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Watch Hindenburg Disaster Newsreel Footage

Hindenburg Disaster Newsreel Footage

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The Hindenburg disaster newsreel footage includes films by several newsreel companies of the Hindenburg disaster where the zeppelin Hindenburg crashed and burned on May 6, 1937. The film is frequently played with narration by Herbert Morrison, who was there to watch the zeppelin's arrival in the United States. Morrison was a 31-year-old Chicago radio reporter, and his commentary was recorded, and not broadcast until later. It has since been combined with the separately filmed newsreel footage. To modern eyes it may appear to have been a live broadcast with pictures and sound, but it was not. Most of the original newsreels have their own narration, and many composite edits have been made for documentaries. One common composite found on the internet is a silent film with Pathe footage of the first 1936 landing at Lakehurst and Hearst News of the Day Newsreel footage of the disaster, called a "Pathegram" by Eugene Castle of Castle Films. Another edit popularized on video-sharing sites like YouTube uses footage of the Disaster from Paramount and Movietone Newsreel with Herb Morrison's recording. The Pathe and Universal Newsreels are freely available from government archives. Four newsreel teams were in attendance at the time of the disaster. They were positioned close to each other and adjacent to the mooring mast for the airship. As a result, the newsreels do not show the mooring mast for the airship to be moored (other mooring masts appear in the background in many of the reels), unlike many of the press photographs which were taken further away which show the mast as well as two of the newsreel cameramen with their cameras mounted atop of newsreel trucks. None of the newsreels captured the initial signs of disaster as the cameras had momentarily stopped filming after the ground crew caught the landing ropes (the fire started approximately four minutes after the first starboard rope was dropped at 7:21). At least one film taken by a spectator is known to exist, showing a side view of the stern on fire and the tail crashing to the ground. In 1997, the original reels were selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."