Films from the Urban Archives: Secrets from Philadelphia’s Past

December 7, 2009

Where: Moore College of the Art and Design 20th & Race Streets, Philadelphia (215) 965-4099

The Electric Factory, news footage (1968)from a reel of silent, outtake footage provides an insiders look at Philadelphia's legendary psychedelic rock ballroom.

When: Friday, December 11 8 p.m.

Admission: FREE

Take a trip back in time with Temple University Library and The Secret Cinema during a public screening of vintage news footage and public affairs film salvaged from the libraries of two Philadelphia television stations. Footage comes from the Television Audiovisual Collections of the Urban Archives at Temple University library and consists of approximately 14,000 cans of 16mm film from WPVI (formerly WFIL) and KYW.

The upcoming screening will include :

Assignment: 1747 Randolph Street (1966) – A hard-hitting documentary from an ongoing series produced by WFIL-TV, this episode focuses on North Philadelphia’s Ludlow neighborhood — then awash with gangs, graffiti, abandoned homes, and violent crime. While many of these problems may now seem eternal, this close-up view of urban decay not yet taken for granted remains powerful and shocking.

The Electric Factory, news footage (1968?) – This reel of silent, outtake footage from a news report provides an invaluable look inside Philadelphia’s legendary psychedelic rock ballroom, then located in a former tire warehouse at 22nd & Arch Streets. On display are lightshows, see-saws and sliding boards, clothing and face paint vendors, and coffin-like “body racks” for patrons in need of relaxation — the one detail of the old club that was faithfully recreated in the much larger concert venue of the same name that opened in the 1990s. The original Electric Factory, which hosted concerts by Jimi Hendrix, The Mothers of Invention, The Who, and many other legends, closed forever in 1970.

– Jazmyn Burton


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