Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Turkey Trot 1939

Last year, I picked up a number of home movies from the 1930's and '40's at an estate sale. They were in very poor condition and suffered from extreme "vinegar syndrome". "Vinegar syndrome" is the degradation of acetate film. Cellulose acetate plastic replaced the highly flammable nitrate-based film stock used prior to the 1930's. An unfortunate consequence was these films are vanishing at a high rate due to this degradation. Once the process begins, there's no stopping it. The films become brittle, cupped, and the film will actually peel away from the acetate base.

When I first got the film, it was actually stuck together. I soaked it in Filmrenew for two weeks. That allowed me to separate the film from itself. The film is still very brittle and warped, but I was able to get a transfer done of the first reel.

This footage is of a trip to a turkey farm somewhere near Fullersburg, Illinois. Maybe they were picking out their Thanksgiving bird. These turkeys are the bronze variety which is an older breed of turkey than the white turkeys to which we've become accustomed.

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