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Market Street Before the Fire - 1906 short film


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Recently a short actuality film about Market Street, San Francisco, made in 1906 gained a lot of attention, because it was recently discovered that the film was shot only a week before the great earthquake of 1906. The film shows various citizens walking about the street who did not know that some of them only had a week to live. In fact, the film reel was shipped to New York just one day before the earthquake. HAS TCM EVER SHOWN THIS?? This past Sunday, 60 Minutes did a story on the film and even showed a restored highdef clip that looked amazing. This film is going to be put in the National Film Registry for sure, after being neglected in the public domain for nearly a century. TCM, Please Show This. It is listed in IMDB as "A Trip Down Market Street Before the Fire", and in TCM database as "Panorama of Market Street Before the Fire".

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I saw this at an old movie house in San Francisco in the mid-1970s, along with the film "San Francisco". They showed both of these during every anniversary week of the earthquake.

 

I was in an antique-bottle club at that time, and we used to dig up earthquake relics in the South of Market Street area on the weekends. Lots of relics about 2 to 4 feet down in empty lots.

 

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Here's a link to the *60 Minutes* piece that ran on Sunday evening. It includes conversations with Rick Prelinger and David Kiehn who were involved in the restoration.

 

It was long believed that the footage was shot in the fall of 1905. The camera was mounted on the front of a trolley car.

 

 

Dave Kiehn went sleuthing because he noticed the street had puddles in it as after a rain storm. Kiehn, head of the Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont, California, started doing some research and discovered there was no rain in Sept. or October of 1905.

 

It is a beautiful restoration:

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6958548n

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A couple of years back, an independent short film was made by intercutting the old film with footage of a modern film making the same trip. I don't recall the new film's title, but I believe it won some awards. I saw it, and it was very poignant.

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Here is the complete 60 Minutes segment:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6966797n

 

The film is about 12min long I believe, but 60 Minutes only showed snippets of it. A complete version is on youtube, but in low quality. So someone needs to show this in hi quality, preferrably in HD, because the whole point of seeing it is to see all the little details and human behaviors captured from days gone by. Blu-ray is probably too much to ask for. And when is TCM going HD anyway?

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> {quote:title=atcmviewer wrote:}{quote}

>

> The film is about 12min long I believe, but 60 Minutes only showed snippets of it. A complete version is on youtube, but in low quality. So someone needs to show this in hi quality, preferrably in HD, because the whole point of seeing it is to see all the little details and human behaviors captured from days gone by.

>

The complete film, in excellent restored quality is here:

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6964752n&tag=related;photovideo

 

With commentary:

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6966797n&tag=contentMain;contentAux

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*And when is TCM going HD anyway?*

 

Depending upon your cable or satellite provider, TCM is available in HD. It is an upconverted signal at this time but they hope to be broadcasting in true HD in a few years.

 

Those who have access to the HD channel say the upconverted signal looks great.

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Thanks for the links.

 

At the very end, the Northeast-bound cable car rolls onto a turntable, which is manually rotated to turn the car around to face Southwest, so it can go back up Market Street.

 

The city seems so modern to me. The autos must have been almost-new. Lots of well-dressed people on the street. Most of the men are dressed in spiffy suits. I see a street cleaner on the right, cleaning up after the horses.

 

The tallest building in the distance on the right side of the street is the Call newspaper building. It survived the quake, was burned out by the fire, was restored, was remodeled to art deco in the 1930s with some floors added to the top, was remodeled again years later, and it is a modern downtown office building today. One of the most amazing 19th Century buildings ever constructed, since it survived the quake and fire and has been in continuous use ever since it was refurbished shortly after the events took place.

 

After fire:

call_building_gutted.jpg

 

Today:

Downtwn1$call-building-1997.jpg

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