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Very early films on Scouts

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  • Very early films on Scouts

    Does anyone on here know much about the very early Boy Scout related films? Just received a copy of the 1920 Annual Report, and found a mention of two films that had just been released, and a note about two others from even earlier that apparently were doing well. Am assuming these films were being shown in the theaters. That was still the silent era if I remember correctly. Would be interesting to see some of those.

    Will have to go back and find the titles they spoke about and post them.(This message has been edited by skeptic)

  • #2
    Unfortunately, most of those films were not preserved and either were thrown out or are unusable. If you search around, you can find some DVD's and VHS tapes with clips from some of those old films.


    • #3
      Just for info, the four noted in the 1920 report were a one reel entitled "Days of Real Sport", a two reeler named "America's Heritage" (about an Akron, Oh troop venture); these were from prior to 1919 apparently. Two more, from 1919, were "Adventures of a Boy Scout", and "Knights of the Square Table".

      They note that the Motion Picture Weeklies were very cooperative in featuring these films; I believe that was some kind of early distributor of short film. Ford and Goodyear were involved in at least two of these films; so if any of them still exist, the corporate historians, if they exist, might shed additional light.

      In our council, we have an early 30's film about our second scout camp. It was made around 1934, and showed activities in the camp. Someone had it digitized a number of years back, so we can view it today with newer technology. As far as I know, the original is still intact. It is fun to watch, though typically grainy and jumpy.


      • #4
        A number of silent movie clips are used in "Scouts! The Rise of the World Scout Movement" (1984) Canada; Using archival footage from Bettmann Archive, British Movietone, EMI Pathe, William Hillcourt, and the Library of Congress, the film traces the rise of Scouting as a world movement in the 20th century and the life of Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell. Includes interviews with two of the original participants in Baden-Powell's 1907 Brownsea Island Scout camp and his son and daughter, along with footage of the 15th World Scout Jamboree held in Canada in 1983.

        I wonder what's involved in converting my VHS copy to digital.

        Some discussion of "Scouting in Popular Culture" can be found at:


        • #5
          You may want to inquire and see if the Smithsonian's facility in Culpeper VA has copies (digital or VHS) of the older films. My understanding is that they have the largest archive in the US of films.


          • #6
            Been a while since I've been to NARA, or used their online search databases extensively, but try, and use their search engines. I know they have a lot of early photos, including Pres. Ford doing a flag ceremony, online. No films online, bu they may have them in storage.

            Also check out the Library of Congress, which in reality was the predecessor to the National Archives, as they also have an extensive collection of materials, and may have things.

            Also check out state archives/library, and, since you mention some companies may have been involved, the company archives.

            Last but not least, check out the new national BSA museum.

            In all cases, be expecting to pay for the research. if memory serves, NARA will get the materials for you, but you need to find them, and that may involve hiring a researcher to go there and pull the records. BSA national museum will do that, but there is a fee involved.

            As for converting VHS to DVD, if you want to do it on the cheap, you can buy a VHS-DVD recorder from any electronics shop and dub them yourself. Some VHS tapes do have protection coding on them, so you cannot dub them to DVD, the ORIGINAL Star Wars trilogy tapes are coded, so you would have to take it to a professional who has the equipment to decode it and record to DVD.

            Here's the catch though if memory serves, under the law you must keep the original vhs tape. A copyright lawyer can better state the law on that one, but I know some libraries keep the original cd or dvd in storage, and check out the copy.