This silent compilation of news footage from the 1920s and 30s was released to the home market by Castle Films. It begins with footage of the Pan Am Clipper inaugurating service between California and China as the ” China Clipper “. The aircraft shown is a Martin M-130, a commercial flying boat designed and built in 1935 by the Glenn L. Martin Company in Baltimore, Maryland, for Pan American Airways. Three were built: the China Clipper, the Philippine Clipper and the Hawaii Clipper. All three had crashed by 1945. A similar flying boat, (the Martin 156), named Russian Clipper, built for the Soviet Union, had a larger wing (giving it greater range) and twin fins. Martin named them the Martin Ocean Transports, but to the public they were the “China Clippers”, a name that became a generic term for Pan Am’s large flying boats – the Martin M-130, Sikorsky S-42, and Boeing 314.
At 1:30 the film shows Africa and native peoples perform a dance which is quite beautiful to watch (and the title card dares call them “savages!”) At 2:45 a huge stockyard fire is shown and at 3:37 a gigantic fire in an oil refinery or pumping station.
At 4:00 the S.S. Morro Castle is seen on fire. The Morro Castle was an ocean liner of the 1930s that was built for the Ward Line for voyages between New York City and Havana, Cuba. The ship was named for the Morro Castle fortress that guards the entrance to Havana Bay. On the morning of September 8, 1934, en route from Havana to New York, the ship caught fire and burned, killing 137 passengers and crew members. The ship eventually beached herself near Asbury Park, New Jersey, and remained there for several months until she was towed off and scrapped.
The devastating fire aboard the TEL Morro Castle was a catalyst for improved shipboard fire safety. Today, the use of fire-retardant materials, automatic fire doors, ship-wide fire alarms, and greater attention to fire drills and procedures resulted directly from the Morro Castle disaster.
At 4:43, Charles Lindbergh the “Lone Eagle” takes flight in his quest to cross the Atlantic. At 6:00, the U.S. fleet stages wargames, probably off the coast of Panama. At 7:20 biplanes are shown on the deck of a U.S. aircraft carrier.
At 8:21 a labor riot is shown. It’s not clear where this labor unrest took place but tear gas is used by police to break up the crowd.
At 9:18 a “brave Trans-Atlantic flier” meets an untimely death when his plane crashes on take-off. The film ends with footage of Gene Lockhart driving at 200 mph before crashing. (Unfortunately the crash footage is missing from the reel.) Frank Stallworth “Gene” Lockhart (born April 8, 1903 at Dayton, Ohio – April 25, 1928 at Daytona Beach, Florida) was an American automobile racing driver active in the 1920s, considered by many historians to be a legend in the sport on par with 1960s British World Driving Champion Jim Clark. During a “remarkable if all too short” career, Lockhart won numerous races on dirt, board tracks, the 1926 Indianapolis 500, and set a world land speed record for a distance average. In all, he had nine AAA wins and two vice-championships in two years of competition.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com