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Moving Images

The Center houses a large collection of moving images in film, video, and digital formats. The largest portion comes from the KCRA Film Collection. The raw news footage and edited programs date from the late 1950s and have been widely used in documentaries and programs seen on public and cable television, news broadcasts, and at film festivals. Other major video and film collections include the Alexander Media Services, Inc., a local production company of programs and advertising, and multimedia artist and Sacramento City College professor Darrell Forney.

KCRA Film Collection

Containing over nine million feet of 16mm news film, the KCRA Film Collection documents the work of Sacramento's NBC television affiliate from 1957 to 1982. The collection has been licensed for use in such documentaries as Eyes on the Prize, Chicano!, Berkeley in the Sixties, Fight in the Fields, and America's War on Poverty since its donation to the Center in 1978. While the early footage is limited, coverage of newsworthy events expanded considerably in the 1960s. Noted for their in-depth political coverage, KCRA was the first California station to have a Capitol news bureau. The bulk of the collection contains day-to-day news stories – politics, crime, local events, sports, and human interest stories – occurring in northern California and the Sacramento region

In addition to daily news coverage, KCRA filmed travelogues, specials, documentaries, consumer advocacy investigations, and public service features that aired separately. The station originated the concept of reporters traveling the world to film stories on the everyday life of other cultures, including filming a travelogue series that documented primitive tribes in Africa and South America. Like many local television stations, KCRA staff also produced commercials for local and regional businesses.

Few film archives cover both regional and national news stories, thus making the KCRA Film Collection remarkable in its depth and scope. The recorded footage provides a unique look into a dramatic time period in California.

The following list is suggestive of the subject matter in the KCRA Film Collection:

  • Presidential campaigns from 1964 through 1980
  • Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign and assassination in 1968
  • Richard Nixon's campaign for governor in 1962
  • Day-to-day coverage of the administrations of Governors Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, Ronald Reagan, and Jerry Brown
  • Day-to-day coverage of the State Assembly and Senate starting in 1962
  • Urban race riots, including the 1966 riots in Oak Park
  • University campus unrest and the anti-war movement in the 1960s and 1970s
  • Black Panthers at the California State Capitol
  • Free Speech Movement
  • César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, the United Farm Workers and the farm labor movement
  • Alaskan oil reserves development
  • Zodiac Killer
  • Patty Hearst and the SLA kidnapping
  • Charles Manson interview with reporter Mike Boyd in 1972
  • The first heart transplant performed in the U.S. at Stanford University Hospital

Currently, the KCRA Film Collection is not searchable through the CSH catalog. However, some of the most frequently requested footage has already been transferred to archival formats. A Video Archive Masters Subject Catalog of what has been transferred is available here. The Center hopes in the near future to have a basic search capability for our patrons. Please check back periodically.

For more information about service and licensing fees, film transfers, and subject searches, please contact the Senior Archivist.

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