Melissa’s Obsession: Work and Social Club Parties

Co-founder, Melissa, has begun collecting films which depict work parties be they retirement or holiday parties, the odd summer picnic. It has become a bit of an obsession perhaps because they are a bit hard to find! 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 or higher setting on the player.

#140. [Dobeckmun’s 7th Annual company Picnic — “1937 Picnic Film”.] 16mm. B/W. Silent. Home movie shot on August 7th, 1937 during Dobeckmun’s 7th Annual company Picnic at Schluter’s Tavern in Westlake, Ohio. Dobeckmun was a manufacturer of cellophane bags, and after 1957, a division of the Dow Chemical Company based in Cleveland, Ohio.
#144. [Dance Party, Band, ca. 1965.] 8mm. Color. Silent. Description forthcoming.
#143. [“1964” — Work Party.] 8mm. Color. Silent. Description forthcoming.

“Amateur Film — [Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corporation, Homestead District Works] Supervisors Picnic,” June 11, 1949. Courtesy of Prelinger Archives via Internet Archive.

#280. [“Store Party, SBHS Cafeteria, Nov. 5, 1940.”] 16mm. Color. Silent. San Bernardino’s Harris Company Department Store employees at a Thanksgiving dinner party held in their honor in San Bernardino High School’s cafeteria. The camera scans around the room to attendees, a band, a talent routine, and rests for a bit on a man who is likely a member of the Harris family and his wife. The department store was located at the corners of Third and E Streets and you can see the exterior here. (Final frames cut off during digitization it seems.)
“GSM Company Picnic Home Movie,” 1958. 16mm. Color. Silent. Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company was an Black-owned insurance company that insured its under-served community in the Los Angeles area. Courtesy of UCLA, Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library. Collection: Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company records; Calisphere permalink: To read more.
#359. [Chrysler Company Picnic, ca. 1961.] 16mm. Color. Silent. Description forthcoming.
#180. [“Baba’s Retire(ment) + Shop,” 1950s.] 8mm. Color. Silent. Footage of a large banquet with attendees in fancy dress, a speech, clapping and goofing, and images of what looks like a machine shop.
#375. [‘Xmas 1953 — Credit Club Xmas Party (Work), Xmas 1954, Crystal Lake Mountains — Snow 1955, Kussen (Johnson Dog), Beach, Memorial Day, Boys Choir (James), Ray’s Folks, Palm Springs, Calif.; December 1955-’56.”] 8mm. Color. Silent. On this long reel is a bit scratched up and dirty, but it starts out with a work/club Christmas party. It continues with road trips, and vacation footage of a group of young people hanging by a motel pool (help us identify!) in Palm Springs and exploring a bit. Cross-listed under “Our Region” and “Holidays, Special Events, Parties, & Weird Stuff.”
#264. [“Holly – Xmas ’72 at Sears, SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) Xmas Party, First Christmas in Our New House and The Bavins.”] Super 8mm. Color. Silent. Toddler Holly versus the Sears department store Santa, running around touching all the toys and dolls and stuffed animals, trying out a couple of different tricycles, checking out the decorated Christmas trees on display, and kissing plastic illuminated Joseph and Mary in a nativity scene. Holly in a fancy dress and Christmas necklace accompanies her parents (and grandparents?) to a SEPTA Christmas party for employees and their kids, Holly takes her gift from Santa this time and gives him a smooch, kids dancing in a circle (with Holly’s grandpa?) New scene: the family’s living room with its Christmas tree, tons of decorations and cards, then Holly coming down Christmas morning to open all her presents. Other family members join them later. Cross-listed under “Holidays, Special Events, Parties, & Weird Stuff.”
#374. [“The Albany Frosted Food Picnic,” “Vacation Atlantic City, May 1941,” “At Our Cabin,” “On the Beach,” “Candid Shots of Michael and His Playmates,” “Judy Cunningham and Michael, April 1941,” “A Picnic in May,” ca. 1941.”] 8mm. B/W. Silent. Tile derived from the hand-lettered titles throughout the film. Further description forthcoming.
#395. [“Jacobson Office Picnic, June 1964.”] 8mm. Color. Silent. Jacobson employees hanging out and drinking beers in a picnic area by a lake.
#397. [“H.P. Picnic 1964.”] 8mm. Color. Silent. H.P. = Hewlett Packard, and this seems to be HP’s former campground in Little Basin in Santa Cruz County. People in fancy dress, and people on lawn chairs, kids on horses, clowns and perhaps a talent show. What else do you want from a company picnic?
#380. [“Blankets,” ca. 1970s.] Super 8mm. Color. Silent. We don’t know who these people are, how they are associated, and for whom they are posing with care baskets and then packing them into their trunks. We believe those are Illinois people, and think the baskets are for charity, but mainly we are definitely inspired by them. Also…why is this film called “Blankets”?

Coming Attractions

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

  • #437. [“1961-1962 Xmas — Runa’s Party, Mother’s, Ginny’s, Home, Cosmos Meeting, Cosmos Kids Party.”] 8mm. Color. Silent. “Cosmos” refers to Cosmopolitan Club. Crosslisted on the “Holidays, Special Events, Parties, & Weird Stuff” page.
  • #499. [“Office Parties,” late 1960s.] Super 8mm. Color. Silent.
  • #508. [Sales Retreat on Washington Island (Door County/Wisc.), 1970s.] Super 8mm. Color. Sound. Same filmmaker/group as #510 and #511.
  • #510. [Sales Retreat “Brunch Tan-Tar-A” Resort 1970s.] Super 8mm. Color. Sound. Same filmmaker/group as #509 and #511.
  • #511. [“Abbey (Resort), Les Giblen, Door County,” June 10, 1970.] Super 8mm. Color. Sound. Same filmmaker/group as #509 and #510.