While we're on the subject of Montreal, on 23 July 1967, a disastrous
nitrate fire broke out in the vaults of the National Film Board of Canada.
The film archives were stored in a temporary warehouse constructed with a
corrugated tin roof and supported by fir posts. At a distance of 300 feet,
the heat was so intense that no one could approach the building. In four
hours, it was totally destroyed. Storing nitrate film in a building
supported by fir posts was not the brightest idea. Millions of feet of
destroyed and the Canadian government was squarely blamed for its lack of
concern for Canada’s film heritage. More than half of the films produced in
Canada between 1890 and 1950 were lost.
On Sun, Apr 5, 2015 at 10:39 PM, Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> In 1975 at the Montreal ARSC/IASA I met Timothy Eckersley, the longtime
> BBC Archivist who was soon to retire. He explained to me that the BBC
> Archive was the ultimate in accessibility -- that is, they knew where
> everything was because they had held it to a manageable size. He
> explained that because the BEEB produced so much material the way they
> controlled the size of the archive was to save only four hours of new
> material per week. He proudly said that they considered its historical
> and political significance, and that items of popular programming were
> only saved in samples of perhaps one episode of a series. He was rather
> proud of that.
> I found it ironic that when "The Goon Show Companion" was published a
> year later it had a complete detailed log of every program with all the
> disc or tape catalog numbers no matter whether the program existed or
> was destroyed. It seems that the BBC cataloging system was so perfect
> that there would have been no problem in keeping track of where
> everything is without destroying 99% of it. It would only be a matter of
> warehousing. From Mr. Eckersley's demeanor it seemed to me that he was
> most proud of having saved posterity from so much low-class material.
> When we had our tour of the BBC Archive in the 2001 ARSC/IASA conference
> I mentioned Mr. Eckersley's boast and was assured that this was no
> longer the attitude of the Beeb. HAH!
> Mike Biel [log in to unmask]
> > On Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 9:51 PM, Frank Scott <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >> I seem to recall that the BBC were ready to destroy the original Monty
> >> Python masters had not one of the Pythons stepped in to fund the cost of
> >> preservation.
> >> Most famously they destroyed the January 1963 performance of the play
> >> "Madhouse On Castle Street" which included a young Bob Dylan performing
> >> four songs including what would have been the first television or radio
> >> performance of "Blowin' In The Wind." The destruction was done in 1968,
> >> long after Dylan had achieved worldwide fame!
> >> Frank Scott
> >> Roots & Rhythm
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: CJB
> >> Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2015 05:48 AM
> >> Of course there was the unmitigated disaster of the BBC junking many of
> >> its archives including whole series of Doctor Who, to say nothing of
> >> numerous comedy series such as Dads's Army. And their radio archives
> >> similarly junked, especially anything to do with the genre of 'folk.'
> >> All of this was in the 1970s/80s/90s.
> >> The Beeb even produced radio programmes about its lost archives.
> >> The scandal is that many 'lost' programmes were home-taped by
> >> These are regularly found and offered back to the Beeb.
> >> Most returns are declined unless they are commercially valuable such as
> >> Clitheroe Kid, Navy Lark, etc.
> >> So the programmes then start to appear on various torrent and usenet
> >> sites. But then the uploaders are served with 'take down' notices -
> even if
> >> the Beeb has refused acceptance of 'lost' recordings it doesn't itself
> >> These websites explain more ...
> >> http://missingepisodes.proboards.com/
> >> http://wipednews.com/
> >> CJB.