The best things in life are free, which is why the Prelinger Archives, a massive collection of “ephemeral” films in the public domain, is one of the best things on the internet. Here are some of the many gems that should interest Pruned readers.
1) Park Conscious (ca. 1938)
Elegy to recreation and relaxation in state and national parks.
2) The River (Part I and II) (1937)
Classic documentary history of the exploitation of the resources of the Mississippi River Valley and the work being done to rehabilitate and reclaim the area.
3) Gardening (1940)
Follows a boy and a girl through a garden-raising project from the selection of seeds to the harvesting of the crops. Includes radishes, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes. Emphasizes aspects of soils, growth, role of the sun, insect pests and the various parts of plants used for food--leaves, stems, buds and roots
4) Operation Cue (1955)
Eerie nuclear tests on houses and dummies at the Nevada Test Site.
5) Freedom of the American Road (Part I and II) (1955)
Henry Ford II introduces this film designed to encourage private citizens to unite and support road improvement. Part of the lobbying campaign that culminated in legislation authorizing the Interstate Highway system in 1956, this film shows community efforts to improve and increase safety on the Bayshore Highway in the San Francisco Bay Area; congestion in Pittsburgh and the Golden Triangle redevelopment area; the economic benefits of Boston's circumferential highway, Route 128; and safety education in St. Joseph, Missouri.