Watch the 1967 Bob Hope special, save America's public domain videos

Last week, I wrote about Carl Malamud's upcoming testimony on the need to free America's governmental video archives for public consumption. This material is all in the public domain, but the government sells it through retail partners, to the taxpayers who funded its production. Carl is trying to convince them to free the video you paid for for your use. He wants to go into his testimony with some impressive viewership numbers to demonstrate the lurking desire for this video.

So Carl's pitch is simple: Watch some awesome public domain videos and do good for the world.

Now, Carl Malamud sez, "In preparation for my testimony on the future of the National Archives before the House Oversight Committee, we forked out another $461 and uploaded 28 more government videos. I'm trying to show that people care about this stuff, so I'll report the total number of views to the Congress. This batch has some amazing stuff. In addition to the Bob Hope Christmas Special, there are documentaries about the Manhattan Rhythm Kings, the Cambodian Royal Ballet, and James Audubon. If you're into spooks, don't miss the CIA's True Stories, a special on Mind Control and Hallucination, and KGB Connections."

Watch the public domain on YouTube.

Watch the public domain on the Internet Archive. (Thanks, Carl!)


  1. May I recommend “You in Japan”? This is excellent stuff. Give it a view and you’ll see what I mean.

  2. I heart Bob Hope and all, but I saw enough of him as a child to last a lifetime. Great idea, though, and as a show of solidarity, I’ll watch the mind control documentary a few dozen times.

  3. Does Carl Malamud have an alternative suggestion for paying the salary and equipment costs of distributing the videos? Yes, taxpayers covered production costs, but did we prepay the National Archives for preserving, indexing, reproducing, etc.? Maybe there *is* a fairer system than having the requestor shell out for the videos. What is it?

    1. Yes, we did “prepay” for the National Archives to do its job–and we continue to do so every year when we pay our taxes (assuming you’re American and pay taxes, that is).

      1. From congressional testimony on the 2008 NARA budget:
        “The proposed increase will not restore the nearly 10 percent decline in staff nor restore the public hours of access cut by a third this year. Furthermore, …the volume of material created by the Federal government has increased substantially over the last decade. … However, the number of archivists to process these papers and make them available to the public has decreased. Without substantial increases in the number of staff at the National Archives, the volume of records unavailable to the public will continue to grow.”

  4. This Bob Hope show was great! Seeing Raquel Welch go go dancing, the musical numbers, the retro clothes and the happiness the show brought the GI’s made this well worth watching to me.

  5. this Bob Hope special is great, although I don’t get any of the military jokes and only about half of the recent news jokes.

  6. Actually, though Carl is right about the need for unfettered access to the public domain, he should be much much more careful–that Bob Hope special was *NOT* produced by the government, but by Bob Hope’s production company and NBC, (probably sponsored for broadcast by Chrysler, and the tour sponsored by the USO, which is a private organization)–and it’s under copyright. There’s no reason not to know this–it bears a proper copyright notice.

    Everything the government produced should be freely available. But just because it’s in NARA doesn’t mean it was paid for by tax dollars; that idea is a widely-held misconception. The Hope film was just distributed to the armed forces, not produced by them. This kind of sloppiness is going to give his opponents an argument AGAINST unfettered access to PD materials.

    You can argue whether something produced in 1967 should still be copyrighted–I think that’s more than reasonable–but that’s a different argument.

  7. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I read that Hope had sponsors and the government foot the bill for the shows, then retained the rights to broadcast them for profit. I recall that he made a lot of money with no investment. Not to say that’s a bad thing, and he certainly did a lot of good for the troops. Hope was a businessman, did very well financially and always had an eye out for an opportunity to profit.

  8. Wow. Propaganda. Old, interesting propaganda, but still… taxpayer-funded propaganda. Makes me wonder what kind of propaganda my taxes are paying for today, which in itself is a good reason to make these easily available.

  9. I never saw hide nor hair of Bob Hope in my 13 months in South Vietnam. Hope was a good guy and I liked him. But his trips to the military invariably entertained the guys in the rear areas. He obviously wasn’t going to perform for the combat troops. I was a bit disappointed at going to war and not even getting to see Bob Hope. :(

    Only show I saw in RVN was an all girl Korean group. Very talented singers and musicians … and the only ones willing to visit our fire base. They were flown up, put on their show, and got flown out again. We were 19 klicks from the Laotian border and the HCM trail.

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