TV commercials featuring dancing cigarettes. Grisly driver’s ed movies intended to shock you into wearing your seatbelt and staying sober behind the wheel. Pedantic, poorly acted soap operas trying to educate you about proper grooming and secual hygiene. If you never thought you’d see such things again — or at all — I’ve got news for you. All these films no one thought would last more than six months, have been lovingly preserved — archived, even — by Rick Prelinger. The Prelinger Archives, available through archive.org, hosts tens of thousands of so-called ephemeral films, most of them now in the public domain, free for anyone to reuse. Rick Prelinger not only masterminded this record of American pop culture, but also produces mash-up, documentaries featuring audience participation from this vast storehouse of cultural flotsam. His latest, “No More Road Trips” screens Saturday, February 21 at the Chazen Museum. Rick Prelinger joined the Monday Buzz from San Francisco.
“This is the Prelinger Archives” by Rick Prelinger