Film library helps Hollywood check out its past

SOMETIMES LOCATION is not a place. It is a time. And to help Hollywood producers access bygone days, the WPA Film Library has published what is believed to be the first comprehensive reference guide in the stock-footage industry.

A 104-pager, the WPA’s compendium includes more than 10,000 entries–indexed between listings for the Academy Awards and Zimbabwe.

From “Sarah Bernhardt emoting,” to the crash of the Hindenburg to “Beehive Hairdos Gone Mad,” the WPA’s Stock Footage Reference Guide is designed to serve as a producer’s springboard for ideas during the early development stages of a project, according to WPA president Matthew White.

“Traditionally, the people we do the most business with are advertisers,” WPA director of operations Lou Zucaro said. “But we are trying to get more Hollywood people to use the resources we have here.”

In total, the Oak Forest, Ill.-based WPA has 10,000-12,000 hours of footage in its library, including the British Pathe News Collection, the Color Stock Library and Lem Bailey’s ColorStock Library–one of the first film footage houses, originally founded in Hollywood in 1953.

The company is named after company president White with the WPA initials standing for White Production Archives — not the Works Progress Administration established under Franklin Roosevelt’s presidential administration in 1933.

“People sometimes ask us if we have films from the Works Progress Administration, and we do have a handful of films,” Zucaro said. “But WPA films are not something we deal with specifically.”

No doubt. After all, it’s unlikely the federal government would have had anything to do with the filming of such WPA stock titles as the Beatles’ movie “A Hard Day’s Night,” Roman Polanski’s 1968 marraige to Sharon Tate at the Playboy Club, as well as the eclectic and bizarre–“Pinup Model on a Farm, Sizing Eggs,””People Eating Bratwurst and Dancing,””Harvesting Methane Gas from Pigs” and the 1959 title “Phones in Cars May Come Soon.”

The reference guides are free to producers and just about anyone else with Hollywood credentials. For information, call (800) 777-2223.

THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES has issued a directive warning of filming restrictions from Nov. 27 to Dec. 26 in the city’s Toy District–bounded by San Pedro, 6th, Los Angeles and Third Streets. The City clamps down on filming in the area because of congested traffic caused by the Xmas rush.

While some producers may be scrooged, the Film & Video Permit Office is standing by to help producers overcome the holiday madness. To discuss your wish list for holiday filming in downtown Los Angeles, call (213) 485-5324.

THE UTAH FILM Commission announced that first quarter production dollars spent in the state topped $ 22 million, compared with $ 18.2 million spent in the first quarter of 1991-92.

Utah Film Commission director Leigh von der Esch said “the number of projects currently shooting in the state, combined with the amount of scouting we are doing for current projects, gives me every reason to believe this fiscal year will continue to surpass every record for production activity.”

Recent productions shot in the state include the James Earl Jones-starrer “The Sandlot,” the Kris Kristofferson-starrer “Knights” and Leucadia Film Corp.’s “Hello I Must Be Going.”

OHIO GOVERNOR George V. Voinovich and state director of development Donald B. Jakeway announced that the Ohio Film Commission Manual is available to movie and TV producers and location scouts.

The manual has been revamped with new information on Buckeye production resources, as well as the “Going Green on Location” environmental guide.

For a copy of the Ohio Film Commission manual, telephone (800) 848-1300.

THE STATE OF HAWAII said revenues from movies, television shows and commercials rose 48% in the first half of the year to $ 18.7 million, compared to the $ 12.6 million recorded in the first half of 1991, according to an Associated Press report.

Hawaii Dept. of Business, Economic Development director Mufi Hannemann said third-quarter numbers should be even stronger, since Steven Spielberg spent the summer filming the movie “Jurassic Park” on Kauai, and then completed it on the other islands after Hurricane Iniki wiped out his set.

The majority of filming so far in 1992 has been done on the island of Oahu, with neighboring islands reaping $ 2.9 million of the $ 6.9 million in business chalked up during the second quarter, Hawaii film office manager Georgette Deemer said.

TERRY HOUSE has been appointed film liaison for the City of West Hollywood’s public information/CATV division.

His mandate is to simplify the film permit process in West Hollywood.

House previously worked in the industry for such companies as MGM/UA, Goldwyn and Warner Bros. For information on West Hollywood’s permit process, call House at (310) 854-7489.

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