Last Summer, I discovered the Prelinger Archives. The shorter films they have on that site for free (like this one, for example) fit perfectly into a survey lecture. I downloaded many from there and the Library of Congress and started using them to illustrate points I made in class already.
By the time you get to the 1960s or so, the number and quality of films you can get from those places drops off considerably. Where could I find more short movies, I thought. YouTube was the answer. The wealth of good historical primary source material on YouTube is really stunning. Take just the 1960s, for example. I have my survey students reading David Remnick’s King of the World, so I showed them this:
I had been describing this ad in lecture for years:
Now I could show it. Boy did LBJ have an ugly voice!
And what better way to describe Hippies than by showing this?:
Funny thing, though – I wanted to show a good Ronald Reagan speech to illustrate his communications skills, but I couldn’t find one. Every other clip on YouTube seemed to be these rather cloying memorials from the time he died.
Isn’t there a technologically-talented conservative out there who can post a couple of minutes of “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” for me? I’d do it myself, but I don’t have the footage.