I know I went on and on and on about the fascinating Iris Barry in my last post. This post will also participate in the For the Love of Film blogathon—but in a less long-winded way.
Thinking about Iris Barry’s passion for film reminded me that I have been lucky enough to know several people who have put their passion to work in preservation. I thought I’d mention three of them (briefly, I promise!). One of them has an event coming up that should appeal to the film folk reading this. (I’m sure many of you know about it already.)
1. My late honorary godmother, Dagny Johnson, zealously pursued short and long films about Paris for her film festival in the 1960s and 1970s, Paris en Films.
She understood the race against time involved in finding and saving films of all sorts. I have seldom seen her happier than she was the day on which she announced that one of her contacts had found a film about the French resistance in a gypsy camp—in perfect condition. I’d love to have half of her knowledge of French film. (I wouldn’t mind her personal charm, either!)
Dagny Johnson in Cuba in 1950 with a mysterious stranger (Courtesy of Eric Johnson)
2. My former colleague Jane Klain in the Research Services division of the Paley Center for Media in New York is a bloodhound when it comes to finding old television programs that were once considered lost—particularly when those programs involve her great love, American musical theater. I love watching Jane work and listening to her enthusiasm when she is on the trail of a television program. She is one of Manhattan’s unsung heroines.
This 1959 production of "What Makes Sammy Run?" was one of Jane's TV finds.
3. Finally, my graduate-school pal Dan Streible at New York University organizes a biennial Orphan Film Symposium. The next one will take place in April.
The symposium finds, celebrates, and helps preserve films that have no commercial homes. (Dan has a much better definition than this on the Orphan site!) In it Dan brings together scholars and enthusiasts who recognize the aesthetic, historical, and cultural value of diverse orphan films.
Dan’s orphan metaphor is perfect for preservation. It indicates the ways in which these films have been cast adrift as well as the moral imperative for people to help save and protect them.
- Dan and Friend (Courtesy of NYU)
Dagny, Jane, and Dan, I salute you and the other wonderful film and television preservationists in my life (hi, Mike!).
In addition to attending the Orphan Film Symposium you can show your support for preservation by donating to the National Film Preservation Foundation. The NFPF is giving away four DVD sets to donors chosen in a random drawing this week. Here’s the link to donate.
And of course please do visit some of the other bloggers who have spent at least part of this week writing For the Love of Film. The blogathon is sponsored by Ferdy on Films and the Self-Styled Siren, who hope to raise awareness of, and funds for, the NFPF.
Preservation, Tinky Style: Peach Jam
I’m not a person who preserves film or television professionally. I’m more likely to save vegetables or fruit.
In case you’d like to contribute to food preservation as well as film preservation, here’s a simple peach jam recipe. Spice it up a little if you like with some crystallized ginger—or color and flavor it with a few raspberries. This is the basic formula.
I know peaches aren’t in season for most of my readers right now, but if you’d like to cheat a little you may certainly use unsweetened frozen peaches. Be sure to defrost the peaches before cooking and to adjust the recipe proportionately to fit the volume of peaches you have. You can’t really go wrong with fresh jam on the table.
4 cups peach slices or peaches
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 pat butter
In a 4-quart nonreactive pot combine the peaches, 2 cups of the sugar, and the lemon juice. Let the mixture sit for an hour or so to allow the peaches to juice up.
Cook the fruit over low heat until tender. Add the remaining sugar and butter, and cook rapidly until thick, stirring frequently. The jam is ready when it sheets off a cold, stainless-steel spoon. Remove any foam you see (there shouldn’t be too much, thanks to the butter). Stir the jam for 5 minutes before you ladle it into sterilized jars; this keeps the fruit from rising to the top of the jars when cooled. Process in a boiling-water bath for 5 minutes.
If you don’t want to be bothered processing the jam, just put it in the sterilized jars and keep it in the refrigerator. Serve with toast, biscuits, or scones.
Makes about 4 cups.
Tags: Dagny Johnson, Dan Streible, Film Preservation, For the Love of Film Blogathon, Jane Klain, National Film Preservation Foundation, Orphan Film Symposium, Peach Jam