Technicolor announced that it is donating its historic archiveâ€”dating from 1915 to 1974â€”to the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. The George Eastman House is the country’s third largest film archive and the world’s largest technology collection.
Dr. Richard Goldberg (left) and Roger L. Mayer
The announcement was made by Joe Berchtold, head of Technicolor’s creative Services division. “This commitment will ensure the history of Technicolor’s three-strip process–as well as two-color before it–will be preserved with full integrity,” he said. The corporate collection was put together by Dr. Richard Goldberg, who was the last head of the Technicolor Research Division and is known as one of the major color scientists in motion picture history. Goldberg, who has taught classes in color technology for Eastman House’s L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, worked with Eastman House to identify, clean and catalog the materials for acquisition and preservation.
Among the items in the archive are Technicolor camera blimps; VistaVision/Technirama magazine, camera and lens attachment; dye-transfer testing machine; 65mm matrix printer; 70mm Model C printer; Cinerama registering printer; spin pin belt machine; filters and plates used during the filming of Technicolor motion pictures; schematics of all the equipment illustrating how the machines were built; R&D spray processor designed for the dye-transfer process; and other items including Technicolor packing creates.
Technicolor was a trademark for a series of color film processes established almost a century ago, with the goal of bringing “natural” color to motion pictures. From 1927 to 1974, Technicolor films were the industry standard, with the years 1932 to 1955 known as the “Glorious Age of Technicolor,” featuring the three-strip dye transfer system.
“So many of the icononic films of the 20th century were photographed and presented in Technicolor,” said Dr. Anthony Bannon, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director of the George Eastman House. The museum’s existing Technicolor holdings include more than 3,000 reels of films as well as documents from Technicolor pioneers, such as founder Dr. Herbert Kalmus’ letters and notebooks detailing the earliest processes; the diaries of Leonard Troland, Technicolor chief engineer; and the papers and letters of Dr. John Andreas former head of Technicolor Research Department.
“I think Technicolor is to be commended for understanding that the crucial importance of preserving is archive,” said filmmaker Martin Scorsese. “I can think of no better location for this archive than George Eastman House, a leader in film and photography preservation. I’ve worked closely with them for a long time now, and they’ve always impressed me with their knowledge and passion. Eastman House is the perfect place for this historically invaluable collection from Technicolor.”