(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.