By Mick Swasko, @swasko
11:09 AM CDT, April 18, 2014
Dateline: Chicago, where ladies are bowling, ovens are operated by telephone and city folk can't make heads or tails of how to walk in a blizzard.
Thanks to a massive YouTube video dump over the last week by newsreel makers British Pathe, the digitized vintage footage give an incredible glimpse of Chicago's past. Some of the footage was unused, and some circulated to movie houses around the world, but most of it is absolutely fascinating.
Take, for example, a 1938 report of a blizzard hitting the city. There's no clear answer as to exactly when roads began being salted in the city. But apparently, they weren't in 1938, when the wind was described as a "hurricane."
Even the footage without audio is compelling. A set of B-roll from 1966 shows a wreck on the "L," when a car went off the tracks and onto the street at Indiana Avenue and 40th Street. According to Chicago-L.org, two were killed and 25 were injured.
There's also historic moments. In this 1959 reel, Queen Elizabeth's first visit to Chicago was documented.
And, finally, a few examples of some good old fashioned sexism.
First up, a little report about a women's bowling tournament. Hardly newsworthy nowadays but the narrator in this one is clearly dumbfounded that the ladies are participating. There's a grand total of two weight jokes and a great shot of a man who is upset that he has to hold his son while his wife is bowling.
A recap of the Chicago Home Furnishings Show is another gem. In addition to the current products on the market, the narrator tells us, the 1961 show offers a glimpse into the future. What's in store for the kitchen of tomorrow? An oven operated by telephone, of course, so the lady won't miss making dinner while she's out and about doing lady things!
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