Tag Archives: film

New digital collection: Anti-Communism Films of the Early 1960s

Pepperdine University Libraries is pleased to announce its latest digital collection, Anti-Communism Films of the Early 1960s. At the height of the Cold War, Pepperdine College sponsored a four-part, Hollywood-produced film series titled Crisis for Americans. Utilizing newsreel footage and scripted narration, each film sought to expose the threat of Soviet-based communism to capitalism and free societies around the globe. In turn, the films describe how communism preys on susceptible youth (Communist Accent on Youth, 1961), spreads through violent aggression (Communist Imperialism, 1962), and cloaks itself behind the discourse of “peaceful coexistence” (Communism and Coexistence, 1963). The fourth film, The Questions and the Answers (1965), argues for the necessity of congressional investigations that root out communist activities within the United States. Straddling the period of the Cuban Missile Crisis, these films offer an excellent example of the anti-communist discourse typical of this critical moment in Cold War history. All four films can now be viewed online alongside supplementary archival materials about the films, including internal memos, correspondence, scripts, and newspaper clippings. Enjoy.

Herschensohn’s Eulogy to 5:02: Today’s featured digital object

Pepperdine students today may know Bruce Herschensohn for his memorable appearances as a senior fellow with the School of Public Policy. Others may recall his political commentary in the media, his roles in the Nixon and Reagan administrations, or his California Senate campaigns of 1986 and 1992. However, few may know that he got his start as an award-winning documentary filmmaker.

Artwork for film "Eulogy to 5:02"

Herschensohn made numerous films for the United States Information Agency (USIA), becoming that agency’s Director of Motion Pictures and Television in 1968. Production materials related to many of these films, including scripts, storyboards, notes, correspondence, and artwork—and many of the films themselves—await discovery in our Bruce Herschensohn Collection. This online collection is an ever-growing digital surrogate for the complete Bruce Herschensohn Papers, which are among the holdings of our Special Collections and University Archives department.

In 1965, Herschensohn had the unique idea to make a film about twenty simultaneous stories going on all over the world during the course of a single minute (5:02 PM Greenwich) on an unspecified day. Each segment from locations such as London, Copenhagen, Karachi, New Delhi, Hong Kong, San Juan, Rio de Janeiro, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Lagos, lasts one minute. The theme, according to Herschensohn, was to demonstrate that “we all have in common the fact that we’re alive NOW and share this common time in the world’s history.” Produced, as it was, by the USIA, the film was also designed to show how US policies were positively impacting the lives of ordinary people around the world.

Click here to browse the Herschensohn material related to Eulogy to 5:02.

Friendship 7: Today’s featured digital object

As the era of the space shuttle comes to an end, today’s digital object takes us back to a milestone in the history of spaceflight. On February 20, 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth in a space capsule, circling the planet three times before safely splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean. The mission, part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Project Mercury, was called MA-6. The capsule piloted by Glenn was called Friendship 7. A documentary film by the same name captured the dramatic events of that eventful day and was released by NASA later the same year. Friendship 7, the film, showcased American achievement at the height of the space race with the Soviet Union, and remains a classic audiovisual document of the early days of human spaceflight.

Filming Friendship 7 documentary

In this photo, we see a young man astride a camera crane in the NASA mission control center filming a scene from Friendship 7 among the frenzied activities of flight controllers. The man behind the camera is Bruce Herschensohn, who also served as the film’s editor and score composer. In total, Herschensohn contributed to the production of nearly fifty films for various U.S. government agencies—but this was just one facet of a long, truly multifaceted career that traversed politics and academia.

Pepperdine University is now home to the Bruce Herschensohn Collection, which features the personal papers of this important politician, scholar, and filmmaker, including his notes, photographs, correspondence, media clippings, and other ephemera. The collection documents his professional life, including his work with the U.S. Information Agency during the 1960s, his roles in the Nixon and Reagan administrations, as a political commentator for television and radio, and as a senior fellow with Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy. You can easily search the collection for the photo above and all materials related to Friendship 7 and many other films of the period.