Have you ever seen a label to something that made you want to know more? While working with 16mm films until you can view the film to see the content you often have to rely on the descriptions on the films’ canisters to provide an initial summary of information. Currently the film canister description is the only known information about a film because the films have not been digitized. The information can be as simple as “MSU VS. UCLA” or “ON CAMPUS 1961-1962”; though there is some film canister description that is fascinating out of context. Below are three curious examples found so far in the film collections.
The first film is titled “DEER PEOPLE OF ATHENS”, which at first glance sounds like a B horror movie. As much as it would be fascinating for the film to be a quirky B horror movie, a quick Google search leads one to assume that the film is most likely associated with Athens, Michigan. One cannot be sure of the film’s actual contents until it is actually viewed, but any preliminary information is critical.
Some film canisters also contain additional information about a film. This is usually information about how a film is fragile or if the film is part of a series of other films. Sometimes though, films contain information that doesn’t really correspond with the film in the can. An example of this is “MSU VS INDIANA 31 OCT 81 11 ON 11 – KEEPA YOU HANDS OFF !!!!!!!!” or “MSU VS NOTRE DAME 3 OCT 81 11 ON 11 ORIGINAL KEEPA YOU HANDS OFF OR DIE”. The films are both in much better condition than other materials in the film collections but whoever originally wrote the label information was adamant that people do not handle the film for some unknown reason. Safe to say, the intern did not die handling the films so far, though if there are any curses on the materials, it remains to be seen.
This is the first in a series of blogs about the film collections at the MSU Archives. An intern was hired to work on the film collections with funds from the MSU Film and Video Preservation Fund.