5/9/18

BUMPING DOWN BROADWAY IN 1929



On a rainy day in 1929, the Fox Movietone people mounted a camera on top of a truck and--with police escort (you can hear the plaintive wail of the siren throughout this video)--took a drive down Broadway. Bumpy though the ride proved to be, it captured a mesmerizing look at a now long dead civilization--the New York of the 1920s. You'll see an El Train at about 30 seconds in. It turns out that's the 53rd St. Crosstown extension--a train I never knew existed. It served to connect the other Elevated trains, running from 9th Avenue across town to 6th Avenue (and perhaps further east??) Click here for more than enough information on that long gone transportation device.

As always with these archeological newsreel digs, the popular culture of the period is on view and delightful to behold. 'Talkies' were new and movie theaters abounded on Broadway, loudly trumpeting the new technology. Richard Dix's 'Redskin' and a movie called 'The River', which was a 'partial talkie' were playing and John Gilbert and Greta Garbo's 'A Woman Of Affairs' was being held over--it was actually made in 1928--and remained immensely popular, even though it contained only synchronized sound effects and music. Clearly the camera was visible to our pedestrians, who strain to look up and figure out why a man is standing with a camera on top of a truck in the rain...

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