Walk-by Theatre: Bike Safety, the Psychology of Selling, and Leadership in the 1940s

Last night we hosted our first Walk-by Theatre screening. Featuring films pulled from the Prelinger archives, Danielle and I curated a program that touched on the aesthetics, values, and practices of 1940s/50s/60s American culture.

The built-in benches on Pelissier along with some chairs from our collection were perfect seating for the hour-long program. A number of other passersby stopped for a couple of minutes, while others stayed for the rest of the screening. A large sheet, our new projector, and some borrowed speakers made this a really simple process and I think it looked really great!

And, in case you missed it, here are the links to the films:

One Got Fat – Bicycle Safety (1963)

Man to Man – Salesmanship and psychology instruction for gun dealers (1947)

Hired! – Quirky Chevrolet sales film (1940)

We’ll be doing this nearly every Monday at 9pm for an hour-or-so. It’s free, and we have plenty of seating. There’s a parking garage right above the seating, and plenty of bike racks.

5 Replies to “Walk-by Theatre: Bike Safety, the Psychology of Selling, and Leadership in the 1940s”

  1. I think pulling from the public domain provides an opportunity to consider what parts of cultural representation end up becoming the most widely accessible, or at least more readily and freely available — there’s a lot of material in the Prelinger archives that we’ll likely pull from again in the future. It’s a strange collection and I think we’re interested in looking through that collection by drawing some parallels to things we encounter today. The films fit under those categories above, widely, but that umbrella description doesn’t in and of itself reflect a conceptual direction, it’s more of an acknowledgement of the form of the archive. Any set of films that we choose from the Prelinger archives would show the aesthetics, values, and practices of that era, but for us, these screenings are more about the process of sorting through that archive.

  2. @justin: I love the idea that sorting through an archives becomes performative. For me that’s what will revivify and propagate collections and collecting entities — the sense that practice is performance and performance practice. Delighted to see what you’re doing.

    Hope to get back to Detroit this fall and, if so, would love to drop by and see what you’re all doing across the river.

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