- LeVar Burton in the 1977 miniseries Roots
Today at 1 PM the local film preservation outfit Chicago Film Archives
launches its first-ever sale of 16-millimeter prints, which are being liquidated to make shelf room for more acquisitions. The items for sale include episodes of the 70s cartoon series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
, the landmark miniseries Roots
, and the PBS series America: A Personal History of the United States
, hosted by Alistair Cooke. As you may recall, the nonprofit CFA was formed in 2003 to rescue the 16-millimeter collection of the Chicago Public Library, from which the sale items are drawn. "They are titles we had three, sometimes five copies of," explained Anne Wells of CFA by E-mail. "For these, we have kept the two best and are putting the other copies up for sale. Because of this, a lot of the films for sale are in fair condition—some with color fading, others with scratches. But thankfully not all are in bad shape." The Fat Albert
episodes, in particular, are reportedly in very good condition (which may explain why 39 of the 58 episodes have already been snapped up online).
Wells stresses that the CPL collection is still highly valued by the archive, both as a physical resource and as a record of what was circulating in Chicago during the years when 16-millimeter rentals were a common service at American libraries. But the organization's mission statement defines it as a midwestern-oriented archive, and storage space is needed for more recent collections, "a mix of home movies, dance films, amateur travelogue films, and social documentaries-all of which are unique or the only known copy in existence." CFA also hosts frequent home movie screenings with free workshops to evaluate people's old 8- and 16-millimeter footage.
The physical sale runs Friday, 1 to 5 PM, and Saturday, 11 AM to 1 PM, at the CFA vault, 329 W. 18th St., Suite #317. Click here for a full listing of available films and their conditions.