I love these two videos of what’s reputed to be the first 35 mm video ever made. Anyone familiar with San Francisco will recognize Market St. with the familiar and still-standing Ferry Building on Embarcadero in the distance as the camera-toting street car rolls north.
The silent film was originally thought to be from 1905, but according to David Kiehn at the Niles Esanay Museum, it was probably shot four days before The Great San Francisco Earthquake which struck on April 18, 1906. That’s from a 2006 post in the SFgate.com (San Francisco Chronicle). The post explains how Kiehn sleuthed the time frame and a bit about the Miles Brothers who shot it.
Here’s two versions, the first and shorter of the pair is to the strains of Airs’ Moon Safari album’ (the cut is La Femme D’argent – woman of money) is my favorite, offering a light-hearted and lyrical look back in time. Perhaps, a bit haunting, too, assuming a catastrophe was about to level much and kill many in the scene here. For film purists, the second and longer version is almost 14 minutes and silent.
Pedestrians crossed the wide thoroughfare at their own peril!
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