(The following is a guest post from Mike Mashon, head of the Moving Image Section in the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.)
The Library of Congress’s collection of television programs is broad and deep, consistently revealing some rather unexpected finds. A recent case in point: in the course of selecting two-inch Quadruplex tapes for preservation by the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Preservation video lab, I recently came across a title inventoried as, simply, “P.L. Travers.” Now, I like the Disney version of “Mary Poppins” just fine, but all I really knew about P.L. Travers was that she thought so little of the adaptation that she refused all entreaties for further film treatments of Poppins stories. Suitably intrigued, I asked for it to be preserved.
A few days later, I downloaded the digital file from our archive server and was quite surprised to see an opening slate with the words “Library of Congress” on it. It turns out that the program was one in a series of late-Sixties joint productions between the Library and public television station WETA in Washington, D.C., each featuring well known authors and poets like John Updike, Rod Serling and James Dickey discussing their work. With the kind and generous permission of WETA, we will share more of these shows in future blog posts.
The program with P.L. Travers is quite different from the others in that she takes questions from a group of children – who prove to be adept interviewers – even if one gets the sense that some of their inquiries might have been provided to them beforehand. Everyone studiously avoids any mention of the film – released two years before this November 1966 recording – but it remains a fascinating and rare television appearance by Mary Poppins’ creator. If you know anything about this production (especially if you are one of the children!), we’d love to hear from you.
And in a welcome instance of serendipity, between the time of the tape’s preservation and this online presentation, “Mary Poppins” was named to the 2013 National Film Registry by Librarian of Congress James Billington. While one hesitates to hazard what P.L. Travers would think of the coincidence, it does seem practically perfect in every way.
This Thursday and Friday, the Library of Congress is hosting a special “Celebration of Mexico” to honor the culture and history of Hispanic Americans and highlight the Library’s collection of Hispanic materials, which is the largest in the world. During the event, the Library will present the world premiere of the oldest-known documentary footage of […]
One in 10 people living in the United States of America is of Mexican origin. One in five Americans is Hispanic. The Library of Congress is hosting a special “Celebration of Mexico” next month to honor this segment of the population and provide some important educational opportunities along the way. The Library has the largest […]
(The following is a guest post by Audrey Fischer, editor of the Library of Congress Magazine.) It’s been 50 years since pioneering women’s rights activist Betty Friedan stunned the nation with her controversial book, “The Feminine Mystique.” In what became known as a manifesto, Friedan urged women to eschew the cult of domesticity and address […]
(The following is a guest post from the Library’s Director of Communications, Gayle Osterberg.) In its first three weeks of life (still a newborn!) Congress.gov has attracted almost 45,000 visitors and is approaching a quarter million page views, as people find time to explore the new site and some of its features. It has been […]
Today marked a rather monumental occasion as the space shuttle Discovery made its final flight – not to the stars but to its permanent home at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum annex near Dulles, Va. Library of Congress staff members were able to capture its final spin, as it took a few turns […]
A Nobel prizewinner, a paleontologist, a taxidermist, an ornithologist, a field naturalist, a conservationist, a big-game hunter, a naval historian, a biographer, an essayist, an editor, a critic, an orator, a civil-service reformer, a socialite, a patron of the arts, a colonel of the cavalry, a ranchman … the list goes on. Add to that […]
J. Edgar Hoover – former Library of Congress employee, longtime director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a highly respected but feared individual – has been the subject of admiration and controversy alike. Some 40 years since his death, he has returned to the spotlight thanks to Clint Eastwood’s biopic “J. Edgar,” the DVD […]
If you love Broadway, we have a treat for you. The Music Division of the Library of Congress has received a collection from the estate of Broadway giant John Raitt, who originated the role of Billy Bigelow in the Rodgers and Hammerstein show “Carousel” and also starred in “The Pajama Game,” “Oklahoma!” and other top […]
What can you say about an artist who directed and co-designed the sets for an opera about a guy whose nose detaches from his face and – well – runs off? Leora Maltz-Leca, a Library of Congress fellow of the Swann Foundation, which supports the arts of cartooning and caricature, will answer that question on […]