San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive
|George Moscone||Joan Baez||Coretta King||Edison T. Uno|
Established in 1982 by Helene Whitson, this unique moving image collection presents sixty years of social history and cultural revolution in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over 4000 hours of local newsfilm, documentaries and other programs have been donated to the J. Paul Leonard Library by broadcasters, production companies and private individuals, to be preserved as an academic resource.
CBS 5's Eye on the Bay aired a show called 'From the Archives' on February 3rd 2012, which reviewed our collection and work. KQED radio broadcast an item about our finding 'lost' newsfilm collections on December 18th 2012. KNTV also aired a Bay Area Proud show about the TV Archive on January 15th 2013. KFAI Radio (Twin Cities) aired a discussion about the sheer volume of work involved in digitizing our collections on February 19th, 2013, in a show called Documenting Black History in the Digital AGE.
Our mission is to help enable two of the Library's key strategic goals:
- "Preserving cultural heritage though our unique primary source materials."
- "Promoting, supporting and encouraging the transfer and sharing of intellectual and creative resources locally, regionally and internationally."
Visits to the TV Archive are by appointment only. Please contact the resident film archivist Alex Cherian with all research and general enquiries:
San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive, J. Paul Leonard Library, Room 460K, 1630 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132. Tel: 415-405-5565 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
View footage in DIVA
A long-term project has begun to remaster and make available online all of the TV Archive's collections. The footage is being hosted by SF State's digital virtual information archive (DIVA). This is a work in progress, with new material being added on a regular basis. Videographer Molly Ransone produced a short video in April 2013, showing how our collections in DIVA are being used by SF State faculty as a teaching resource. Film stills may be viewed from our Facebook page.
This project is assisted in part by a California State Library grant, supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services Technology Act (LSTA), administered in California by the State Librarian.
Follow the web link below to explore this exciting interactive resource, which now contains 200 hours of fully searchable clips:
Approximately 96% of the TV Archive's collections are waiting to be processed onto digital viewing formats. Users may now review basic text records for 70,000 of these film and video items by using our database search option. This resource is currently incomplete and new items will be added on a regular basis.
The latest footage to be made available online includes a KRON-TV news report from 1967 featuring views of a rock band rehearsing in The Matrix nightclub, a 1974 KRON Assignment Four report about how Oakland's Police Department is trying to develop community policing and The Making of Take this Hammer, which features an interview with Director Richard O. Moore, who shares his experience of working with James Baldwin on KQED's seminal 1963 documentary film Take this Hammer.
We've recently started working with the Education Archive to stream selected clips in YouTube, each featuring a short introduction. Several are online now.
Also available is a sub collection of 120 clips relating to the Black Panther Party, which is currently being added to on a monthly basis, a 1963 KRON documentary about how young women are migrating to San Francisco, in search of a better life and a KRON film from 1966 which examines why Ronald Reagan won California's Gubernatorial race in November of that year.
In addition to this, a split screen comparison of SD & HD film capture from the same 16mm newsfilm can be reviewed online and Color us Black! looks at African American student protests at Howard University in 1968.
Using the Collections
Most of our archival footage is preserved on 16mm newsfilm, which has remained unseen since it was originally shot by camera crews. Researchers may only view this and other film and video material on pre-ordered screener copies due to long-term preservation issues. There will be no access granted to original film and video elements for viewing purposes. Read selected reviews by researchers, producers and film makers, who have used our services.
The sound and picture quality of archival film and video gradually deteriorates over time. Users have the option of selecting footage to be digitally restored for their projects, to compensate for this process.
See our Access Service PDF for full details of how researchers, media production companies and others may gain access to and use material from our collection.
Faculty, staff and students of San Francisco State University may access material from the collection free of charge (subject to the archive’s prior commitments and preservation considerations). Read selected reviews by SFSU faculty, staff and students. This Golden Gate [X]Press article from April 2009, by Tami Capone, reports on a TV Archive film show at the downtown campus and also features comments by SF State students who've used our services.
The KQED collection (Channel 9, PBS affiliate) consists of approximately 550 hours of local 16mm newsfilm shot between 1966-1980, as well as 275 hours of selected documentaries (1962-1983) and 250 hours of other programs on 3/4" U-matic videotape. Copyright is held by NCPB/KQED.
View footage from the KQED news collection:
View footage from the KQED documentary collection:
The KPIX collection (Channel 5, CBS affiliate) consists of approximately 2750 hours of local 16mm newsfilm shot between 1948-1980, as well as 200 hours of selected documentaries (1960-1980) and 400 hours of other programs on 3/4" U-matic and Betacam SP videotape. Copyright is held by CBS-5/KPIX TV.
View footage from the KPIX news collection:
View footage from the KPIX documentary collection:
The KTVU collection (Channel 2, FOX affiliate) consists of approximately 65 hours of local 16mm newsfilm shot between 1961-1969. Copyright is held by Cox Enterprises Inc./KTVU.
View footage from the KTVU news collection:
KRON-TV is currently working on a pilot project with the TV Archive to remaster and make selected footage from their collection available to view online. Copyright is held by KRON-TV.
View footage from the KRON news collection:
View footage from the KRON documentary collection:
Local Emmy Award Winners
This collection consists of approximately 300 hours of local Emmy Award winning programs (1974-2005) donated to the TV Archive by the Northern California Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). Access to Emmy footage is available on a limited basis and will depend upon the condition of original 3/4" U-matic and Betacam SP videotape formats on which it was recorded. Copyright is held by the individual station/production company which produced each award-winner.
View footage from the Local Emmy awards collection:
Willie L. Brown, Jr. Collection
The Willie L. Brown, Jr. collection consists of approximately 1500 news stories, press conferences, documentaries and other moving image material that relates to the political career of SF State alumnus Willie Brown as California State Assemblyman, Speaker and Mayor of San Francisco between 1972-2004.
The footage is preserved on numerous video formats and was donated to the university as part of an initiative to establish the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Leadership Center. Copyright is held by various television stations and production companies.
It should be noted that we have other archival footage featuring Willie Brown in our local newsfilm collection, that covers the period from 1961-1979.
View footage from the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Collection:
Dorothy Goldner Collection
The Dorothy Goldner Collection consists of 1 hour of color/silent Kodachrome film, featuring the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island (1939-40). The footage was recently color corrected and remastered by Monaco Digital Film Labs of San Francisco. Copyright is held by San Francisco State University.
This material was produced by the donor’s husband Orville C. Goldner (1906-1985), who was one of several art-technical directors at the Exposition. In 1954 he became the first director of the Audio Visual Center at SF State College. Goldner had worked in Hollywood between 1926-35 as a designer and technician, receiving a screen credit as visual effects technician on RKO’s 1933 classic King Kong.
When donating this material to the J. Paul Leonard Library in 1990, Dorothy T. Goldner (1906-2005) stated:
“I believe that this property has significant intrinsic historical, research and educational value and I am concerned that this important body of material be preserved and kept intact as a collection and made available to interested parties for scholarly and historical use.”
View footage from the Dorothy Goldner Collection:
Saul Rouda Collection
Saul Rouda graduated from San Francisco State College in the 1960s and in his own words, as a “filmmaker and bon vivant archivist has been involved with documentaries since 1968.”
He produced many independent films in the Bay Area and has agreed to let the TV Archive stream some of these online in DIVA. This is a work in progress and new material will be added on a regular basis, as the original films are remastered.
Any requests to use or license this footage should be directed to Saul Rouda (Email: email@example.com). Please contact the film archivist for further details.
View footage from the Saul Rouda Collection:
Videowest was a San Francisco community of volunteers, collaborating to produce "television for the rest of us." This independent studio created a new genre of video journalism widely acclaimed as a "worldview from the rock generation,” inviting viewers to help produce hundreds of TV magazine shows and music videos for young adults, from 1978 to 1984.
A total of 84 selected shows were donated to the TV Archive by Videowest founder Fabrice Florin in 1982 for preservation, on ¾” U-matic videotape masters. Copyright to all the interviews and original feature items is held by Videowest.
Videowest's creative trademark was a fast-paced montage of interviews, comedy, music and news around weekly themes like "Beauty" or "Television" (see sample clips below). Over the years, Videowest featured hundreds of popular artists like Ray Bradbury, The Clash, Francis Coppola, Elvis Costello, REM and many more.
Videowest Alumni have started to transfer the Videowest archive onto digital formats, to preserve over a thousand hours of innovative programming currently stored on decaying videotape. More information about this project can be found on the Videowest website.
View footage from the Videowest Collection:
Black Panthers Enhancement Project
The TV Archive completed a project with NYU graduate Shira Peltzman over the summer of 2012 to restore previously unseen 16mm newsfilm from local TV networks featuring the Black Panther Party. A total of 120 Black Panther related clips may now be viewed online in DIVA, with more to follow. It includes a segment from a lost KRON-TV documentary from 1965-6 which looks at San Francisco Black Muslim reactions to the death of Malcolm X. Read an article by Jonathan Morales for SF State News, from October 3rd 2012, which decribes this project in more detail.
American Indian Occupation of Alcatraz (1969-71)
A 40th Anniversary project to commemorate the American Indian Occupation of Alcatraz (1969-71) has been completed. This 3 year struggle to reclaim ownership of the island “deeply informed the founding of the American Indian Studies Department" (AIS) at SF State.
Over 3 hours of rarely or never before seen 16mm newsfilm shot by KPIX and KQED, relating to Alcatraz and other Indian occupations in Northern California during this period, has been repaired, color corrected and re-mastered. Follow this link to view the footage online.
Footage from the KPIX news collection was projected onto San Francisco's Coit Tower on November 25th 2009, as part of the 40th Anniversary remembrance for the occupation.
KGO’s Success Story: San Francisco State College (1954)
KGO-TV have kindly granted us permission to make their documentary Success Story: San Francisco State College publicly available to view online. Filmed at SF State’s new Lake Merced Campus during the college dedication week in October 1954, this 30 minute program includes an address from college President J. Paul Leonard. A voice over introduction from Hartley Sater reminded live audiences tuning into this telecast: "Ladies and gentlemen you are viewing the future of America, possibly of this world."
Please note: this is a ‘kinescope’ recording that was originally made in 1954, by filming the picture from a live video monitor. As a result the picture quality – especially sharpness – is much lower than the rest of our material produced on 16mm film.
View the documentary Success Story: San Francisco State College (1954).
Carolyn Jones refers to Belva Davis in an SF Gate profile as the “Grand Dame of Bay Area Journalism.” Jones goes on to reflect that:
Davis, 77, has been bringing [that] sense of order and reassurance into Bay Area living rooms for more than 40 years. As an anchorwoman, reporter and now host of KQED's "This Week in Northern California", she has guided viewers through riots, earthquakes, fires, assassinations, elections and general tumult with her trademark warm smile and unflappable demeanor. –Carolyn Jones 05/09/2010
Belva has been working with the TV Archive over the past few months on her memoir. She kindly agreed to share her thoughts on this experience and place the significance of our collection into perspective:
During the turbulent days of the sixties, we used to joke, “Watch that script -- you are writing for history.” As important as the words were, it is the images of the actual events that provoke deeper emotions and understanding. In writing my memoir, I didn't have to settle for “to the best of my memory”. What a joy. I found invaluable confirmation of words and events dating back to my earliest days as a TV street reporter in 1967. Thanks to the San Francisco Bay Area TV Archive … we all have a way of watching and understanding the way we lived and survived the past decades. Just as we appreciate our history, we all must now look to the future and support this strong sense of continuity between past and present for future generations. –Belva Davis, 7/8/2010
Financial donations to support the work of the TV Archive are welcome. These may be made to the Bill Hillman Television Archives Fund. It is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) fund managed by The University Corporation, San Francisco State and all contributions are fully tax deductible.
Your donation enables the preservation of original film & video material, the purchase of new equipment and the widening of access to our collection. It will be recognized in the University’s annual Report to Contributors and you will also receive special communication from SFSU through newsletters, presentations and other programs and events.
These contributions support the vital on-going process of transferring hundreds of hours of archival footage from deteriorating film & video formats onto new digital master copies.
The physical condition of 16mm news film deteriorates with the passage of time and some of our material is over 50 years old. Similarly, many obsolete video formats in our collection are unstable. If footage isn’t migrated onto stable digital copies, this material will eventually be lost forever.
The fund is named for Bill Hillman, a prominent Bay Area news broadcaster specializing in science and cultural affairs. He joined the staff of KPIX-TV, San Francisco in 1953 as an announcer and was a news broadcaster with that station until his retirement in 1992. His advocacy helped to establish the television archive at SFSU and Hillman remained an active supporter of its work until he passed away in 1999.
Please contact Alex Cherian on 415-405-5565 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, for details about how to help preserve the Bay Area's moving image heritage.