Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Efforts to Preserve Silent Film Made in Pelham in 1929

Pelham, New York is a small town located in Westchester County just northeast of New York City. On June 27, 1654, Thomas Pell of Fairfield, Connecticut purchased the area from local Native Americans.

As part of the Town of Pelham’s 350th Anniversary Celebration in 2004, The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham filed a 33-page grant application with the The National Film Preservation Foundation seeking a grant to preserve a 16 mm film made in Pelham in 1929. Entitled “Memorial Day Pelham NY 1929”, the film documents a day of events revolving around the Town’s Memorial Day celebration on May 30, 1929. Examples of a few of the images from the film submitted with the grant application appear immediately below.

The application detailed extensive research regarding the film and included newspaper accounts of the film and events depicted in the film published in 1929 as well as a history of motion picture exhibition in Pelham. It also included images taken from the film. Research suggests that Pelham Post No. 50, American Legion commissioned the film. It shows members of the Post, a parade through various parts of the town and a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of fallen heroes.

The National Preservation Foundation subsequently awarded a film preservation grant to the Town of Pelham to permit preservation of the historic 16 mm documentary silent film. The grant totals approximately $1,100 and will fund the creation of a new internegative (with titles), the manufacture of a new print copy of the film and the creation of a digi beta from the preservation copy that can be used to create DVDs for distribution to educational institutions in Pelham.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog provides a brief report on the status of the film preservation.

The film, in its original canister, is in the possession of Cineric with preservation expected by the “end of the first quarter 2006”. Cineric is considered by some to be among the industry’s finest restoration and preservation facilities. Cineric, located at 630 Ninth Avenue, Suite 508, New York, NY, has restored over 200 films including Jason and the Argonauts, The Birds, American Grafitti, A Man for All Seasons, The Man from Laramie and The Caine Mutiny.
Cineric has indicated that the film “Memorial Day Pelham NY 1929” is a diacetate film, a precursor to safety film and is in excellent condition.

To learn more about the film and the grant awarded by the National Film Preservation Foundation, see National Film Preservation Foundation Awards Grant to Preserve 1929 Silent Film Made in Pelham, Vol. 1, Issue 11, Historic Pelham Herald, p. 1 (May 2004).

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