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Disneyland Dream

The Library of Congress just named their 2008 inductees of culturally important films to be included in the National Film Registry. These are always interesting, because among the expected Hollywood classics they also include art films, animated shorts, forgotten silent footage and other stuff which might be considered ephemeral. One of this year’s choices, for example, is some totally charming silent home movie footage documenting the results of a happy ’50s suburban family’s winning sweepstakes entry — a trip to Disneyland! From the Library of Congress site:

The Barstow family films a memorable home movie of their trip to Disneyland. Robbins and Meg Barstow, along with their children Mary, David and Daniel were among 25 families who won a free trip to the newly opened Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., as part of a “Scotch Brand Cellophane Tape” contest sponsored by 3M. Through vivid color and droll narration (“The landscape was very different from back home in Connecticut”), we see a fantastic historical snapshot of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Catalina Island, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios and Disneyland in mid-1956. Home movies have assumed a rapidly increasing importance in American cultural studies as they provide a priceless and authentic record of time and place.

The entire film is available for downloading/viewing here (thanks to loyal Mark Evanier reader Christopher for the heads-up). It is a fascinating little document of the park, looking sparse and ultra-clean only a year after it first opened.

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