1919 World Series footage found in Yukon permafrost

1919 Chicago White Sox team photo (source: Wikipedia)

1919 Chicago White Sox team photo. Photo: Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Baseball fans take note! According to the CBC:

A New York filmmaker has discovered rare footage of the 1919 World Series — known for the Black Sox betting scandal — while working on a documentary about old films found in Dawson City, Yukon, permafrost.

Newsreels of the controversial World Series were among film reels buried in a Dawson City swimming pool-turned hockey rink, and frozen in the permafrost for 50 years. Work crews discovered them in 1978.

Hmm, the 1919 World Series? Old film re-discovered in 1978? Why is any of this news? Because the find included 500 reels of film, some of which are only being digitized now, thanks to work by filmmaker Bill Morrison.

Morrison described that project in this interview with Randy Henderson on CBC’s Northbeat. (The initial find was saved largely thanks to the efforts of Michael and Kathy Gates Michael, who recount that experience here.)

Why did so much film end up buried out in the boonies? Well, you know how those things can go. According to the CBC story:

The films had played at the local cinema. A bank representative was supposed to send them back, “but essentially Dawson was the end of the road for all these films.” (Kathy Jones-Gates)

The film has some water damage and isn’t the type of camera work we are used to today. But it’s a fun window back to the much-discussed match-up between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds.


Clip credit: Library and Archives Canada/Youtube

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