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Found Footage: Calgary, 1972

by Piers Rae

February 6, 2015

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It’s never been easier for people to generate video, of whatever they want and in staggering levels of detail and variety. One hundred hours of video are added to YouTube alone – every single minute. You could watch day and night, for a hundred lifetimes, and still see but a fraction. The bad news is it’s mostly terrible, and a good chunk of the terrible is being marketed pretty heavily at you.

Found Footage trawls through the internet’s endless sprawl to collect the best short films, sketches, home movies, ads, training videos, newscasts, cell phone footage, and other obscurities. We’re looking for the brightest gems and the strangest mundanity. We seek out the videos that fell through the cracks,  and missed out on the attention they so richly deserved.


 

FOOTAGE FOUND: CALGARY, CIRCA 1972

Okay, not just Calgary. There’s a little bit of Edmonton, and a lot of mountain vistas. But it’s still pretty amazing to see the downtown core and the airport at these early stages. One year later, the Arab Oil Embargo will begin and the economy will boom. Between 1971 and the 1989 Winter Olympics, the population will have exploded with the addition of 272,000 people. Compared to the city Calgary has become, this Calgary is a ghost town.

Downtown Calgary looks practically empty, the skyline of towers we recognize now still a twinkle in some city planner’s eye. The shots of an Air Canada flight landing show Calgary International to seemingly be a single terminal, and the suburban sprawl has barely hit the area around it. I’m not certain, but that could still be unincorporated territory, one of the fringe towns that Calgary swallows up every few years. The Calgary tower looms over everything around it, and Chinatown hasn’t been glammed up yet. The “Chinatown Inn” is still a going concern, for heaven’s sake.

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The essential Calgary spirit still remains however. The beautiful stretches of river and open parkland frame a clean, industrious city with more sunlight than anyone knows what to do with. The friendly pioneer spirit persists, and I was very happy to see “Howdy!” signs up around town in some of the shots. Though the true Albertan spirit is perhaps not being communicated in the comments.

Angry, angry young man.

Bucky Kentucky could take a page out of Astronaut Cult’s book.

 

And really, any labelling mistakes regarding the inclusion of Edmonton can be forgiven. The organization presenting this video on Youtube isn’t local, after all. British Pathe has over 80,000 historical videos to sift through online (check them out here), and they *did* go to the effort of adding the bouncy jazz track that makes Calgary seem a heck of a lot cooler than it could’ve been at the time.

Have an amazing video we’ve missed, or a project you’d like to shed a little limelight on? Let us know. We’re happy to oblige.

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