Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Digging for Gold at the Research Center: Movie night!

(by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian)

As winter has descended upon us (or so I am told- it’s still around 60 degrees in San Francisco) people start looking for more indoorsey activities. As the months of forced home imprisonment grow longer, your entertainment options run out.  Can you really watch that same action film one more time without screaming? Will your spouse make good on that threat to walk out the door if you rewatch that beloved tv show from the 90’s from the beginning for the third time? Have you really watched everything in your queue even the things that you just put there to impress other people, never actually intending to watch? Well, then we here at the Maritime Research Center have a real treat for you.  A search of our catalog turns up 27 movies available for streaming for free. That’s right 27 movies you can watch right now for free and I can almost bet anyone that you haven’t seen most of them. Ever wonder what Fisherman’s Wharf looked like in 1897? I bet you do because you are reading a maritime themed blog!  So check out this Edison film of a felucca taking in her sail. Need something a bit more substantial? How about a film that shows World War II tankers built here in the Bay Area at Marinship?  Something lighter? Why there’s always Mabel and Fatty Viewing the World’s Fair at San Francisco, Cal? A Mack Sennet production staring Mabel Normand and Fatty Arbuckle made in 1915, this film features many maritime topics such as the battleship Oregon, a Crowley ferry (#17), the former prison hulk, the Success and the Ferry Building.

Almost all of these films are on the Library of Congress website or the Internet Archive. If you are a fan of motion pictures, I highly recommend checking out the sites and just browsing. What else are you going to do? Pretend you haven’t seen every single British detective show on TV already?

So go make that popcorn! Or, if you really want to be authentic, make some hardtack to gnaw on and sit back and enjoy some good maritime entertainment. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Digging for Gold at the Research Center: National Maritime Day

(by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian)

Did you know I take suggestions for posts? Especially ones that come from my boss, Keri! While digging through one of our “pam files” (you oldsters might remember them as vertical files from back in the day) on National Maritime Day (Friday May 22nd) she came across an article about the Queen of the Day contest at the National Maritime Day Program at Aquatic Park.  Now, as an American, I don’t know much about royalty, but I’m pretty sure Queens aren’t forced to swab decks or other any laborious tasks (although the image of Queen Victoria climbing the rigging of the Cutty Sark is an interesting one).

Crowning a queen wasn’t the only activity that day. Other articles mention events such as a life boat races, a Coast Guard rescue performance and something called “water clowns”…

Did you or your family attend any of these events back in the 60’s? Were you a Maritime Queen or a even a Water Clown (it’s ok, you can admit it)?  Let us know!  Any ideas for how we should celebrate National Maritime Day in 2015? We’re all ears. Just drop us a line. I’ll check back when I’m done doing my practice swabs on the deck.