All posts by Matt Spry

Tom (1972)

Watch on Archive.org

Institution: Internet Archive
Collection: Prelinger Archives

Running time: 18m 52s
Source film:  16mm; color; sound
Year: 1972
Director: Peter Schnitzler
Production: State of Georgia Department of Education Film Library; Extension Media Center, UCLA; National Institute of Mental Health
Photography/Camera: Neil Reichline
Editor: Howard Lester
Sound: Alvin Tokunow
Production Manager: Edward Hutner
Production Assistants: Kathy, McGinnis, Gene Kopp


After spending several days as the primary subject of a cinéma vérité documentary — surfing, making pottery, and drinking hallucinogenic tea before a vision quest — is it possible to recede into the background of normal life and just move on? We’re unlikely to ever know what became of the long-haired, mustachioed focus of the 1972 film, Tom — he’d be in his early 70s today — but if his belief system held firm through his golden years, he’s probably somewhere in the hills of northern California, playing the flute in between ruminations on the meaning of life.

Continue reading Tom (1972)

The Roy Faires Collection: Interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger (1987)

Watch on Texas Archive of the Moving Image

Institution: Texas Archive of the Moving Image
Collection: The Roy Faires Collection

Running time: 10m 01s
Source film:  color; sound
Year: 1987
Production: KVUE-TV

Interviewer: Roy Faires


Three decades ago today, John McTiernan’s 1987 science-fiction-horror-action film Predator was released. The ensemble cast featured seasoned “tough guy” actors, a screenwriter, three future politicians, and in his seventh leading role, Arnold Schwarzenegger. During its theatrical run, Predator generated more than $59 million at the American box office and nearly $100 million worldwide, the most of any Schwarzenegger film up to that point. This sit-down interview with Austin, TX entertainment reporter, Roy Faires occurred during the sixth stop in the film’s publicity tour. While the KVUE-TV production set where the interview was situated is surprisingly dull, Arnie’s loud cardigan and side-part hair style is my new favorite measuring stick for awkward 1980s celebrity fashion.

Continue reading The Roy Faires Collection: Interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger (1987)

Cipher in the Snow (1973)

Watch on YouTube

Running time: 21m 20s
Source film:  16mm; color; sound
Year: 1973 (copyright); 1974 (release)
Director: Keith J. Atkinson
Production: Wetzel Whitaker, Brigham Young University
Writer: Carol Lynn Pearson
Cinematography: Reed Smoot, Ted Van Horn
Story: Jean Mizer Todhunter
Editor: Peter G. Czerny
Music Editor: Dennis Lisonbee

Cast: Robert Bridges, Bruce Kimball, Jacqueline Mayo, Roberta Shore, Walter Stocker, Mary Cox, Larry Watts, Martha Henstrom, Kirk Hutchings, Ronald Jenkins, Court LeRoy


During a school bus trip one morning, a sullen boy named Cliff Evans asks to be let off. The driver obliges and Cliff stumbles a few steps before face-planting in the snow (complete with a freeze-frame and title text). The driver of the car behind the bus —  a math teacher named Frank Carter — rushes to the boy’s aid as the oafish driver pleads disbelief. A crowd of kids exits the bus and assembles around their fallen peer, who is confirmed dead at the scene by EMTs. What could have caused this? Dehydration? A seizure? A drug overdose?

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Fashions on Ice and Snow (1940)

Watch on Archive.org

Institution: Internet Archive
Collection: Prelinger Archives

Running time: 11m 03s
Source film:  16mm; color; b&w; sound
Year: 1940
Production: Jam Handy Organization

Sponsor: Angstein (S.) & Company
Narration: Bill Stern


Whether you’re browsing in-store or online, most ski jackets you’ll find are probably made out of some combination of nylon and polyester. It might have synthetic insulation (e.g., Thinsulate) for warmth and seam taping and some sort of hydrophobic coating to help waterproof it. On the other hand, if you’re seeking winter wardrobe that consists of flannel or poplin, I can only conclude that you’re a time traveler from the 1930s or 1940s. And if that’s the case, shouldn’t you use your time traveling skills to go back and prevent Hitler’s parents from meeting?

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The Harry and Reba Swiff Collection: Family Celebrations (1956-1958)

Watch on Texas Archive of the Moving Image

Institution: Texas Archive of the Moving Image
Collection: Harry and Reba Swiff Collection

Running time: 16m 30s
Source film:  color; silent
Year: 1956 – 1958
Camera: Harry Swiff


When I was young — particularly during adolescence — the holiday season from roughly October through January seemed to unfold as a series of discrete events, each celebration marked by its own sights, smells, sounds, and flavors. The rest periods between them (i.e., school) always crawled at a snail’s pace, allowing the anticipation for each to build to proper crescendo. In adulthood, though, that illusion has eroded with each passing year. These same holidays now occur as a blurry blob of celebratory activity, with beginnings and endings almost entirely indistinguishable if not for the correlating bank statements and smartphone images that neatly divide by monthly markers.

Continue reading The Harry and Reba Swiff Collection: Family Celebrations (1956-1958)