A vintage car is commonly defined as a car built between the start of 1919 and the end of 1930. There is little debate about the start date of the Vintage period—the end of World War I is a nicely defined marker there—but the end date is a matter of a little more debate. The British definition is strict about 1930 being the cut-off, while some American sources prefer 1925 since it is the pre-classic car period as defined by the Classic Car Club of America. Others see the Classic period as overlapping the Vintage period, especially since the Vintage designation covers all vehicles produced in the period while the official Classic definition does not, only including high-end vehicles of the period. Some consider the start of World War II to be the end date of the Vintage period.
The Vintage period in the automotive world was a time of transition. The car started off in 1919 as still something of a rarity, and ended up in 1930 well on the way towards ubiquity; in fact, automobile production at the end of this period was not matched again until the 1950s. During this period, most industrialised nations built a nationwide road system, with the result that towards the end of the period, the ability to negotiate unpaved roads was no longer required.
Cars became much more practical, convenient and comfortable during this period. Car heating was introduced, as was the in-car radio. Antifreeze was introduced, allowing water-cooled cars to be used year-round. Four-wheel braking from a common foot pedal was introduced, as was the use of hydraulically actuated brakes. Power steering was also an innovation of this era. Towards the end of the Vintage era, the system of octane rating of fuel was introduced, allowing comparison between fuels.
During this period, as well as the car adapting, society began to adapt to the car. Drive-in restaurants were introduced, as well as suburban shopping centers, and motels began lining major roads in the United States.
The early anime series that began in Japan as Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (1972-74) aired in the U.S. in two very different versions. For Battle of the Planets (syndication, 1978), much of the violence was excised and the R2-D2-esque robot 7-Zark-7 was added; G-Force (Turner Broadcasting, 1986) was darker in tone and closer to the original Gatchaman. All three series focus on the adventures of five teenagers in bird suits. In Battle they tackle the evil Spectra in “outer space,” although the backgrounds are clearly Earth, where G-Force and Gatchaman are set. Episode 3 illustrates the difference between the series: In Battle, when a whiny little boy gets in the way of a giant mummy attacking an airport, the evil Zoltar warns him away; in Gatchaman, villainous Berg Katse tells the mummy to step on the child. Unrated; suitable for ages 10 up.
From Tatsunoko Productions, the award-winning Japanese animation team that created Speed Racer. Attack of the Space Terrapin – Center Neptune, a world defense base, lies off the West Coast, 900 fathoms beneath the surface of the ocean. There, the precious Vitaluman is mined, an amazing one that renews the depleted soil of Earth and the other planets, and without which, all life would cease to exist. Guarding the base against attack is the invincible, transmutable G-Force: Keyop, Jason, Princess, Tiny, Mark and 7-Zark-7, their robotic protector. When Zark’s scanners pick up a radio-controlled attack monster from Spectra heading for one of the Vitaluman vaults, he’s baffled. Why would anyone want to steel something that’s been given away free? The answer, of course, is Zoltar, who wants to control it, and thereby, the universe. And so begins the cataclysmic Battle of the Planets, with the entire galaxy hanging in the balance. Rescue of the Astronauts – Two astronauts find startling evidence of giant alien bases, underwater on Mars. Returning from their top-secret mission, they mysteriously disappear on re-entry. 7-Zard-7 calls in the G-Force. Their assignment: rescue the astronauts and get the taped evidence. Only problem, the astronauts have been hijacked by the aliens who don’t want anyone to know about their bases, and Zoltar is their leader! G-Force locates their huge underwater headquarters and Mark transmutes into a diver to gain access. Zoltar’s aliens attack with drill-like precision, finally ordering Mark to surrender or never see the astronauts again. Now the G-Force Fiery Phoenix is the only thing that stands between Mark and oblivion.
Otis Ray Redding, Jr. (September 9, 1941 – December 10, 1967) was an influential American deep soul singer, probably best known for his posthumous hit single, “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay.” According to the website of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (where he was inducted in 1989), Redding’s name is “synonymous with the term soul, music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of funky, secular testifying.”
Redding was born in the small town of Dawson, Georgia. At the age of 5, he moved with his family to Macon, Georgia. He sang in the choir of the Vineville Baptist Church, and became somewhat of a local celebrity as a teenager after winning a local Sunday night talent show 15 weeks in a row.
In 1960, Redding began touring the South with Johnny Jenkins and The Pinetoppers, primarily as the group’s driver. That same year he made his first recordings, “She’s All Right” and “Shout Bamalama” with this group under the name “Otis and The Shooters”.
In 1962, Redding made his first real mark in the music business during a Johnny Jenkins session when, during studio time left over, he recorded “These Arms of Mine”, a ballad that he had written. The song became a minor hit on Volt Records, a subsidiary of the renowned Southern soul label Stax, based in Memphis, Tennessee. His manager was a fellow Maconite, Phil Walden (who later founded Capricorn Records). Otis Redding continued to release for Stax/Volt, and built his fan base by extensively touring a live show with support from fellow Stax artists Sam & Dave. Further hits between 1964 and 1966 included “Mr. Pitiful”, “I Can’t Turn You Loose” (which was to become The Blues Brothers entrance theme music), “Try a Little Tenderness” (a remake of the 1930s standard by Harry Woods, Jimmy Campbell, and Reg Connelly , later featured in John Hughes’ film Pretty in Pink), “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones), and “Respect” (later a smash hit for Aretha Franklin).
The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show is the collective name for two separate American television animated series Rocky and His Friends (1959 – 1961) and The Bullwinkle Show (1961 – 1964). Rocky & Bullwinkle enjoyed great popularity during the 1960s. Much of this success was a result of it being targeted towards both children and adults. The zany characters and absurd plots would draw in children, while the clever usage of puns and topical references appealed to the adult demographic. Furthermore, the strengths of the series helped it overcome the fact that it had choppy, limited animation; in fact, some critics described the series as a well-written radio program with pictures.
As Americans observe the annual holiday set aside to honor Martin Luther King, Junior, a new book for young people explores the life and impact of the famous civil rights leader. Don’t Know Much About Martin Luther King Jr. (HarperCollins) is the latest in a series by Kenneth C. Davis, whose previous best sellers include Don’t Know Much About History. In his new book, Mr. Davis uses his trademark question and answer format to illuminate both landmark events and little known incidents from Martin Luther King, Junior’s life.
The famous “I Have a Dream” speech is played and replayed every year on Martin Luther King Day. Kenneth Davis calls the 1963 address a “clarion call for the nation,” but just one of the many achievements for which the Reverend King deserves to be remembered. “I think he’s been frozen in time in that wonderful moment at Washington where he delivers that speech, and there’s so much more to his story. It’s so much more complex, and that’s what I tried to bring to this new book.”
In Don’t Know Much About Martin Luther King Jr., Kenneth Davis tells the story of the minister and activist who worked to bring about massive social change without violence. The Reverend King believed so firmly in the principles he espoused that he refused to strike back even when he was attacked, and he taught his children to do the same.
Kenneth Davis calls him a man “who practiced what he preached. This was an astonishing notion that had never been tried on a mass scale in American history before. Of course Martin Luther King was profoundly influenced by two figures in particular–Thoreau, who wrote about civil disobedience back in the 19th century, and then later on Gandhi, the great leader of India’s non-violent independence movement. They suited very much his own ideas as a Christian of how to change the world through these non-violent techniques.”
Kenneth Davis traces Martin Luther King, Junior’s drive and commitment back to his early years in the southern state of Georgia, where he was born in 1929, first called Michael Luther King. “His father, when young Michael was five years old, went to the Holy Land,” Mr. Davis says, “and had a bit of an epiphany, came back and changed his own name to Martin Luther King in honor of the Protestant reformer Martin Luther from the 1500s, and changed his son’s name as well.”
While the book describes the young Martin Luther King as a typical little boy, who got into his share of mischief, he also showed signs of the charismatic leader he would become. Kenneth Davis says the Reverend King grew up loving language. “And one of his first experiences going away from home was to a young orator’s contest. His father and his grandfather were ministers in a very prominent church in Atlanta, and he was used to hearing them speak. His love of language helped him get into college very early, even though he said he didn’t read very well, only on an eighth grade level. But he was clearly a thinker, a writer and a person who was drawn to not only big words but big ideas.”
Kenneth Davis says the future civil rights leader was first exposed to integration after finishing high school, when he went north to Connecticut to pick tobacco. “He worked alongside white folks, and for the first time in his life he went to eat in restaurants where there was no segregation. He could sit anywhere he liked. When he rode back, he rode on trains that were no longer segregated until he reached Washington, D.C., and then the dining cars would be curtained off. So this was his first contact with a world perhaps he’d read about or heard about, but had never seen for himself. And it had a profound influence on him.”
Martin Luther King, Junior began to rise to public prominence in 1955, with his guiding role in the boycott of segregated buses in Montgomery, Alabama. In the years that followed, he criss-crossed the American South leading protest marches and taking part in sit-in demonstrations. He even went to jail for his actions.
Some of his fellow African Americans complained that his tactics were not radical enough, while others believed he was too aggressive, that civil rights issues could best be decided in court. But Kenneth Davis says television and newspaper images of the Reverend King and his followers profoundly affected American public opinion. “When they saw peaceful demonstrators simply walking across a bridge or trying to ride a bus and being met with dogs and water hoses and water cannons–the viciousness and violence of the response to this essentially non-violent approach I think shocked many Americans into a new sense of reality about what was happening in America. It certainly also shocked the powers-that-be in Washington.”
Kenneth Davis describes Martin Luther King, Junior’s agenda for social change as becoming broader and more revolutionary in his later years. “I think he became more radical in terms of what he was thinking of accomplishing. I don’t think he really planned to change tactics. Dr. King came to see that the problems were not just segregation and racial discrimination but there were real issues of poverty in America that cut across race lines, and he also saw a tremendous connection between discrimination and poverty and the war in Vietnam. And as a non-violent person he came increasingly to oppose the war.”
Martin Luther King, Junior was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. By that time, new laws had been passed that guaranteed African Americans equal access to jobs and voting privileges. Kenneth Davis says today’s young readers might find it hard to imagine a time when such rights were not a way of life in the United States. But if Martin Luther King, Junior were alive today, the author suggests he would still view his country with mixed emotions.
“I think Doctor King would look at the White House and see a black woman as Secretary of State, and he might smile and think, she’s a Republican, but still we’ve come a long way. On the other hand he’d look at the poverty, which was highlighted in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We saw that this is still a problem that deeply devastates a great many people in America. So in many ways we’ve come a long way, but he would probably say we still have a lot of work to do.”
Columbia, South Carolina
We live in a visual age in which news events from around the world appear on televisions, computer screens and even cellular phone screens, sometimes within seconds of occurring. But several decades ago, the only way people could see moving images of events was in newsreels shown in local movie theaters. Many of the early films are lost, but hundreds of hours of such material are being restored and protected at a special library archive at the University of South Carolina. VOA’s Greg Flakus has the story from Columbia, South Carolina.
From around 1911 to the dawn of television in the early 1950s, newsreels provided a window on the world. People around the United States would see these news films when they went to their local theater to be entertained by movies.
“Americans saw visual images of their news only in their theaters and they saw them twice a week,” said Greg Wilsbacher, Director of The University of South Carolina’s Newsfilm Library. “There were five major newsreels a week, two issues a week and people saw those before the feature film that they went [to the theater] to see. At best, you might see five newsreels twice a week that would give you a total of ten different newscasts in a given week in America, in a big city.”
Newsreels really came into their prime with the introduction of sound and moviegoers were able to follow such events as World War II campaigns, even if the battles had happened weeks before they were shown.
Today, people can see video images almost instantly via satellite and digital line connections and there are now millions of professional and amateur photographers around the world shooting video with small digital cameras. But in the early part of the 20th century, images were captured on film using bulky devices that either had to be cranked by hand or operated with simple spring-driven motors. At the archive, Greg Wilsbacher maintains a large collection of old cameras.
“This Bell & Howell 35 millimeter camera was considered portable in its day,” he explained. “It was spring driven. It had no electric motor. It weighs about 10 pounds [4.5 kilograms] and when the magazine is filled it can roll for a little over two minutes.”
Newsreel cameramen went around the world to cover events. Sometimes they were able to be in the right place at the right time to capture something extraordinary. Wilsbacher says this happened to Fox Movietone News cameraman Al Brick when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941.
“He happened to be riding into Pearl Harbor with a friend of his who was an officer on the USS Arizona the morning of the attack and was on site with his camera equipment when the bombs were falling and was there to document a lot of the carnage,” noted Wilsbacher.
Nearly 30 years ago, the company then known as Twentieth Century Fox donated its Fox-Movietone newsreel collection to the University of South Carolina with the understanding that it would be restored, protected and archived for public use.
Greg Wilsbacher says his archive is working with the Library of Congress to digitize every frame of the old film at very high resolution. “That will allow us, in the future, if we needed to, to take all those digital frames and reprint them back on to a modern film stock if we needed to and run it through a projector,” he explained. “We could show prints of films in a theater even if the film is already decayed, because we made such high-quality digital scans of it. It will also allow us to distribute the material in very high quality over the Internet.”
The university provides hundreds of hours of video copies for viewing at its facility and puts many shorter clips on its Web site. Higher quality copies are available for a fee to professional filmmakers and broadcast organizations. What once served as a window on the world’s current events now serves as a window into history.
© 2008 VOA/
, New Delhi
The Indian Hindi language movie industry – popularly known as Bollywood – is stepping up its fight against film piracy both at home and overseas. As Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi, Bollywood films lose billions of dollars because of infringement of copyright laws.
In a busy market in Central Delhi, pirated CDs and DVDs of popular Hindi movies produced by the Mumbai-based Bollywood film industry are freely available. Ask a shop owner for DVDs of the latest Hindi movie hits and he produces them from under the counter. A quick bargain drives down the price from two dollars to just a dollar and a half.
Infringement of copyright laws is rampant in India, where Bollywood’s colorful stories, peppered with song and dance, are a rage. A recent study estimates that India’s entertainment industry loses $4 billion, and 800,000 jobs, each year, because of piracy.
These losses are not unique to India. Piracy is also a growing problem in Western countries, like the United States and Britain, which are home to large Indian populations. For these people, Bollywood films provide an important cultural link with their homeland.
Film Federation of India Secretary Supran Sen says tens of thousands of people in these countries buy illegal DVDs of Hindi films. He says these are easily available in small retail stores, usually owned by Indians. “There are certain pockets where we have a sizable population of Indians, but then there are no theatrical releases there,” Sen explained. “I do not know what is the reason. Those Indians would definitely like to see the films. So, in that scenario, they are bound to take certain films, certain cassettes which may not be legally released there.”
The Western markets have become so big that Bollywood film producers are basing some of their biggest blockbusters on Indians living overseas. In Mumbai, Komal Nahata is publisher of a Bollywood trade magazine called “Film Information.” He says Hindi movies casting top stars earn big money in countries such as the United States and Great Britain.
“In some cases, the overseas market is almost as huge as the Indian market,” Nahata noted. “Which means theatrical revenues – 50 percent of the revenues come from India and 50 percent sometimes from the overseas circuit, alone.” The huge scale of the problem has prompted Bollywood to step up the fight against piracy both at home and overseas. On a recent visit to Washington, Indian filmmakers urged American enforcement agencies to help plug the losses suffered by them.
An advocacy group, the U.S.-India Business Council, and American film companies are collaborating with Bollywood to combat piracy by raising awareness of the problem with American authorities. And, as Hollywood promises to help Bollywood’s efforts to curb piracy in the United States, Bollywood says it will do the same for American movies in India, which also lose revenue because of piracy.
In India, Bollywood is urging authorities to take more stringent action against copyright violators. New Delhi based lawyer Chander Lall represents the American Motion Pictures Association in India. He says, a decade ago, enforcement agencies treated piracy more as an economic rather than a criminal offense, and action against offenders was slow. But he says that is changing.
“They have realized that copyright piracy has almost 800 percent profit margins,” Lall said. “So all elements who are indulging in heinous crimes are all now dealing with pirated software and pirating copyright works. So there is a change. The magistrates are getting more sensitive to the fact that this is a very serious crime. Police is getting sensitized to it. As the industry raises its voice it is being heard by different elements. So, it is changing, slowly but surely.”
But Bollywood wants faster change. It is asking authorities to create a separate police and judicial system to enforce copyright laws in India, because it says India’s judicial system moves too slowly to be effective. Bollywood is the world’s most prolific film industry, producing more than 800 films every year. Its global audience is estimated at 3.5 billion people. But, is probably much larger, if the audiences for pirated movies are also taken into account.