Newsreels 1936-1939

release sheet
The quotes in these descriptions are from the Universal release sheets that were sent to theaters twice weekly.
This March 18, 1936, sheet is a xerox copy in the National Archives.
1936/02/12 - Red Cross Unit Bombed In Ethiopia (1) "Rain of Bombs Kills And Maims Red Cross Workers (Photographed by Howard Winner, Ace Universal Newsreel Cameraman) - Dolo, Ethiopia: Exclusive, authentic pictures graphically show the flaming terror hurled against a Red Cross field unit near Nugelli by Italian airmen. Bombs and machine-gun fire kill and cripple Swedish doctors and their Ethiopian assistants. Scores of wounded soldiers die as the raiders ignore Red Cross flags. These scenes are among the most amazing ever made by a newsreel cameraman." - shows cameraman turning crank "These exclusive pictures were filmed at great personal peril . . ." (silent partial newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 8-432 National Archives, College Park MD

1936/03/18 - 40.000 March In Gala Parade On St. Patrick's Day (1) "New York City: Forty thousand sons and daughters of Erin march up Fifth Avenue in a stirring revival of the annual St. patrick's Day parade. Half a million Gothamites watch the tremendous spectacle from packed curbstones and vantage points in high buildings." (2) Jafsie Back Home For Quiz - "New York City: Dr. Condon, famous Lindbergh case witness, returns from a sudden Central American vacation to face further questioning, by Governor Hoffman, in the Executive's struggle to sift Hauptmann's actual part in the horrible crime." (3) "Boy Finds Piece of Meteor that Startled New York, at Malaga, NJ" (4) "Hibbing, Minnesota: "Pupils Gor to School in Glass House (5) "Il Duce Puts Italian Children through Vivid Gas-Attack Drill, at Turin, Italy (6) "Ice James Threaten Country Towns and Bangor, Maine" (7) "'Iron-Headed man' makes Little Impression on New Safety Glass tested in New York City (8) "Air-Line Hostesses Pass Rigid Tests at San Francisco, California (9) "Champion Trotting Horses Limber Up for New Season at Seminole park, Florida (10) "Fantastic Wrestling Bout Rouses Fans at Seattle, Washington (11) "Terrific Floods Sweep Citis In Western Penna. (Special Release: To be Shipped Separately) - Pittsburgh PA: Rapidly-rising water covers fifty blocks in the heart of the city, causing damages mounting to $10,000,000 as the menace of inundation hits a wide area. Communication lines broken, isolating Lewiston and Johnstown where a repetition of the horrible disaster of 1889 becomes a terrifying possibility to 66,000 residents. Scenes of horror multiply as swirling water crushes all barriers, leaving untold thousands homeless or unable to resume their jobs." (complete newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 8-442 National Archives, College Park MD

1936/05/11 - Giant Dirigible Sets Record (1) "Lakehurst, NJ: Humming over metropolitan New York in the dawn, the huge dirigible 'Hindenburg' reaches her base at the Naval Air Station with shining honors for the fastest crossing of the North Atlantic ever made by a commercial passenger aircraft. The tremendous Zeppelin carries more than a hundred persons across the sea, many of them of international fame. Brought safely to land, the ship is lodged in a waiting hangar as thousands upon thousands of sightseers gather from near and far to view the giant balloon." scenes of Hindenburg arriving over New York, Nazi swastika on tail, man speaks. (some parts silent in this partial newsreel without narration) SOURCE: 200 Universal 8-457 National Archives, College Park MD

1936/05/13 - Vet Revives 'Dead' Scottie (1) "New York City: During one of the most unusual stomach operations ever performed on a dog, Scotch terrier Sandy starts a journey to Limbo, but a quick-acting veterinary brings the animal back to life and later makes a successful blood transfusion on the dog." (partial newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 8-458 National Archives, College Park MD

1936/06/24 - Democrats Cheer (1) "Philadelphia, PA: Senator Barkley fires the first big gun of the Democratic convention in his keynote speech. With the Roosevelt-Garner ticket sure, the big job ahead is the Democratic plank and to find substitutions for the legislation nullified by the Supreme Court should the ticket be successful in the fall elections - which augurs to be one of the bitterest fights of recent years." sound of cheering and Barkley speaking (some parts silent in this partial newsreel without narration) SOURCE: 200 Universal 8-470 National Archives, College Park MD

1936/09/09 - Terrified Civilians Flee Air Raid (1) "Cordoba, Spain: Government bombers drone through the blue over the rebel-held city, sending civilians racing in terror for cellars and other hiding places as they loose a rain of bombs. Soldiers dig trenches in the streets, fearing the Loyalist advance. - SAN SEBASTIAN: Bitter fighting between Government militia and insurgents continues, with the Republicans shown capturing a Fascist sniper. - PAMPLONA: The rebels put tiny children in black shirts and teach them to march with older girls. - PUERTO CRISTO, MALLORCA: A column of Catalan volunteers lands on teh historic Mediterranean island to attempt its capture." scenes of Spanish Civil War (some French narration in this partial newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 8-492 National Archives, College Park MD

1936/11/07 - Roosevelt Landslide (1) "Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democratic party carry forty-six states, losing only little Maine and Vermont, in the mightiest election victory scored by any political organization since the triumph of james Monroe in 1820. Dramatic pictures show outstanding events of an exciting day, with the President voting at Hyde Park, N. Y., and later receiving the cheers and congratulations of his neighbors, Gov. Landon casts his vote at Independence, Kan. Tremendous throngs jam Times Square, New York, celebrating the victory but others 'pay off' election bets in queer and amusing fashion." (some parts silent in this partial newsreel without narration) SOURCE: 200 Universal 8-508 National Archives, College Park MD

1936/11/09 - Roosevelt Welcomed Back At Capital (1) "Washington, DC: President Roosevelt receives an enthusiastic reception as he returns to the city following his triumphant re-election. The Chief Executive thanks the Nation for its support, through a newsreel interview." some sound of FDR speaking (2) "European engineers try out an automobile with startling new suspension features which enable the machine to disregard the smooth pavement of the highways and cut across ditches, hills and even cliffs in a cross-country dash." (some sound in this partial newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 8-509 National Archives, College Park MD

1937/03/20 - Special Release - 425 Children Die As Gas Explosion Shatters School (1) "New London, Texas tragedy - 425 Children Die As Gas Explosion Shatters School in center of rich East Texas oil field, caused by gas pockets in school basement." (2) "Thousands Weep As School Blast Victims Are Buried" SOURCE: 200 Universal 9-547, National Archives, College Park MD

1937/05/10 - Special Release - Zeppelin Explodes Scores Dead (1) "Lakehurst, NJ: Thirty-five persons die and scores of others are injured as the mighty dirigible explodes three hundred feet over the landing field at the end of her first voyage of the season from Europe. A terrific burst of flame engulfs the stern of the ship and spreads with the rapidity of lightning to the bow. The inferno of blazing hydrogen gas cremates all living beings in its path, as the twisted skeleton of the balloon settles quickly to the ground. Rescue crews brave death to save sixty-three persons, some of them horribly burned." scenes of Hindenburg burning with narration. SOURCE: 200 Universal 9-561 National Archives, College Park MD

1937/05/12 - Newsreel intro with music (1) Remarkable New Aid To Navigation (Exclusive) "San Antonio, TX: navigators on sea or land, or in the air, now can tell their position in less than a minute, no matter what atmospheric conditions may prevail. The Hagner Position Finder does away with logarithms and the old, difficult process of navigation." (2) One-Man Band - "New York City: Elmer Trudgen, a Canadian farmboy, shows Gotham that the One-Man Band is not langer imagination. He has a contraption that enables him to play the piano, violin, guitar, harmonica, bass drum, snare drum, triangle, wood blocks, cymbals, cowbells and chime - all at once!" (3) "London Busmen Go On Strike - "London, England: On the very eve of Coronation festivities, busmen in the British capital knock transportation into a cocked hat by going on strike. The streets look deserted, and would-be-bus-passengers wear out show leather and ancient pavements." (4) Professor Invents Sleeve Protector - "Waukesha, Wisconsin: Dear old Prof. I. M. Nutts is in again, with a new device to take the viciousness out of the most untamed piece of butter that ever disgraced a table, or smeared your sleeves. You can reach over the oleo in perfect safety with the Prof's new gadget." (some parts silent in this partial newsreel without narration) SOURCE: 200 Universal 9-562 National Archives, College Park MD

1937/05/18 - Special Release - The Coronation of King George VI (1) "SEE the Archbishop Place the Crown Upon the Monarch's Head! Tremendous Throngs at World's Greatest Pageant! Britain's Peers in Glamorous Array! Premiers of the World-Wide Empire! The Members of the Royal Family! The Gilded Coach of State in its Triumphal Procession! The Galaxy of Glittering Military Uniforms in the Big Parade! Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Famed Landmarks! The Whole Glorious Ceremony! SEE the Actual Rites in the Historic Westminster Abbey! The Terrific National Enthusiasm for the New Sovereigns! Thousands of Troops, Mounted and on Foot! Scores of Bands, Playing Martial Music! The Brilliant Uniforms of Envoys from Foreign Nations! The Age-Old Trappings of British Royalty! Every Angle of the Big Show!" (complete newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 9-563 National Archives, College Park MD

1937/10/04 - G-Man Hoover Blasts Lenient Parole Boards (1) "Washington, DC: J. Edgar Hoover, chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, attacks the methods of lenient parole boards in releasing known criminals." sound of J. Edgar Hoover speaking (2) "Quantico, VA: Machine-guns rattle as Federal agents 'raid' a prop gangster hideout." sound of pistol firing range, machine guns at night. (some parts silent in this partial newsreel without narration) SOURCE: National Archives, College Park MD

1937/10/06 - U.S. Faces War Says Roosevelt (1) "Chicago: In a ringing speech, President Roosevelt warns of a steadily-increasing danger of armed conflict menacing the United States. Without naming any nation as responsible, the Chief Executive finds a threat in present attacks from the air on civilians, and ships attacked and sunk by submarines in time of peace and without cause or notice. Gravely, the President asserts that if such things can happen in other parts of the world, America cannot feel secure for long. Universal Newsreel presents the President's speech as a historic document, and gives with it a dramatic view of incidents of aggression which called forth Mr. Roosevelt's impassioned warning." scenes of parade outdoors, sound of FDR speaking outdoors under tent, silent scenes of war inserted into FDR's speech, FDR says I Hate War. (partial newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 9-604 National Archives, College Park MD

1937/12/12 - Norman Alley's Bombing of USS Panay Special Issue - Universal Newsreel intro and copyright notice (1) Reel 1 - "Nanking" (2) Reel 2 - "Uncensored!!! Unedited!!! The U.S.S. Panay Bombing in its entirey - exactly as photographed!" (this newsreel special is 22 minutes long, with music and narration) SOURCE: 111M.506 National Archives, College Park MD

1938/04/04 - World-Wide News Events (1) FDR Sees Homestead Project - "Pine Mountain Valley, Georgia: The President wishes some 'scoffers' at Government aid to agriculture could share his inspection of the Pine Mountain Valley Homestead, built to aid sharecroppers." FDR arrives in car at Homestead, sound of FDR speech from car, facing away from camera toward crowd (no pictures of the Homestead project in this partial newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 10-655 National Archives, College Park MD

1938/04/20 - World-Wide News Events (1) FDR Pleads For Democracy - "Washington, DC: Asking for important new appropriations for the relief of unemployment, the President points out that Democracy has disappeared in many countries because of weak, confused Government." scenes of FDR speaking Fireside Chat #12. (partial newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 10-659 National Archives, College Park MD

1938/06/22 - World of Sports (1) "New York, NY: Louis and Schmeling weigh in before a big crowd at Madison Square Garden on the eve of their sensational one-round fight in which the Brown Bomber knocked the challenger down repeatedly until the bout was stopped." scenes of Joe Louis and Max Schmeling at weight check for boxing match. (some sound, but Louis does not speak in this partial newsreel without narration) SOURCE: 200 Universal 10-678 National Archives, College Park MD

1938/06/27 - World-Wide News Events (1) "Washington, DC: In his 13th 'Fireside Chat,' President Roosevelt denies that he, as President, will enter the primary fight, but asserts his right as party Chief to speak in defense of the liberal Democratic platiform." scenes of FDR speaking Fireside Chat #13. (partial newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 10-679 National Archives, College Park MD

1938/07/04 - Blue and Gray At 75th Anniversary Of Great Battle (1) "Gettysburg, PA: Before 150,000 persons, President Roosevelt dedicates the Eternal Light Peace Memorial on the famous battlefield during the impressive and stirring 75-year Reunion, attended by 1,800 Civil War Veterans, both Blue and Gray." only sound of brief FDR speech. (2) World-Wide New Events - King Sees Naval Display "Weymouth, England: Colorful and impressive fleet maneuvers, demonstrating Britain's 'Rule of the Waves,' are staged for George VI, who witnesses the thrilling war games from the Flagship 'Nelson.'" (some parts silent in this partial newsreel without narration) SOURCE: 200 Universal 10-681 National Archives, College Park MD

1938/07/06 - World-Wide News Events (1) "Burbank, CA: Howard Hughes, wealthy aviator, takes off for New York in his 'round the world' plane. New York, NY: A big crowd welcomes the sportsman pilot when he flies in from the Coast." some sound when Hughes briefly speaks. (partial newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 10-682 National Archives, College Park MD

1938/09/19 - All Nations Shaken By War Crisis (1) "Washington, DC: In the face of a possible new world conflict abroad, Pres. Roosevelt summons his cabinet officers for a conference on the European crisis. (2) Paris, France: Premier Daladier and Foreign Minister Bonnet fly to London, where they and Prime Minister Chamberlain move to exert pressure on Czechoslovakia to grant Hitler's demands of Sudeten territory annexation. (3) England: Braemer, Scotland, King George cuts short a visit at the colorful Scottish games to rush home for conference with his 'War' Cabinet. (4) Germany: Goose-stepping soldiers march toward the Czech border as 'incidents' arise to threaten peace. Italy: Mussolini exorts his followers and declares his nation will side with Germany, war or no war! (5) Russia: The Soviet Republic, 'key' factor in the crisis, displays its military might as a warning to the fascist bloc. (6) Czechoslovakia: Between the 'fying pan' of British and French pressure, and the 'fire' of Nazi aggression, Pres. Benes takes a firm stand against annexation." scenes include White House, barrage balloons, Mussolini. (some parts silent in this partial newsreel without narration) SOURCE: 200 Universal 10-703 National Archives, College Park MD

1938/10/31 - Radio Station's 'Attack By Mars' Panics Thousands (1) "New York, NY: Thousands of radio listeners throughout the U. S. are frightened into mass hysteria by a dramatization of H. G. Wells' old thriller, 'The War of the Worlds,' as staged by orson Welles, young actor-manager." sound of Orson Welles speaking at press conference. (2) King Visits Ill Youngsters - "London, England: Inmates at the Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond Street get a great thrill when King George and Queen Elizabeth visit the institution's new buildings and stay for a real tea party as guests of the youthful patients." (partial newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 10-715 National Archives, College Park MD

1938/11/02 - Light Tanks Show Their Prowess In Battle Maneuvers (1) "Fort Meade, MD: Mechanical monsters of the 66th U. S. Infantry (Light Tanks) sweep everything before them as they advance through smoke and shell fire to the attack. A thrilling sight, from daylight to dark, as the 'battle wagons' roll along." (2) Seabiscuit Wins match Race - "Pimlico, MD: The horse racing classic of the Century! War Admiral, the favorite, is beaten by three lengths as C. S. Howard's West Coast wonder horse takes the sensational match race that thrills 40,000 fans." (some parts silent in this partial newsreel without narration) SOURCE: 200 Universal 10-716 National Archives, College Park MD

1938/11/07 - Pres. Roosevelt Urges National Unity (1) "Hyde Park, NY: Pres. Roosevelt, in a vigorous speech on the eve of elections, warns the nation that in these troubled times, democracy must be a positive force in order to maintain liberty against military aggression abroad." sound of FDR speaking. (partial newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 10-717 National Archives, College Park MD

1938/11/09 - Mayor La Guardia opens Red Cross drive. (partial newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 10-718 National Archives, College Park MD

1938/11/16 - FDR Leads Nation In Protest Against Nazi Persecutions (1) "Washington, DC: Pres. Roosevelt follows up a statement deploring anti-Jewish rioting in Germany by calling Ambassador Hugh Wilson home to discuss the situation." (no sound of FDR) (2) "Palo Alto, CA: Former Pres. Herbert Hoover expresses indignation at the 'brutal intolerance' of the Nazis and predicts their 'moral isolation.' (3) Father Robert I. Gannon, President of Fordham University and (4) Methodist-Episcopal Bishop Edwin H. Hughes raise their voices against the outbreaks of violence and hate." sound of Hoover and Gannon and Hughes speaking in the partial newsreel. SOURCE: 200 Universal 10-720 National Archives, College Park MD

1939/05/15 - King and Queen Leave Britain On American Tour (1) "London, England: Impressive scenes as King George and Queen Elizabeth leave London on the start of their trip to Canada and the U.S. Huge throngs jam the dock at Portsmouth as their majesties bid farewell to family and gov't officials and board the HMS Empress of Australia." (partial newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 11-771 National Archives, College Park MD

1939/05/22 - Ancient Street Dances (1) "Helston, England: Gay youngsters and colorfully-dressed beaux and belles hail the advent of Maytime with old-time dances in the streets, while throngs look on. Gayety and color, an attribute for strife and trouble abroad!" (2) King and Queen Wildly Welcomed On Canadian Tour -"Quebec: Impressive scenes as King George and Queen Elizabeth begin their royal tour of the Dominion! His Majesty, at a state dinner at the Chateau Frontenac, extends his official greetings to his subjects. Montreal: The royal couple is wildly hailed by thousands of loyal Canadian children at a huge stadium fete as a climax to a stirring trip through the city. Ottowa: The special train brings them to thrilling ceremonies and the trooping of colors at Government House. later the Queen dedicates the cornerstone of a new Supreme Court Building." scenes of King speaking; Montreal: crowd cheers King and Queen in car; Ottawa: railroad train arrives, crowd cheers, King reviews troops, King and Queen ride in carriage, Queen waves from window, troops march in parade, Queen speaks. (partial newsreel) SOURCE: 200 Universal 11-773 National Archives, College Park MD

1939/09/04 - Special Release - Europe At War! (1) "Dramatic scenes of a new conflict that may envelop the world in flames! Hitler's war machine rolls into Poland, encouraged to strike by the new pact with Stalin's 'Red' Russia. With Danzig seized, Polish infantry and cavalry rally to the defense of their homeland. Italy remains in the background, while Nazis pour into the Siegfried Line to stem a possible Allied thrust. England: Tense eleventh-hour scenes in London, as Prime Minister Chamberlain declares a state of war exists! Troops mobilize and iar raid defenses are manned to prevent bombing attacks. Thousands of helpless children are evacuated to the countryside! France: The French war machine swings into high gear as France follows the lead of Britain in claring war! Bus-loads of troops leave the city enroute to the 'Front.' Eight million men under arms, ready to strike! The Maginot Line ready to repulse any attack!" (no sound) (2) Pres. Roosevelt Pledges To Keep U.S. Out Of War - "Washington, DC: President Roosevelt, his peace efforts failed, appeals for national unity in the crisis and pledges his fight for neutrality!" scenes of newsreel cameras and radios, sound of FDR speaking in the partial newsreel without narration SOURCE: 200 Universal 11-803 National Archives, College Park MD

1939/09/18 - Welles Off To Panama (1) "Brooklyn, NY: The Underscretary of State sails on the SS Santa Clara, with others in the American delegation to attend the 21-Nation conference at Panama on hemispheric solidarity and neutrality action in the new war." (sound of Sumner Welles speaking in the partial newsreel without narration) SOURCE: 200 Universal 11-807 National Archives, College Park MD

1939/09/20 - Roosevelt Urges Congress (1) scenes of interior of Congress in session, sound of FDR speaking to Congress to end the arms embargo in the partial newsreel without narration. SOURCE: 200 Universal 11-808 National Archives, College Park MD

This DVD51 includes 2 hours of Universal Newsreels reproduced from reference cassettes at the National Archives, College Park MD, and is available from the University of San Diego Bookstore.
revised 2/17/05 by Steven Schoenherr | Universal Newsreels on DVD | download Quicktime plugin