A menthol cigarette where you can taste the tobacco!

Brent Reidy

(I posted this on my own blog last month, but it deserves repeating as I think Adam's videos are fantastic and because i think many of you Dial M regulars will enjoy wasting countless hours on the archives discussed in the post.)

A composer friend of mine (Adam Haws)
put together a wonderful pair of music + video works. They are called
"Two (2) bagatelles for electronic sounds and archival footage ." Warning: they
are vaguely disturbing, yet wholly entertaining:

The footage used is all in the public domain. Here adam uses:

boys beware (sid davis, 1961)
chroma key candle stock footage (courtesy of ivan bridgewater and internet archive, 2007)
co-ed secrets (1940s)
getting ready physically (coronet instructional films, 1951)
the hare and the tortoise (encyclopaedia britannica films, 1947)
newport cigarette commercial # 2
one got fat: bicycle safety (interlude films, 1963)
previews of coming attractions trailer (ca. 1949s)
san francisco earthquake footage (1908)

The film is all available (in high-definition) from the prelinger archives. This is a wonderful repository of old movies acquired by the library of
congress six years ago. The collection of more than 2,000 online items
includes stag films (adults only…sort of–it isn't much worse than average cable), war propaganda (our enemy: the japense!), and ol' childhood favorites like "duck n' cover!"

Countless
hours were lost by me this week looking through the collection. Being the
music dork that i am, i couldn't help but notice how strange the music
is in some of the ephemera. Check out this psa made in 70s:

The
music is intoxicating. Makes me wish i had three or four venereal
diseases. Apparently a seductive, happy song is the best way to
warn people of the dangers of unprotected intercourse.  (Says a commenter on the
site: I was 6 years old when i saw this. I had no idea what vd was but
I wanted it!")

Better yet, try this anti-drug psa from the 60s. Note the spooky voice (almost theremin like at the start) behind the
opening snake footage. Next hand-percussion and chords on an acoustic
bass– Jazz = drugs, of course!

See it to believe it.  Go and enjoy.

About Phil Ford

Chairman of the Committee for the Memorial to the Victims of Modernism
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3 Responses to A menthol cigarette where you can taste the tobacco!

  1. rootlesscosmo says:

    “The pot needle?” Bennies = barbiturates? The credits include an MD consultant but I think they should have made him give his fee back.

  2. I’m going to shamelessly take this opportunity to plug my own works with Prelinger Archive footage–my piece “Pulse-Point”:

    The footage is from “American Look”
    I have a major new video project in the works which I’ll be unveiling soon. . .

  3. squashed says:

    I love the (Adam Haws composition. can you tell me where I can get the piece after the rabbit clip?
    Boing-boing has a post about a guy doing a massive multimedia redo (film and soundtrack) It’s incredible restructuring. A simple dance track, but clever use of all sound to create full orchestra.
    http://www.boingboing.net/2008/05/21/alice-a-song-and-vid.html

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