VSL:WEB // The 20th century: the highlight reel

It took the Internet Archive’s enormous collection of Universal newsreels to remind us that yes, there was life before the 24-hour news cycle.

The first film we found here is a fireside chat that FDR gave in 1934. The last follows a 1st Cavalry raid on a Vietnamese village. The ones in between contain precious footage of the Nuremberg trials, the Hindenburg explosion, the HUAC hearings, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. There are 600-plus films in all — our favorite dates back to 1961, when NASA scientists strapped a chimp named Enos into a rocket ship and asked him to take a giant leap for mankind.

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