History of the Newsreel

News Films
Silent Newsreel
Sound Newsreel
March of Time
War Newsreel
Postwar Decline

The origin of the newsreel was the actuality film, or true-life events filmed outdoors by the earliest cameras. The news film began in 1895 to give audiences in the first theaters a moving picture version of news-worthy events that included sports and politics. The silent newsreel began with Pathe's weekly releases in 1911. In the sound era after 1926 there were 5 big newsreel companies: Fox Movietone, Paramount, Universal, Warner-Pathe (owned by RKO after 1931), and Hearst Metrotone (released by MGM, renamed News of the Day in 1936); also considered a newsreel was the March of Time monthly film "magazine." The Golden Age of the newsreel was 1933-1945, during the era of President Franklin Roosevelt that included the Great Depression and World War II. The slow decline of the newsreel began after the war, and ended in 1967.

The expanded version of this History of the Newsreel with pictures and links to DVD clips now available on DVD33 in the complete set of Universal newsreels.



1889 - William Friese-Green made some of the early actuality films before newsreels began in 1911. He made films of people walking through Hyde Park in London on their way to church.

1894 - Edison made an early film in the U.S. of a prize fight between Michael Leonard and Jack Cushing in July 1894, but it was staged for the camera at the Black Maria studio, and shown in Kinetoscope peep show machines.


News Films

1895 - The Lumieres made the first news film in France on June 10, 1895, of a holiday excursion of the Congress of the National Union of French Photographic Societies, and was projected for the Congress two days later. The birth of the public cinema was Dec. 28 at the Grand Cafe in Paris, when the Lumieres projected a series of actualities and news films to a public audience. They sent Francis Doublier to film a bullfight in Madrid, and then to film the coronation of Czar Nicholas II in Moscow in May 1896. Doublier was the first to make a fake news film about the Dreyfus affair in France. Robert Paul made the first news film in England on June 3, 1896, of the Derby horse race at Epsom Downs, which led him to sign a 4-year deal with the Alhambra theater for "a regular 15-minute program of news films and comedies." (Fielding p. 8)

1896/04/23 - Thomas Armat with Edison presented the first American motion picture show projected on a screen to an audience on April 23, 1896, at Koster and Bial's Music Hall in NYC. Included in this show was one actuality from Robert Paul in England, a film scene of stormy waves breaking over a pier in Dover, England, something that the audience had never seen before in a theater.

1896/09/18 - The Biograph Company with its motorized camera made its first news film Aug. 28, 1896, of the Chinese diplomat Li Hung Chang, and on Sept. 18 cameraman Billy Bitzer filmed William McKinley in a parade and at home in Canton, Ohio, during the 1896 election campaign. William McKinley's brother Abner was part owner of the Biograph company. The third major film company, Vitagraph, also made news films but neither Vitagraph nor Biograph copyrighted any news films before 1900.

1897 - Edison filmed the inauguration of President William McKinley, the oath, the parade, and outgoing president Grover Cleveland, thus making Cleveland the first president to be filmed in office.

1899 - W. K. L. Dickson filmed the Boer war for British Mutoscope and Biograph company, owned by the American Biograph that Dickson had founded. He sailed for Africa Oct. 14, 1899. Albert E. Smith filmed the war for Vitagraph, and won a contract with Koster and Bial's Music Hall.

1904/01 - New York Daily Mirror was founded, "the first daily newspaper in the world to be illustrated exclusively with photographs" printed by the halftone method, that had first been used March 4, 1880 in the New York Daily Graphic, but was slow to be adopted by newspapers. (Fielding p. 48) These photo newspapers and the Yellow Journalism of Pulitzer and Hearst established the basic categories that would be adopted by the newsreels: catastrophe, celebrities, pageantry and ceremony, sports, political and military, technology, spectacle, novelty.

1905 - Nickelodeon theaters began to emerge in working class districts of American cities, and would number 14,000 by 1914.

1906 - In the 1906 New York campaign for governor against Republican Charles Evans Hughes, William Randolph Hearst employed a "communications innovation" according to Louis Pizzitola: cylinder recordings of his speeches. On the advice of his newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane, Hearst decided to visit a "talking machine place" in Manhattan, probably the Columbia shop at 155-57-59 Broadway, and made 12 wax graphophone cylinders. These were electroplated and molded for durability, and played at public meetings and distributed to libraries where they could be checked out like a book. The cylinders were sometimes combined with stereopticons of Frederick Opper cartoons. Hearst began his speeches with a high-pitched "My friends," as FDR later would do, and the New York Times commented "By using these agencies Mr. Hearst will be able to reach the very fireside with his speeches." (Times, Oct. 10, 1906) He also tried to synchronized cylinders with films, but was unsuccessful.

1910 - The "Fight of the Century" July 4 between Jack Johnson and James Jeffries was one of the most popular news films of the year. However, boxing films were controversial. The Johnson-Jeffries film led to the passage of the Sims Act July 31, 1912, making interstate traffic in fight films illegal. Non-boxing sports would grow to become the largest news film category, filling 25% of newsreel total space by 1940.

1911 - In the U.S., news films and actualities declined and were replaced by photoplays and story films. But in Europe, using small Lumiere cameras, news films continued in popularity. Pathe Freres, under the symbol was the golden rooster, became one of the largest film companies in the world by 1908, selling in the U.S. twice the number of films made by American producers.


Silent Newsreel

1911 - Charles Pathe in Europe starting the first newsreel in 1911, reportedly inspired by an American-based interpreter, Leon Franconi. Pathe's first American-produced newsreel, Pathe's Weekly, appeared August 8, 1911, released through the Keith-Albee and Orpheum circuits. The company was based in New Jersey, with a deadline of 9pm every Thursday evening for the one weekly issue. By 1914, the company had 37 cameramen in North America, and the company had 60 offices in Europe and America, and the New Jersey plant processed 15,000 feet per week. Starting June 8, 1914, Pathe offered a daily newsreel service, the Pathe Daily News, that used nonflammable safety film stock rather than nitrate and could be safely sent through the mail. But when WWI began, the film stock could no longer be obtained from Europe, and the daily service ended. More silent newsreels followed: The Vitagraph Monthly of Current Events, The Gaumont Animated Weekly, Kinograms, the Hearst-Selig News Pictorial, (Hearst later joined with Vitagraph), and later, the Universal Animated Weekly and Fox newsreel, the first American newsreel affiliated with a wire news service, the United Press.

1911/08/18 - Soon after the Pathe newsreel began, competitors emerged: The Vitagraph Monthly of Current Events began Aug. 18 but was shortlived. The Gaumont Weekly produced an American release in 1912 called the Gaumont Animated Weekly, but ended in five months, and the international Gaumont merged with Kinograms in 1921. The Mutual Weekly began 1912. Kinograms began 1919, and produced a spinoff, The Selznick News, from 1920, and was shown in the Capitol Theater in NYC, the world's largest theater in 1919. Kinograms ended in 1931. There were many short-lived and minor newsreels, but the most serious competitor to Pathe was Hearst.

1914 - Hearst joined with Vitagraph in 1914 to sponsor an annual Christmas tree celebration (19 years before Rockefeller Center's tree-lighting ceremony) and benefit performances were staged at the Vitagraph Theater at Broadway and 44th St. On Oct. 29, 1915, Hearst and Vitagraph signed a deal to release newsreels beginning in 1916. The Hearst-Vitagraph News Reel became the News Pictorial, and released exclusive films of the sinking of the British battleship Audacious in late 1914 and of the German warship Blucher in early 1915. Hearst press had published dramatic photos of the SS Audacious in 1914, forcing the British government to finally admit the disaster. The photos had been taken by a tourist from a nearby ocean liner the Olympia off the north coast of Ireland, and obtained by George Allison of Hearst's International News Service in London. Hearst was anti-British, and by 1916 was boycotted from England and Canada.

1914/01/03 - Harry Aitkin of Mutual Film Corp. signed a contract Jan. 3 with Pancho Villa for exclusive movie rights in exchange for $25,000 and 50% of the royalties.

1914/02/17 - Hearst directed Edgar Harrick to create a moving picture news organization. By 1913 he had combined the Hearst News Syndicate and the Hearst News Photo Syndicate, and had established news bureaus around the country. He sent cameraman Louis de Lorme to film the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson in March 1913, made 800 feet film for $298, distributed it to Harry Warner's United Film Exchange and earned $3000. In late 1913, Hatrick and William Selig of the Chicago Tribune founded the Hearst-Selig News Pictorial. The first American newsreel was released Feb. 17, 1914, distributed by the General Film Corp. (GFC was founded by the Motion Pictures Patent Company in 1910 and controlled most of the film exchanges in the U.S.) The News Pictorial quickly became the rival of the Pathe Weekly Review that had been distributed by General Film since 1911, but Pathe broke away in 1913 to form the independent Pathe-Eclectic Company to distribute the Review. American bankers led by Merrill, Lynch bought the production part of Pathe in America, and joined with Dupont to make raw film stock in competition with Eastman Kodak. Hearst joined with Pathe to distribute his Perils of Pauline serials, and promoted Pathe films in his newspapers.

1914/02/28 - The Hearst newsreel was produced by Edgar B. Hatrick who made a one-reel news film of the Woodrow Wilson inauguration in 1913 and released it with Harry Warner. In 1914, he joined with Colonel William Selig, who was friends with Moses Koenigsberg, executive with the Hearst Chicago Evening American newspaper, to produce the Hearst-Selig News Pictorial, releasing the first issue Feb. 28. The alliance with Selig ended Dec. 1915, and Hearst joined with Vitagraph to produce the Hearst-Vitagraph Weekly News that lasted only a few months. In 1916 and 1917 Hearst released his own newsreel, The International Weekly. On Jan. 10, 1917, he joined with Pathe for the Hearst-Pathe News that lasted one year. In 1918, Hearst began The International Newsreel (the first time the term "newsreel" was used in a name) and released it through Universal, then through MGM after 1929. In 1913, Universal introduced The Universal Animated Weekly and a Universal newsreel continued to be produced until 1967. The Fox silent newsreel began 1919 and ended 1963. Woodrow Wilson wrote letter praising the newsreel, made public Oct. 4, 1919. The 4 major silent newsreels were Pathe, Hearst, Universal, Fox. The fifth, Paramount, began 1927. (p. 108) 173

1914/03 - The Perils of Pauline was Hearst's first big film, released March 1914, as 20-part adventure serial starring Pearl White in daring scenes such as hanging from the cliffs of the New jersey Palisades (creating the new phrase "cliff-hanger"). The neighborhood theaters and movie palaces that replaced the nickelodeons offered mixed program of feature films, serials, newsreels, and vaudeville.

1914/10 - The Hearst-Selig News Pictorial made a film of the ruins of the Belgian city of Louvain in August/Sept 1914, shown in the U.S. in Oct. 1914, one of the few films not faked of the early war.

1917 When the U.S. entered World War I, the Committee for Public Information, or CPI, produced its own newsreel titled the Official War Review. Hearst sent his favorite cameraman, Joe Hubbell, to Europe to help make films for the Review, worked closely with the Signal Corps, was the first to Neufchateau. Hearst film was used to make America's Answer in 1918. Controversy developed over the favoritism by CPI to Hearst and Pathe.

1918 - The Hearst-Pathe News Weekly ended on Christmas day 1918. Hatrick bought newsreels from Universal: the Universal Animated Magazine and Universal Current Events, and bought the Screen Telegram from Mutual.

1918/06/10 - Most WWI footage was faked or poor quality. An exception was the sinking of the Austrian battleship St. Stephen by Italian gunboats June 10, 1918, one of the most dramatic films of the war. Also authentic was the British cruiser Caronia lying off Sandy Hook, NY, in wait for German ships in 1914 (filmed by Universal); the siege of Antwerp 1914 (filmed by Universal); the sacking and burning of Louvain.

1919 - After WWI, Charles Pathe sold off his empire, and the name survived through American-owned fragments. The center of the newsreel business shifted to America. By mid-1920s, "It was estimated that between 85 and 90 per cent of the eighteen thousand theaters in the United States exhibited one of the six newsreels then available to a weekly audience numbering in excess of forty million people." (Fielding p. 132) The newsreels produced two editions per week on Mondays and Thursdays, 800-1000 feet each (8-10 mins.), making 500 prints of each edition.


Sound Newsreel

1926/07/23 - The Fox Film Corp. purchased the Case-Sponable sound-on-film system after it was successfully demonstrated July 25, 1924, with a sound interview of President Calvin Coolidge and Senator Robert F. La Follette. The Fox Movietone Corp. was established 1926 and the first Movietone newsreels were exhibited Jan. 21, 1927, at the Sam Harris Theater in NYC. Movietone filmed the takeoff of Charles Lindbergh May 20, 1927, shown at the Sam Harris Theater May 25, 1927. Lindbergh's ceremony in DC June 12 was filmed by Movietone and lasted a full reel of 10 minutes. The Lindbergh two films were special releases. The first biweekly Movietone newsreel premiered Oct. 28, 1927, at the Roxy Theater in NYC, and to the rest of the country Dec. 3. At first, only single-system camera sounds were used, but then editors began to mix music and narration. At first, sound newsreels were profitable, but by 1939 costs had risen to $25,000 per week.

1927 - Hearst released his weekly International Newsreel through Universal, and helped MGM produce the MGM News after 1927.

1927 - Paramount began in 1927 as "The Eyes of the World" silent newsreel, edited by former Pathe editors Emanuel Cohen and Al Richard. Kinograms ended 1931, unable to compete with studio newsreels in the sound era as an independent.

1928 - Hearst sponsored the South Pole exploring expeditions Hubert Wilkins in 1928-29.

1929 - Newsreels took their style and structure from the American newspaper, not like the dramatic and cinematic March of Time or Nazi newsreels of the 1930s.

1929 - Paramount had exclusive rights to Admiral Richard E. Byrd expedition to South Pole in 1929, and later released the feature "With Byrd at the South Pole" and cameramen Wollard van der Meer and Joe Rucker won Academy Award.

1929/06 - Universal newsreel franchise "was purchased, reputedly for one million dollars, by the Hearst International Newsreel, which contracted to produce, edit, and assemble three editions of the newsreel for Universal's customers. The three editions were entitled Hearst News, Universal Screen Events, and Screen Telegram." (New York American, June 23, 1929).

1929/07/31 - Hearst signed deal with MGM in 1929 to produce a silent newsreel, The MGM International Newsreel that began July 31, 1929, and a sound newsreel, Hearst Metrotone News that began Sept. 28, 1929. Universal began to release its own sound newsreel without Hearst. Kinograms released a sound newsreel using the Warner-Brunswick sound-on-disc system to 2980 theaters starting Aug. 28, 1931, but failed after only 9 issues.

1929/09 - Hearst joined Fox in 1929 to produce the Grandeur widescreen newsreel (anticipating Cinerama), using double-width film, that premiered in NYC in Sept., with ticket price of $1.

1929/11/02 - Fox opened the all-newsreel Embassy Theater at Broadway and 46th in NYC with 544 seats on Nov. 2, 1929. The Embassy closed Dec. 1933, reopened 1934 by Newsreel Theaters, Inc. (founded by Movietone news editor W. French Githens and Courtland Smith) that ran the issues of all 5 major newsreels. According to Githens: "We soon discovered that in Franklin Delano Roosevelt we had the greatest single attraction. Announcement of his fireside chats, which were always filmed, brought hundreds of patrons to the theater. Anti-New Dealers came to hiss. The vigorous years of the New Deal under FDR and the rise of Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, and Chiang Kai-shek aroused great interest in newsreels." (Fielding p. 201) The Trans-Lux opened March 1931, managed by Courtland Smith and Jack Connolly, both from Fox. "Their theaters were installed in ordinary rented store space, each containing about 160 seats. Rear projection was employed, patrons were admitted through a turnstile triggered by the ticket seller (thus eliminating the ticket taker), and house lights were left on at a subdued level to dispense with the need for ushers. Prices were kept low (about 25 cents), each complete show ran about 45 minutes, and performances were continuous, thus serving both the inveterate newsreel enthusiast and the occasional downtown shopper." (Fielding p. 202) The Trans-Lux and the Embassy companies had a small chain of newsreel theaters. In 1939, a third company founded the Telenews Theater in San Francisco that opened Sept. 1 with its first program featuring the invasion of Poland. The Telenews opened 13 theaters and set up its own newsreel production to supply other independent theaters and later TV stations, and by early 1950s furnished 90% of TV news film in the country. Newsreel houses were more popular in Europe, and London had more newsreel theaters by 1940 than in all United States.

1931 - Joseph Kennedy merged Pathe and RKO in 1931 and ended Aug. 1947 when Pathe left RKO to be distributed by Warner Bros. Harry Von Zell was the regular voice of Pathe starting 1935. Lowell Thomas narrated for Fox Movietone. Pathe had the rights to the Dionne quintuplets starting May 1934 and got rights to many prize fights after Sims Act repealed in 1940.

1934/10/09 - One of the great newsreel stories from the golden age of the 1930s and 1940's was the assassination of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia Oct. 9.

1935 - Universal won the 1917 court case against attorney Grace Humiston who sued for invasion of privacy when she was photographed in a famous murder case; newsreels had the right to film people in the news. In 1935, Universal won the case against Mrs. Doris Preisler who sought $4,150,000 damages for mental shock that caused the loss of a child due to viewing newsreels of the corpse of Baby Face Nelson. Judge Joseph Sprouls ruled that the audience had warning of contents through posters and newspaper ads.

1935 "During the execution of Cuban rebels in 1935, Universal cameraman Abelardo Domingo walked into a prison courtyard one morning, set up his camera, and photographed some exceptionally grisly scenes of a firing squad in action." (Fielding p. 277) Domingo was arrested and almost shot.

1935/08/11 Hearst newsreel was the most controversial of the Big 5. Audiences booed and people boycotted theaters. Hearst removed his name from the newsreel in 1936 and it became "News of the Day" until 1967. In contrast, Paramount was the least controversial and the most fair, balanced and most respected.

1936 - Hearst Metrotone News narrator was Edwin C. Hill until 1936 when the name was changed to News of the Day and Jean Paul King of NBC became narrator. Metrotone and News of the Day were released by MGM. Hearst bought an interest in the Fox Movietone Corp. and formed the Fox-Hearst Corp., obtained the right to use the Case-Sponable sound system.

1937 - Universal was low budget, lacked sound equipment, did most sound work in the studio. Its release was known as the "The Five-Cent Weekly" and the company had only 4 sound units for field work in 1937. Graham McNamee was the narrator. Univesal got exclusive rights to the German dirigible Bremen in 1928, and had "unusually fine coverage of the Chinese-Japanese conflict during the 1930s, much of which was photographed by Norman Alley and George Krainukov (who later changed his name to Crane)." (Fielding p. 196)

1937/05/06 - One of the greatest newsreel stories was the Hindenburg explosion May 6, 1937. All newsreels had photographers at Lakehurst NJ, and NBC sent Herbert Morrison and engineer Charles Nelson with a disk-recording truck to gather sound for the library, not for broadcast. The disks were first played the next day after Morrison flew back to WLS studio in Chicago.

1937/06 - Castle News Parade was the only independent newsreel to survive in the 1930s. Eugene Castle began the newsreel in June 1937 for the amateur home movie market in 16mm and 8mm. The first issue had the Hindenburg airship disaster footage, and the second had the coronation of George VI.

1937/08/14 - "The Chinese-Japanese War provided some of the grimmest but most spectacular footage of the 1930s. The brutal bombing of Shanghai civilians was photographed by several American cameramen, including Harrison Forman of the March of Time, Hearst's Wong Hai-Sheng ("Newsreel" Wong), and T. Taguchi, and Universal's George Krainukov. Forman, Wong, and Krainukov were on hand to photograph the Japanese bombing of the Cathay and Palace hotels on August 14, 1937, in which 220 people were killed." (Fielding p. 207)

1937/09 - Newsreel Wong filmed the Japanese bombing of South Station in Canton in Sept. 1937, including the scenes of a crying baby in the rubble (alleged but never proved to have been staged). "The scene became one of the most celebrated symbols of the Far East conflict; over 136 million people were said to hve seen it. As a consequence of its release the Japanese government was reported to have placed a price of 50,000 dollars on Wong's head." (Fielding p. 277)

1937/12/12 - The Japanese attack on the American gunboat Panay was filmed Dec. 12, 1937, by Universal's Norman Alley and Movietone's Eric Mayell. The footage was rushed by destroyer to Manila, then by Clipper to West Coast, then by chartered airplane to NYC, then to lab in armored car, all at a cost of $25,000.

1939 - Combat photographer Ted Genock said Germans delayed their attack in Sept. 1939 on the Polish city of Gdynia long enough to give their cameramen time to advance and turn around, to film the German infantry and artillery moving forward.

1940 - Professor Burt Farquharson from the University of Washington took the only pictures of the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge at 11:10 am on Nov. 7, 1940, in Puget Sound during a severe storm. The bridge opened July 1, but experienced oscillations from the beginning. On Nov. 7, the undulations began at 7 am, became wild at 10 am. Only one car was left on the bridge, with a pet dog, Prof Farquharson tried to resuce the dog by walking the centerline, but was unsuccessful and the dog was the only casualty of the tragedy.


March of Time

1941 - Citizen Kane feature film released May 8 included a sequence called "News on the March" that was based on the March of Time newsreels. Henry Luce who founded Time magazine in 1923 agreed to allow magazine manager Roy Larsen to develop a radio version of March of Time in 1931 and a film version in 1935. The film version was released only once per month, was 20-30 minutes in length, with only five stories per issue, and cost $50,000 per issue, much higher than the average $10,000 cost of a newsreel. Larson and his editor Louis de Rochemont sought to be provocative and interpretive in each story, using re-enactments with hired actors to fill gaps missing in the news footage. As in the earlier radio version, narrators such as Harry von Zell and Westbrook Van Voorhis provided an irreverent provocative commentary in the style of Time magazine. In Citizen Kane, Orson Welles borrowed the "Voice of God" narration and investigative style from such issues as the April 19, 1935 story on munitions-maker Basil Zaharoff. From 1935 to 1951, the monthly March of Time was popular with audiences.


War Newsreel

1942 - The OWI with the big 5 newsreel companies created the United Newsreel for the troops; it ended Dec. 15, 1945.

1943 - Sports content declined from 26.2% in 1941 to 8.6% in 1943. By 1944, 77% of Paramount was war news (35% European theater, 13% pacific, 16% homefront, 4% training and camps, 7% foreign material, 2% captured German and Japanese.

1944/08/25 - One of the best newsreel stories of the war was the liberation of Paris on August 25.

1944/12/16 - All foreign newsreel footage had to be approved by military censors, but there was no direct censorship of the big 5 US newsreels during the war (nor of the radio news broadcasts, that also voluntarily followed OWI guidelines). Instead, film came from military cameramen and 2 pool cameramen from each company assigned to military theatres. OWI screened newsreel content through the Library of Congress Film Project, a covert OWI organization with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation. Captured Nazi footage began to appear in 1944, especially film in December of the July bomb plot against Hitler. No film was available of the Battle of the Bulge that began Dec. 16, 1944. Universal Vol 17, no. 357 "The Nazi Counter Offensive" used stock footage from captured German film in September. Universal vol 18, no. 393 showed opening of San Francisco conference and film of concentration camp liberation. Universal vol 18, no. 396 showed "War Ends in Europe - President Proclaims V-E Day. " Universal vol 18, no. 397 showed "Germany in Ruins." Universal vol 18, no. 399 showed surrender of Germany, ruined cities. Universal vol 18, no. 421 showed ruins of Hitler's bunker for first time. Universal vol 18, no. 455 showed Nuremberg trial and execution of German spies.


Postwar Decline

1947/08 - In August 1947 Warner Bros. bought Pathe News and began releasing the Warner Pathe News in its own theaters. It also began in 1948 to feature longer stories like March of Time (as did Paramount).

1948 - Newsreels were antilabor in 1948, no coverage of the coal miners' side of the story, signs in butcher shops of high cost of meat due to packinghouse workers strike.

1949/11/06 - Embassy Theater closed Nov. 6, 1949, after 20 years and 11 million paid admissions. Only one of the 14 Translux theaters still operated as an all-newsreel theater by the summer of 1950, and many regular theaters began to stop showing newsreels. MGM Hearst News of the Day provided film for Edward R. Murrow's See It Now TV program. March of Time ceased in 1951 and sold its film library to NBC. Warner Pathe ceased on Aug. 23, 1956, and at that time less than half of the nation's 19,200 theaters booked newsreels. Paramount's "Eyes and Ears of the World" ceased Feb. 15, 1957, and its film library sold to Wolper in 1963. Movietone ceased Sept. 1963 and Hearst stopped distributing domestic newsreels Nov. 30, 1967, and overseas newsreels Jan. 1, 1968 (when it lost funding from USIA). The last Universal newsreel was Dec. 26, 1967, narrated by Ed Herlihy who had taken over from Graham McNamee. Universal at its peak was distributed to 3300 theaters, but had declined to 1600 theaters.

1953 - Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953 gave the newsreels "one last moment of glory" (Fielding p. 304)

1967 - The last newsreel, Universal, ceased publication at the end of the year.


Fielding, Raymond. The American Newsreel, 1911-1967. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972. 392 p.

Pizzitola, Louis. Hearst over Hollywood: Power, Passion, and Propaganda in the Movies. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002. 525 p.

Short, K.R.M. and Stephan Dolezel, eds. Hitler's Fall: the Newsreel Witness. New York: Croom Helm, 1988. 188 p.

Short, K.R.M. "American Newsreels and the Collapse of Nazi Germany," in K.R.M. Short and Stephan Dolezel, eds. Hitler's Fall: the Newsreel Witness. New York: Croom Helm, 1988, pp. 1-27.


revised 2/8/08 by Schoenherr