Topic: 1930s

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The roller skating scene from Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times

In the classic 1936 film Modern Times, silent film star Charlie Chaplin plays a poor American worker during the industrialization of the Machine Age. A bit into the film, he acquires a job as a night watchman in a dep...

Eighty Years of New York City, Then and Now

From The New Yorker, enjoy this split-screen juxtaposition of New York City in the 1930s and today. Cross the Brooklyn Bridge, tour Central Park, see huge differences in midtown and Times Square, get a glimpse at Harl...

Charlie Chaplin & the Billows Feeding Machine: Modern Times (1936)

In this clip from the classic 1936 film Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin is an assembly line worker struggling to live in a society driven by the industrialization of the Machine Age. While on his lunch break, his Tramp ...

The Mills Brothers: Swing It, Sister (1934)

Donald Mills, Harry Mills, Herbert Mills, and John Mills: The Mills Brothers perform Swing It, Sister in the 1934 film Strictly Dynamite. Note the excellent mouth trumpet action, a jazz-era vocal technique that ...

Viola Smith Drums with Frances Carroll & Her Coquettes (1939)

Viola Smith Drums with Frances Carroll & Her Coquettes (1939). The number: Snake Charmer.  Smith was born in 1912, and just after celebrating her 100th birthday, she sat down with Tom To...

Norman McLaren’s Spook Sport (1939)

"Poet of animation" Norman McLaren’s Spook Sport (1939), set to Camille Saint-Saëns’ Danse macabre (1874), which has a fascinating back story: It started out in 1872 as an art song for voice and piano with a French t...

Nice Work If You Can Get It – Fred Astaire on drums

Fred Astaire plays (and dances to) Nice Work If You Can Get It in an iconic scene from 1937’s A Damsel in Distress. This was shot in one continuous take. There are more classics and dancing in the archives. Th...

16mm Kodachrome film of New York City from 1939

File under the 1930s, 16mm Kodachrome film from 1939 in New York City by French tourist Jean Vivier. 

How the differential gear works and why we need them in our cars

Around the Corner is a great 1930s video that clearly describes how the differential gear works and why we need them in our cars. Bonus: motorcycles ride in formation to victorious band music.  h/t Kottke.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – Let Yourself Go

Iconic team Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance to Irving Berlin’s Let Yourself Go in Follow The Fleet (1936). Updated video link. Watch more tap dancing videos on this site.

Oskar Fischinger’s Optical Poem

Optical Poem, an abstract piece of stop-motion history, was made in 1938 by German-born Oskar Fischinger, an avant-garde animator, filmmaker and painter. The familiar music is Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No...

The Old Mill, a Walt Disney Silly Symphony (1937)

The Old Mill, the ground-breaking, Academy Award winning Walt Disney Silly Symphonies cartoon from 1937. Like many of the later Silly Symphonies, The Old Mill was a testing-ground for advanced animation techniques. M...

To Spring (1936)

To Spring, a Harman and Ising cartoon made in 1936 for Metro Goldwyn Mayer. The colors. The rhymes and music. The saga of a new season. The imagination... Watch more cartoons and more videos abo...

British Pathé: The World’s First Beatboxing Champion in 1938

From British Pathé, The World’s First Beatboxing Champion… in 1938... sort of beat-boxing anyways. Also note the mouth trumpeting and big string bass impression. Watch more videos with the mouth trumpet...

The Dynasphere – British Pathé

Oh, British Pathé! You and this Dynasphere are both awesome. The kid should definitely see how crazy this vehicle is! From wikipedia:  The Dynasphere was a monowheel electric vehicle invent...

The classic mirror scene from The Marx Bros’ Duck Soup (1933)

From 1933, the classic mirror scene from The Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup. (A great DIY comedy activity, too!)  Thanks, @MichaelGTV.

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