Historic newsreel. British Pathé has uploaded 85,000 historic newsreels to its YouTube channel. The archive is searchable and contains many films documenting wars, cultural events, and disasters. One documents the explosion of the hydrogen-filled Hindenberg over New Jersey. Another has the president of the American Planned Parenthood Federation, Margaret Slee, arguing that women in Europe should stop having babies for 10 years. Under the category of weird newsreels is this one from 1935 featuring the world’s heaviest 3-year-old and a casually cruel narration.
Field of dreams. In honor of a new ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about the Bad Boys, the named bestowed on the Detroit Piston’s basketball team from the late 1980s and early ’90s, the website Grantland devoted a week in April to stories about Detroit. Here’s one about a group of volunteer groundskeepers who groom and protect the playing field of old Tiger Stadium, which was demolished in 2009. It’s become a “field of dreams,” where teams play and fans keep alive memories of the stadium where Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, and Willie Horton played. See the Google Earth image of the field. Links to the other Detroit stories are here.
Naive indeed. In 1934, H.G. Wells travelled to the Soviet Union to talk to Soviet writers. He snagged an interview with Joseph Stalin, which ran as a supplement to the New Statesman in October 1934. Much of the interview reads as a dialogue between Wells, who thinks the United States is headed toward socialism without revolution, and Stalin, who thinks Wells is naive. Here’s Wells winding up the interview: “I cannot yet appreciate what has been done in your country; I only arrived yesterday. But I have already seen the happy faces of healthy men and women and I know that something very considerable is being done here. The contrast with 1920 is astounding.”
The triple play. Maybe you have to be married to—or be— a baseball fan to appreciate Roger Angell’s short piece on the improbability of seeing or taking part in a triple play.