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Re: [ARSCLIST] lost archives, was [ARSCLIST] Fwd: Re: [ARSCLIST] Hard disk drives and DAT

On the subject of lost archives..from yesterday's Toronto Star:


The search for sports history
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Great chunks of classic footage – like that of the Maple Leafs' last Stanley Cup – may be gone forever
Mar 27, 2007 04:30 AM
Chris Zelkovich

With the 40th anniversary of the Toronto Maple Leafs' last Stanley Cup approaching, marketers are dreaming of a sure-fire best-seller: a DVD featuring all six games of the Cup final.

Parents could pass it on to their children, who could pass it on to theirs and, depending on how long this Cup-free streak continues, they could leave it for future generations.

At this point, though, it's only a dream. Video of the series doesn't exist.

And that last Leaf triumph is not alone. It's one of many great moments in sports history, a significant chunk of our sporting heritage, that have disappeared.

"Leaf fans and Leaf haters mark that anniversary every single year so having the entire series to mark the 40th would have been great for both camps," says Stewart Johnston, vice-president of programming for ESPN Classic Canada, which is in the business of finding and airing great sports moments. "But we'll continue to look and hope because we know that a lot of stuff is still out there.

"We salivate at the thought of digging up that treasure trove."

Unearthing that treasure trove is no mean feat. It requires a bit of CSI-style sleuthing combined with a bit of Antiques Road Show luck.

But some gems thought to have been extinct have been unearthed:
# Footage of Bill Barilko's legendary game-winning goal in the 1951 Stanley Cup final was found in a box at the national archives marked "unidentified hockey." It had been shot by a Leafs employee seated in the greens.
# The only known video record of Willie O'Ree's NHL debut, making him the first black player to play in the league, was discovered in a newsreel of a visit to Montreal by the prime minister of Laos in 1958.
# The broadcast of Don Larsen's historic perfect game in the 1956 World Series, thought to have disappeared, was bought at a flea market. But even that copy is missing the first inning.

There's a simple explanation for the absence of so many historic game broadcasts: Nobody thought to save them.

As a result, films were cut up for highlights, left in basements, taken home for posterity or simply lost. When videotape came along in the '70s, games were often taped over to save money.

"For all we know, some of sports' greatest games disappeared because somebody needed tape for The Littlest Hobo," Johnston says. "Everybody was guilty of it.

"Really, 30 years ago who would have thought that anybody would want to watch an entire hockey or baseball game again?"

Certainly no one envisioned the day when channels like ESPN Classic and Leafs TV would actually air entire games from the past.

As a result, there is still a long list of great games on the missing list.

Only four of the six games from the '67 final exist in their entirety. Game 4 is complete with one exception: all of the goals, apparently snipped out for highlights.

The first Major League Baseball game played by a Canadian team, the 1969 Montreal Expos, is still missing.

Also unavailable for broadcast is Maple Leaf legend Darryl Sittler's historic 10-point night. Sittler has the only known copy of the entire game, but he's not talking.

Also on the missing list: the first two Super Bowls.

But there is hope that these and other significant games can be found. The man who has found many of them in unlikely places is confident that they're out there somewhere.

"There are a lot of things still to be discovered in attics and garages," says Paul Patskou, a former computer programmer who has made a successful business of finding such sporting gems.

He should know. This Columbo of sports has found film records everywhere.

Leafs TV wanted to show a 14-1 victory over the New York Rangers from 1957, but couldn't find the third period.

One day Patskou got a call from somebody who'd just bought a house and found boxes of films in the garage. They had been borrowed from the CBC library in the '60s and one still had the library card attached.

The collection included the missing period.

When plans were made to create a videotape set for the 30th anniversary of the '72 Summit Series, the producers faced monumental problems. Despite the significance of the series, CTV had erased or lost all copies while the CBC only had parts of the games.

Game 8 was missing the first goal of the third period because of a satellite glitch. The last 15 minutes of Game 2 were gone, apparently because somebody erased footage instead of taping it.

Then there were Games 1 and 4. Only half of the English broadcast had been preserved. Video from the French broadcast was used, but there was the matter of finding English audio.

However, Patskou learned that a Calgary fan had recorded the series' audio on an old reel-to-reel tape recorder.

"They married the tape to the French broadcast and it worked," Patskou recalls.

Patskou stumbled across the O'Ree film while doing research for the CBC. Others were found on desks at networks.

``Some producers kept copies for themselves," Johnston says. ``There'll be stacks of tapes on desks covered in dust and you'll find amazing stuff."

Still others show up in private collections. After all, with thousands of dollars at stake depending on how much networks want the video, there's an added incentive to collect this stuff.

"Sometimes we don't ask questions," Patskou says.

Archivists were handed a bonanza recently when the settlement of a 30-year dispute freed up more than 800 Hockey Night In Canada kinescopes from the '60s.

The CBC had apparently left them at Maple Leaf Gardens and owner Harold Ballard, being Harold Ballard, decided to toss them out. Broadcaster Brian McFarlane rescued them and stored them at a Toronto studio, agreeing to share ownership with the studio boss.

But the studio owner died and his successors hung on to them for three decades before eventually selling them to Molson.

For every success, there are many frustrations.

Leafs TV again wanted a 1964 game that saw the perennial sad-sack Boston Bruins beat the defending champion Leafs 11-0. After a diligent search, Patskou found a kinescope – basically a film shot off the TV screen.

Unfortunately, it contained everything but the 11 goals.

"They used to clip out film for highlights back then," he says. "There are a lot kinescopes like that."

While some may consider these "classic" games as cheap filler for digital channels, Patskou believes they've played a significant role in unearthing sports history.

``If you asked me 10 years ago, I would have said much of this stuff would never be found," he says. "But if it wasn't for the classic games, we probably never would have found them."

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