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Rare Color Footage of Depression-Era New York

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In the same year that The Wizard of Oz hurtled Dorothy from a black-and-white Kansas into a Technicolor Oz, Jean Vivier, a French tourist, was filming the streets of New York in all of their own glorious color.

A rare 16-mm Kodachrome film from the summer of 1939 that was recently released by the Italian Romano Archives shows swinging signs advertising 5¢ piña coladas, elevated trains whizzing overhead, and boys playing in the fountain of a public park. Archivist Vincente Romano says the clips of Rockefeller Center, Chinatown, and other areas are only a portion of the film Vivier took over the course of his trip from Marseilles to the Big Apple at the close of the Great Depression.

Due to its excellent longevity in dark storage, Kodachrome is a favorite of archivists, and much of even the old stuff survives today in everything from home movies to award-winning National Geographic photos. The film emerged in 1935 as the first successful mass-market color film and outlasted predecessors such as Afgachrome and Dufraychrome to become the oldest brand sold until its demise in 2009, when Kodak announced that it would stop manufacturing Kodachrome after nearly 75 years of exposure.

A lot has changed in New York since Jean Vivier first stepped off the S.S. Normandie in ’39: buildings are taller, Model-A Fords and Packards have been replaced by diminutive smart cars, and ears of corn are no longer sold off of carts in lower Manhattan for two cents apiece. But the cityscape of blaring color that he recorded—the hordes of people, the cars, the bright signs on businesses and buildings—is as brilliant as ever, and ready for some new enterprising tourist to record it for vibrant posterity. 

Via the Huffington Post.

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Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
Found: A Sunken German World War I-Era Submarine
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SMU Central University Libraries, Flickr/Public Domain

During World War I, one of Germany's most formidable weapons was the U-boat, an advanced military submarine with torpedoes that sank countless Allied merchant and cargo ships. But while deadly, these submersibles weren't invincible, as evidenced by the recent discovery of a sunken German U-boat in the North Sea.

As ABC News reports, researchers located the UB II-type dive boat—a smaller submarine that typically plagued coastal waters—off the coast of Belgium, around 82 to 98 feet below the North Sea. The 88-foot vessel appears to have struck a mine with its upper deck, judging by damage suffered to its front.

The submarine is remarkably intact. Two of its torpedo tubes were destroyed, but one of them is still in good condition. The ship itself remained sealed, and may serve as a watery grave for up to 23 crew members.

The U-boat's final resting place hasn't been announced, as to prevent looting or damage, according to the BBC. Meanwhile, Belgian officials have contacted the German ambassador to see how they should proceed with any potential remains.

This isn't the first time a World War I-era U-boat has been found in Belgian waters. Experts have catalogued 11 such discoveries so far, but this one is reported to be the best preserved. The Chicago Tribune reports that since 18 U-boats were stationed in Bruges between 1915 and 1918, and 13 of them were destroyed, there might be even more of these kinds of finds to come.

[h/t ABC News]

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Family Communications Inc./Getty Images
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Pop Culture
The Sweet Surprise Reunion Mr. Rogers Never Saw Coming
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Family Communications Inc./Getty Images

For more than 30 years, legendary children’s show host Fred Rogers used his PBS series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to educate his young viewers on concepts like empathy, sharing, and grief. As a result, he won just about every television award he was eligible for, some of them many times over.

Rogers was gracious in accepting each, but according to those who were close to the host, one honor in particular stood out. It was March 11, 1999, and Rogers was being inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, an offshoot of the Emmy Awards. Just before being called to the stage, out came a surprise.

The man responsible for the elation on Rogers’s face was Jeff Erlanger, a 29-year-old from Madison, Wisconsin who became a quadriplegic at a young age after undergoing spinal surgery to remove a tumor. Rogers was surprised because Erlanger had appeared on his show nearly 20 years prior in 1980 to help kids understand how people with physical challenges adapt to life’s challenges. Here's his first encounter with the host:

Reunited on stage after two decades, Erlanger referred to the song, “It’s You I Like,” which the two sang during their initial meeting. “On behalf of millions of children and grown-ups,” Erlanger said, “it’s you I like.” The audience, including a visibly moved Candice Bergen, rose to their feet to give both men a standing ovation.

Following Erlanger’s death in 2007, Hedda Sharapan, an employee with Rogers’s production company, called their poignant scene “authentic” and “unscripted,” and that Rogers often pointed to it as his favorite moment from the series.

Near the end of the original segment in 1980, as Erlanger drives his wheelchair off-camera, Rogers waves goodbye and offers a departing message: “I hope you’ll come back to visit again.”

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