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Preserving the Past

Dan’s quest to save the past

America tends to be a “disposable society.” So many things get trashed or left to deteriorate. From old broadcast equipment to films to even “knowledge,” we sometimes forget the past is worth saving. I know of a number of broadcast equipment “savers” with large “depots” of old gear, from Don Archiable to Chuck Pharis (Chuck brought a few pieces to the NAB convention a few years back). There are others … and we thank them for their love of our broadcast history. So here’s a look at some sites related to preserving the past for broadcasting and film.

One Person Preserving Film
We have a bad habit of not preserving history. Fortunately three are individuals in about every field that save and preserve history. This story is about Bob DeFlores who preserves film. Great story.

National Film Preservation
If you love old films, this is the site for you! This is the National Film Preservation Foundation … and it’s free for your enjoyment. Note that it’s a nonprofit organization and they work from donations. Like many of these sites, if you use them and appreciate them, you might consider supporting them with donation. If they are a 501(c)(3), some donations may be tax deductible (always consult your tax person to be sure).

Broadcast Equipment
Chuck Pharis has been an avid collector of broadcast equipment for years. Though there are a number of collectors, he’s probably one of the more well-known. Here’s a link to his website.

U.S. History
If you haven’t explored our own Library of Congress, they’ve done a very good job with preserving some of the old print, audio, video and film of the past. You can just go to the page narrow the search to the style of media and enter what you are looking for. The search engine can be refined to narrow down what you are looking for.

Old Web Pages
You may not have known this, but there’s an organization that actually takes snapshots of old web pages and archives them. It’s simple to use and you just enter the old web page name and it presents a calendar of when they’ve snapped an image of that page. Keep in mind that these aren’t actually old “working” pages, but images of the page.

Old Time Radio
Are you a fan of the old radio theater stuff? also has a fantastic collection of old radio shows and easy enough to browse. Old “Rinso” sponsored shows, suspense, drama, comedy … and some old radio speeches as well. It’s just a great place to spend some time listening to old time radio. This website contains numerous archives that’s why you see it twice in this blog. Note that it gets heavy use and sometimes there servers seem to get bogged down.

Television News Archive
This is an interesting site that has been collecting newscasts, stories and footage since 2009. This website is a nonprofit site founded to build a TV library with the idea of supporting a permanent place for researchers, historians and scholars to review old news footage.

The One Everybody Knows
I know there’s really no need to put YouTube here, other than to say it is one of the best places to find about any video you are looking for … from old music videos to historical items to some TV programs.

And finally …
Bad jokes. As a fan of bad jokes (like “Horse walks into a bar. Bartender says, ‘Why such a long face?’”), I always appreciate new (and old) bad jokes. Here’s a link to some real stinkers.

If you stumble across a good or unusual website that might be of interest, please don’t hesitate to send me the link and any info you might have about it. My email address is [email protected].