annual (and seemingly only) “KLAC Ranch Party” at Montie Montana’s Rodeo Ranch in Agua Dulce, California, on October 29, 1978. Footage includes Montie and Elly Montana and others trick riding and doing rope tricks, probably Rex Allen on stage and other musical acts performing, followed by a performer in traditional mariachi attire and a KLAC personality. Possibly Roy Rogers signing autographs, and the crowd and surroundings. Here’s a full page ad in the Los Angeles Times from that day. We could use some assistance identifying performers!
#207. [Concert — “US Festival”?) + picnic, 1982 or ’83.] 8mm. Color. Silent. Picnicking at probably Lake Perris and possibly a performance at the ’82 or ’83 US Festival in San Bernardino. Help us figure out who the performer is at the US Festival, or what concert this might be.
#283. [Santa Anita Park grounds with crowd, spectators in seats, a bit of the race Seabiscuit (#4) famously won, March 2, 1940.] 8mm. Color. Footage of the crowds and a bit of the race!
#286. [Driving past Joshua trees, Newport Harbor and/or Laguna?, Double Exposure of Catalina Island sites over ruins and desert sites (Arizona?), 1960s.] 8mm. Color. Description forthcoming.
#307. A Mask for Me, A Mask for You (Gabriela Samper, Ray Witlin United States, 1967). Adventures in Art Series title. Mubi‘s synopsis: “A lonely little black boy in Watts finds his way to the Watts Towers Arts Center (South Los Angeles) and finds companionship and satisfaction in creating masks and other craft projects. This ethnographic documentary describes the thoughts of this boy who likes to hide behind the security of paper masks.”
#309. [(August 5) 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.] Super 8mm. Color. Panning shot of the stadium and spectators from the stands. Track and field events including Jeanette Bolden winning Heat 1 of women’s 100 meter race and Carl Lewis winning men’s 100 meter semifinal race 2.
#310. [(Latino/Latinx?) Family at Disneyland, ca. 1970s.] Super 8mm. Color. Little boy punching wooden cigar shop “Indian,” POV of Native American village from river boat, and the same little boy trying to get Goofy’s attention. We have another film from this same family (#328) over on the “Our Region” page.
#314. [Living Room Dance Party, Griffith Park in Fog, 1970s.] Super 8mm. Color. Delightful film of two men dancing in the living room, an Black pair at a street market or event (in a neighborhood of color?), plus a glimpse of we think Griffith Park Observatory surrounded by fog. Reel indicates the film was shot in a house in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.
#330. [Disneyland Main Street and Character Parade, ca. 1970s.] Super 8mm. Color. Great footage of Disneyland’s Main Street, flower vendors, and close-up view of a parade with all the then Disney characters walking past, POV shots from aboard a boat, mariachis, and two women and toddler in a back yard. Possibly this is the same family as #310 above.
#275. [“Mexico, April 1963.”] Amazing footage of a trip throughout Mexico from Mexico City to the countryside, including many basilicas, a gondola parade, donkeys drinking beer, etc.
#272. [“Lancaster, CA, Parade and Family, 1956.”] 8mm. Color. Title card says “Our family grows…”, followed by three girls of different ages playing, then posing next to a camper trailer, then another title card, “We Try Our New Wagon…”, followed by a 1956 station wagon and road trip to Sequoia National Park, and then a long sequence of footage of a Shriners Parade in Lancaster, CA, held during the 1956 Fall Ceremonial.
#173. [(196?) Rose Bowl Parade, Family Pose, and Thousand Pines Baptist Camp and Conference Center, ca. 1960s.] The Rose Bowl Parade from the stands (year unclear still, 1960s), the filmmaker’s family pose, and they go to Thousand Pines Baptist Camp and Conference Center to document the buildings, a man giving a sermon from an outdoor pulpit, the dispersed congregation.
#174. [“Monterey Club, Oil Fields, CA”, ca. 1950s.] Description forthcoming.
#177. [“So. Cal., 1957 ”and Tijuana.] Coronado Island and crossing border into Tijuana, street vendors, etc.]. 8mm. Color. Description forthcoming.
#184. [(Tijuana? and So. Cal.) Desert and Mission San Juan Capistrano, 1940s.] 8mm. Color. Description forthcoming.
#227. [“Coronado Island and on Ferry, San Diego, Calif. 1961.”] 8mm. Color. Pan of boats, shore from above, POV shot from inside car on ferry of San Diego and warships, then driving through desert landscape (possibly Anza-Borrego and/or into Mojave?)
#228. [“1955 Catalina.”] 8mm. Color. View from boat of Catalina, passing speedboats, the bird sanctuary on the island, the S. S. Catalina, a seaplane, bird sanctuary, folks on the beach, a marina full of boats, the Casino.
#230. [“Talmadge Tour of Southwest, Reel #1, July 1966.”] 8mm. Color. A great travelogue of the Talmadges (a middle-aged couple) through St. Louis (incl. the Dred Scott Memorial and the Gateway Arch), Albuquerque, a Native American pueblo and locals posing, the Petrified Forest, a Castle Film about the Grand Canyon spliced in, Hoover Dam, and finally great footage of Disneyland.
#237. [“Balboa Park,” — 1950s.] 8mm. Color. San Diego. Shots of long-board surfing, kids and others fishing and horsing around on a pier, older well-dressed ladies checking out mid-century travel trailers, POV from car on the Pacific Coast Highway through approximately Encinitas or Carlsbad, grade-schoolers square dancing in the yard, Balboa Park where groups of folks parade in national costumes from around the world, a special focus on the Japanese group.
#241. [“(Grauman’s) Chinese Theatre, Actors, Actress Names, Footprints, June 1961 L.A. Trip.”] 8mm. Color. Facade of the theater (The King and I is on the marquee), the wall of signatures with a couple close-ups, CBS buildings, wide shot of Los Angeles from hills above Hollywood (?), the Moulin Rouge nightclub exterior, and the Griffith Observatory.
#247. [“1964 Drag Races at Ramona, 4th of July Parade 1964, Clairemont Drive (Clairemont, CA), Flagstaff Ariz., Walnut Canyon, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Calico Ghost Town.”] 8mm. Color. Several drag races at the San Diego Raceway at Ramona, after which is an Arizona road trip, Hoover Dam, and back to the Calico Ghost Town.
#205. [“From San Diego to San Francisco, 1965.”] 8mm. Color. Includes footage of the now defunct Bible Land in Temecula and the old Universal Studios tour. The makers also handcrafted some great opening titles. The daughter Carolyn was cameraperson.
#331. [“Bible Land Film with Sound,” ca. 1970s.] Super 8mm. Color. Sound. Footage of the former tourist site, Bible Land in Temecula and they move on to a roadside attraction north of Escondido called the Glass Garden, and a quick shot of the sign for Hans Danish Farm Restaurant. Soundtrack includes voiceover walkthrough by the filmmakers and artist Bible Land artist Ted Conibear speaking.
#351. [“Newport Revelry (7/’40), Picnic Revels (8/’42), “COH on the Range (2/’34).”] 8mm. B/W. A home movie, edited by the maker with hand-made titles, includes fun times at Newport, CA, a picnic in Lake Corpus Christi State Park in Texas, and military men conducting what looks like machine gun practice. More soon! See also #352 for more from this filmmaker.
#350. [“Arrowhead Snaps, Relaxing at Newport, Commencement, Dress Parade, Hiking in Fisk Canyon, Occidental College,” ca. 1940s.] 8mm. B/W. Description forthcoming.
#361. [U.S. Olympian, Hopeful, and Escort at Christmas, West Los Angeles, ca. New Year’s Day 1957.] 8mm, Color. POV from airplane window, bespectacled woman comes out of a small home (11530 National Blvd, Los Angeles — it’s still there!) to pick up the Los Angeles Independent with a headline “Happy New Year”, footage of the two Olympians (1956 and 1960 U.S. Olympian/hurdler Irene Robertson and Olympic hopeful Rose Caccamise and her mother Nellie) running around, smiling and goofing for the camera, making phone calls, and more. We’re not yet sure who the blond woman is. See more of these Olympians in #355 under “Our Region.”
#349. [“Calif. Scene – Webers” pre-1941.] 8mm. Color. We originally placed this film on the “Holidays, Special Events, Parties, & Weird Stuff” page because it includes some interesting double exposure footage. The parade at the end, we recently discovered, runs down the fifth block of South Broadway in Los Angeles. The Shell Theatre you see was located at 547 S. Broadway. That theater seems to have been torn down by 1941.

Coming Attractions

Below is a list of films we will be digitizing in the coming months.

  • Keep an eye on this space!

Want to drive a little farther today? Check out our “A Longer Drive” page.